When Steve Sarkisian arrived in Flowery Branch this February, he was first greeted by Matt Ryan.
The two met for lunch where they discussed a wide range of things—Ryan's preferences, Sarkisian's style, etc. But one comment Ryan made during their meeting stands out to Atlanta's new offensive coordinator to this day.
Ryan specifically asked if Sarkisian could watch his game tape from the 2016 season and find areas of his game that he could improve upon for the upcoming season.
While that might seem like an obvious task for a coordinator taking over a new offense, the fact that the request came from Ryan told Sarkisian everything he needed to know about the quarterback he would be working with.
"I think that speaks volumes to the type of player he is, the type of teammate, the type of leader," Sarkisian said of Ryan. "Anybody that walks in this building, when you see that guy working as hard as he works, it's contagious."
Despite earning the league's MVP honor for his stellar performance in the 2016 season, Ryan believes his game can get even better.
And Sarkisian believes he's the guy who can not only help Ryan improve, but enhance Atlanta's offensive play as a whole.
So what specific areas does Sarkisian see room for improvement in considering Atlanta had on offense in 2016?
"Can we get better on third down? Can we get better in the red zone? Is there a way to get Julio more touches in the red zone and finding those matchups," Sarkisian said of areas he's focused on improving.
The Falcons ranked ninth in the NFL in red-zone percentage last season with Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones only having just eight targets. Atlanta scored touchdowns on 61.9 percent of their opportunities in 2016, which was ninth in the league.
Sarkisian cites his competitive nature as the reason he believes he'll be able to not just maintain the Falcons' offensive success from 2016, but help the unit reach new heights.
"The competitor in me is, 'How far can we take it?'" Sarkisian said.