Transcript: Matt Ryan Interview


On his excitement for opening day:

"I think every opening day is as exciting as the last. We're fortunate to be in this position, to be in this League to have the opportunity to play. I'm very excited and I think the guys in the locker room are as well."

On opening in Chicago:

"They're never easy. It doesn't matter who you're playing. Chicago is a very good football team. It's going to be a difficult place to go in and play. It's a storied franchise and a great stadium to play in. It's going to be a lot of fun."

On the turf at Soldier Field:

"It's something you can't really worry about too much. Our equipment staff here does a great job of having everything at our disposal up there. I know (Equipment Manager) Brian Boigner and his staff will have all of the equipment that we need up there and we'll be ready to play under whatever circumstances there are."

On his expectations for the offense:

"Our expectation is pretty simple and it's to play well every week and give ourselves a chance to win. It doesn't go any further than that for me. I think we have to take it one week at a time, focus on that game plan and what we need to execute well that week and try to do everything we can during the course of the week through practice to prepare ourselves to do that on Sunday."

On the experience of Chicago's defense:

"You have a lot of tape on guys that have been in the League for a long time, but there's also a reason they've been in the League for a long time because they're very good players. Certainly, when you look at this Chicago defense, they've got some talented guys; some perennial Pro Bowlers, especially at the linebacker position and really in the front four as well. We're going to have our work cut out for us. It's been tight games every time we've played them, come down to the wire and we're going to need to prepare well all week and do what we can during the week to give ourselves the chance to play well on Sunday."

On a T-shirt in the locker room showing the score of the loss to Green Bay and the word "Unacceptable":

"I don't know much about the T-shirt. This is the first that I've seen it. For me, that's kind of last year's deal. Everybody was, at the time, disappointed with how it finished up. But you have to use those things the right way. You have to use it as motivation, you have to learn from it and I think guys have done that. Now, we need to put that behind us and focus on Sunday."

On the change in size of his playbook from his rookie year to today:

"A little bit small four seasons ago, that's for sure. I think myself, personally, I've grown a lot since back then. As an offense, we've grown a lot, too. We do some different things now. It's two different teams that are playing from four years ago and three years ago."

On the changes on the offensive line and center Joe Hawley:

"I think Joe will do a good job. Joe has been here, preparing hard for the last couple of seasons. He has put in his time and I think has studied the way you need to study so when this opportunity presents itself, I think Joe will do a good job. Obviously, you'd love to have Todd (McClure) out there, there's no question about that. He's a veteran guy, but I think Joe steps in and does what he needs to do."

On whether the Chicago defense will do anything different with Hawley starting at center:

"You certainly expect to see some different things, especially because it's an opener. You'll see some different things than you typically see. Week-to-week, you can get a better feel for what they're going to do, so I expect we'll see some things that we haven't seen up until this point. We've had a lot of different defenses to go against in the preseason. Our defense does a number of different things. We should be prepared. We should be solid in what we do."

On Chicago's run defense forcing more passes:

"Certainly, when you go against a tough defense that is stout against the run, you know it forces you to be effective in the passing game. We'll prepare that way. We'll go whichever way the game dictates. If we need to run the ball, we'll run the ball. If we need to throw the ball, we'll try to throw the ball. We'll see how the game plays out."

On the play of Curtis Lofton:

"Curtis does a great job. Playing that Mike linebacker position is kind of the quarterback of the defense. He sets the fronts, sets the coverages, adjusts to what they do offensively. He's extremely smart and a lot of fun to practice against. You know he's going to push you to become better. Watching him from a leadership standpoint, especially this offseason having had the type of offseason that we had, having to take ownership of getting guys out there and practicing and teaching guys the defense, I thought Curtis did a great job. It was incredibly impressive to watch and part of the reason we had the turnout and the effective practices that we had."

On the middle linebacker being the vocal leader of the defense:

"I think he's been that way for some time now. He's been the pulse of our defense, kind of the guy who gets everything situated. It's certainly been fun to watch, being in the same class, coming in together, going through a lot of the same things together. It's been a growing process for the both of us but he's really doing a great job."

On his September 11, 2001 memories:

"I was a sophomore in high school and I was in math class. Our head football coach was my math teacher my sophomore year and came in and told us the situation. We all went to the same area of the school and they had a TV on. We watched together. It was really quiet. That was kind of the setting in the school. We left early, I remember. My dad came and picked me up. Being in Philadelphia, so close to where everything happened, obviously New York not far away and the plane going down in west Pennsylvania and D.C. just to the south, you're kind of in the middle of all that. You didn't know what to expect the rest of that day and in the coming weeks. So it was an incredible day to remember and something that I'll never forget."

On how those events changed him as an individual:

"I think your sense of patriotism is different than it was up until that point. I just remember everybody coming together after that and rallying together after that. It definitely changed my perspective on support of your country and I think it changed me in a positive manner."

On learning lessons from the opener at Pittsburgh last year:

"Opening games are always fun to be a part of. It's an exciting weekend. I think one of the things that you have to go into it knowing is that you're going to see some things you didn't see during the preseason from them and there are going to be some things that are unexpected. You have to adjust to that. I think we've got the guys on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball that are able to adjust to some knew things that you haven't seen during the preseason and adapt to that."

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