Matt Ryan is not accustomed to a 1-5 start. In fact, it’s never happened in his career thus far.
The closest Ryan has ever been to this experience was in 2013 when the Falcons started out 1-4 before their bye week in Week 6. The Falcons finished with a 4-12 record that season.
But, in typical Ryan fashion, he’s not interested in looking backwards.
It’s all about what’s in front of him and that’s beating the Los Angeles Rams (3-3).
“We have to find a way to get the job done,” Ryan said. “We have to find a way individually to make sure we have our best performance on Sunday and we have to keep our mindset on what’s in front of us as opposed to what’s happened so far.”
On the importance of keeping the run game rolling
Devonta Freeman had his best performance of the year on Sunday rushing for 88 yards on 19 carries. It also happened to be the Falcons best rushing performance as a unit this year totaling 103 yards on the ground.
The Falcons’ success on the ground went hand-in-hand with the overall production of the unit. Ryan threw for 356 yards and four touchdowns in the Week 6 loss.
Ryan hopes the performance last Sunday wasn’t a fluke and they continue to improve in that area as the season goes on.
“We’re a better football team when we run the football and we’re certainly a better offense when we run the football effectively,” Ryan said. “I thought we did a nice job with the run game last week. It certainly helps in terms of the pass game, you’re able to get that play-action pass going which was effective for us last week. That’s the goal for us every week … to be balanced and to have whatever we want to do at our disposal.”
The Falcons rank No. 28 in the league in rushing offense averaging 73.5 yards per game.
Quinn’s message: Always different, always fresh
Ryan had nothing but praise for his head coach when asked how he continues to navigate this team through trying times.
“He’s been awesome,” Ryan said of Dan Quinn. “He is so consistent day in and day out. His message is always different but it’s fresh. It hits home to where we’re at as a team. He’s done that the entire time that I’ve been with him and he’s been here. He’s been great.”
Ryan and Quinn are confident the Falcons can get back on track and it starts with a win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.
“We’re certainly disappointed with how it’s gone but we remain confident we can get this thing turned around,” Ryan said.
Accounting for All-Pro Aaron Donald
Ryan is no stranger to facing Donald. The two most recently squared off in 2017 when the Falcons defeated the Rams in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs. The Falcons did a good job keeping Ryan clean as Donald was unable get a clean sack on Ryan.
Donald finished the 2018 season as the NFL’s sack leader with 20.5 on the year.
He’s proven many times he is someone offensive coordinators have to account for and that’s exactly what the Falcons will do.
“I wouldn’t say my experience has been positive,” Ryan said. “He’s a great player. And very physical on the inside. He’s one of those guys that you have to tailor your game-plan to account for where he’s at. And they do a great job of moving him around. For us, I think it’s going to be really important to communicate really well to make sure we’re all on the same page as they move him around to different spots understanding where he’s at and what calls we need to make to adjust for that.”