When Matt Ryan addressed his teammates for the final time before departing for the offseason, his message was short and simple: Come back stronger.
They weren't just token words from Ryan. He's providing an opportunity to ensure it happens.
For the second year, Ryan is hosting a "players-only" camp in South Florida. Ryan and Co. are training at the University of Miami for three days. Ryan was able to get double the number of teammates to attend from the year prior, a good sign for the team's commitment.
The camp consists of training sessions in the mornings and team-oriented outings in the evenings. The group consists of a wide range of players from various position groups, including skill players, linebackers, offensive and defensive linemen and special teams.
"It's just a good opportunity for everyone to get together and connect and try to get the bond tighter than it has ever been," Ryan said in a phone interview from South Florida.
With several new faces signed in the offseason of 2016, Ryan wanted to do something that would help his team get to know one another better and it paid dividends.
"The connection between players and coaches, and more importantly a commitment to one another, is a core element of Dan Quinn's philosophy, as he consistently makes clear. If 2016 is any evidence, it is paying off."
In hopes to continue to strengthen the brotherhood that's currently in place and have the best offseason the Falcons have ever had, Ryan decided to move forward with plans to execute another "players-only" camp for his teammates.
"The purpose this year is to re-connect," Ryan said. "Everybody has gone their separate ways since the season ended. I think it's a good opportunity for all us to re-connect before we get started and to set the tone for what we want it to be moving forward. Dan (Quinn) all the time talks about trying to make it the best offseason we've ever had, and to me this is a good way to start it up."
And when the entire Falcons team returns to Flowery Branch next Monday, enthusiasm won't be something that's lacking, according to what Ryan has seen in just one day from his teammates in Miami.
"The enthusiasm, that's the biggest thing that excites me," Ryan said. Everyone is ready to get started, everyone is excited to get started. The enthusiasm and optimism amongst the guys has been really cool."