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Falcons' Matt Ryan falls just shy of ESPY for Best NFL Player


FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Matt Ryan fell just shy of the ESPY award for Best NFL Player announced on Wednesday night as Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers took home the trophy.

The five nominees also included Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, running back Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys, defensive end Khalil Mack of the Oakland Raiders and Rodgers.


Although Ryan didn't take home the hardware Wednesday night -- his 2016 statistics proved he was more than worthy. 

After a year in which he led the league with his 117.1 passer rating, throwing for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns with just seven interceptions, Ryan was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player.

His performance led the Falcons' offense to new heights in 2016.

The unit scored a league-high 540 points, tying them with the 2000 St. Louis Rams for the eighth most points scored in a season. They owned the NFL's top-scoring offense that averaged 33.8 points per game, becoming the first team to average over 33 points per game since the 2013 Denver Broncos who averaged 37.9 points a game.

But despite all his personal success last season, Ryan still believes he and Atlanta's offense can be even better in 2017.

Following the season, Ryan carefully reviewed his play from his MVP year, zeroing in a few areas of his game that he wanted to focus on in the offseason. Accuracy and footwork were two of the main areas of concentration for Ryan.

Not only has Ryan been focused on making the necessary changes on the football field to better himself, he also made a change to his diet.

In hopes to come back in the best shape of his career and cut down on inflammation, Ryan said he cut out sugar from his diet.

Although only time will tell, it appears Ryan has taken all the necessary steps to ensure he's primed for even more success in 2017.

Falcons training camp begins on July 27 and the team's first preseason game is Aug. 10 at Miami. The regular season kicks off Sept. 10, when the Falcons travel to Chicago to face the Bears.

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