NFL players often set personal goals for themselves heading into a new season. It might be chasing the MVP award or collecting at least 10 sacks.
Matt Ryan has only one personal goal heading into the season, and it's all about the team.
"I'm at the point where it's about winning games," Ryan said. "Whatever they're asking me to do, whatever role I can play within our offense to give us the best chance to win. That's all I care about."
A fitting goal for the guy who has already shattered every Falcons passing record and is well on his way to being one of the all-time greats, all while being a team first player.
Stacking wins is no easy task. When you have a savvy veteran quarterback like Ryan coming into the season feeling great, primed and ready to lead, it lightens the load.
"I feel as good as I ever have," Ryan said. "When I'm out on the field I feel as athletic and well-conditioned as I've ever been."
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That's not an expected response for a quarterback heading into his 14th NFL season, even one who has made a conscious effort to start each new season in a great mental and physical space. Over the last few seasons, he has gained a better understanding of how to prepare for an NFL season.
"In terms of training, knowing when to push and when to recover," Ryan said, "I feel a lot more comfortable with that part of my life than I did at 23 years old."
He has accomplished more than most quarterbacks, yet is still striving for better heading into Year 14. After all this time, he still has something to prove.
"The lockers that we have are not owned, they are rented," Ryan said. "The rent is due every day by putting in work."
Ryan has put in work with new weapon Kyle Pitts since the offseason program began. The team's No. 4 overall NFL Draft pick should be a primary target in 2021, along with Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage and Hayden Hurst.
"(Kyle) has done a nice job from the moment he got here," Ryan said. "It's been a slow, steady progression. That's what we need from him, to keep getting a little bit better every day. He's got the right mindset to do it."
Ryan also said that Ridley has taken on more of a leadership role in the locker room. All these pieces coming together, working under Arthur Smith's new scheme, should help lead Ryan achieve to his one true goal -- to win.
Linebacker Deion Jones has a fresh look on the field as he's traded his blue visor in for gold. Here are the best images from Day 2 of AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp.
2022 Atlanta Falcons: First Look Open Practice
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