One of the many strengths of Falcons QB Matt Ryan is his incredible poise in the pocket, as well as in post-game press conferences (win or lose) and during open locker room media sessions, held during the week.
On Wednesday, Ryan stepped in front of his locker and was quickly surrounded by reporters, each looking for the franchise star's first comments, following the injury news on Tuesday, including the loss of two starters on the offensive line (Joe Hawley and Lamar Holmes). Just like facing a 3rd-and-20 from his own 5-yard line, Ryan didn't flinch, instead responding with the utmost confidence of his protectors on Sunday, including starting center Peter Konz and starting right tackle Gabe Carimi.
"Guys have worked really hard," Ryan said of the OL. "(Falcons offensive line coach) Mike Tice does a great job of keeping all of those guys prepared every week. I think certain guys are getting their opportunity. It's a great chance for them to showcase what they can do and how good they can be. My thing is to cut it loose, enjoy it and play with a lot of confidence."
Last year, the Falcons offensive line was plagued with injuries as well, part of what led to Ryan being sacked a career-high 44 times; one year later, and with Tice in the mix, Ryan will continue leading his team, including its offensive line, in the way he knows best.
"Part of being a leader on this team is encouraging your guys and making sure they're confident, going into games on Sunday," Ryan said. "That doesn't change, regardless of who the guys are up front or on the outside; I'm going to continue to do that. I think those guys will be ready to go. I think they're all excited and I think they're ready for their opportunity; now, they just have to go out and play the way that they're capable of playing."