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#1 swiftkick

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:29 AM

Matt Ryan has the 'it' factor top QBs possess
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Posted: March 6, 2008

Ryan Purvis had somewhere else he needed to be. It seemed important enough at the time. So the junior tight end missed one seven-on-seven workout with teammates -- Hello? These things are voluntary! -- early last summer.

Nobody's perfect, right? But then his phone rang and, um, well, sheesh ... "Why weren't you there?" demanded his quarterback, Matt Ryan. His friend Matt Ryan, whose room Purvis had slept in on his first night on the Boston College campus, when Purvis was on a recruiting visit. "I told the coaches: 'You're going to have to do punishment drills at 5 a.m. every day for a week.' "

Purvis felt chills. "I'm just pulling your chain," Ryan told him, "but you know we need everybody there."

"I got the message," says Purvis, who became an All-ACC first-teamer in 2007. "Matt gave his all to this team, and he expected everyone around him to give their all."

Purvis' name might as well have been pulled from a helmet because anyone who has played with Ryan has a memory of motivation to share. Known as "Ice" back home in Exton, Pa., and by his former teammates in Chestnut Hill, Ryan -- a 6-5, 230-pounder who soon will feel the heat as the first quarterback taken in next month's NFL draft -- is calm, collected and, indeed, sometimes cold.

Blessed with the ability to see his own flaws, he expects perfection from no one. But scholarly preparation and exhaustive physical effort are mandatory in Ryan's world. Anything less, and he'll get to you before the coaches will.

"I've never been afraid to step into that role," Ryan says. "Guys know I'm demanding and tough. It's part of being a quarterback. It's part of who I am."

Most NFL people are all right with Ryan's not being the biggest, the fleetest or the strongest-armed quarterback in the draft, although he certainly is talented enough, by any measurable, for the pro game. What sets him apart is simply everything else. The months he played on a broken foot as a junior. The 11 wins he piled up as a senior carrying a BC offense that lacked a single other significant pro prospect at the skill positions. The comebacks. The confidence. The preparedness, professionalism and maturity he has shown in interviews with every team.

And, perhaps more important than any of that, NFL people are unanimous in their belief that Ryan, as a 23-year-old rookie, will stare into the eyes of 10 teammates, no matter their ages, and instantly answer any questions about who's in charge.

"As long as it's understood that I'm prepared and I don't have any questions out there, then nobody else needs to talk," he says. "Just get in there and listen to what you're supposed to do."

Presence. Poise. Leadership. Ryan has it all, and he most definitely has "it." Coming out of his ear holes.

Born to lead

Ryan kicks his feet out to the sides when he runs. It's really kind of goofy-looking. Watching him run sprints as he trains with a group of elite draft prospects at the Athletes' Performance Institute in Tempe, Ariz., it's plain to see he is not a perfect physical specimen. A few days after clocking a 4.88 at the NFL Scouting Combine, Ryan is back where he has been running and lifting since January 3. In a hellish sequence of short sprints and longer jogs, with breaks that last mere seconds, Ryan is outperforming several faster, more powerful athletes.

"When he came in here," says trainer Luke Richesson, "he had that attitude of, 'I'm here to get stronger. I want to work. Put me with the wideouts, put me with the linemen, I don't care. I'll outwork every son of a ##### here.' "

But perfect, Ryan has never been. His first year of youth football, "I stunk," he says. "But it was important to be able to deal with that." Next year, far different story.

After growing 3 inches leading into his sophomore season in high school basketball, Ryan "would be running the floor and literally just fall down," says his father, Mike. "But then he would get to the other end of the court and drop a 3-ball." He wound up starting that season for the varsity team.

As a junior, he had a fastball in the high 80s but a curve and a splitter that tended to stay flat, so he pitched in relief. As a senior, he was the horse in the rotation. Not to mention a third-year starting quarterback and the team captain in all three sports.

"Hard work," Mike Ryan says. "It has been a piece of him all of his life. Matt has been very fiercely competitive for as long as I can remember. I think back to when he was 8, 9, 10 years old. He thrived on having the ball in his hands, without arrogance, cockiness or any of those things. It motivated him. You could see it, sense it. So could the other kids around him and the guys coaching him."

The many guys who hope to coach him in the NFL would happily abide Ryan's physical imperfections -- the somewhat heavy feet, the still-lanky frame -- in exchange for his "it." But there remains one bright red flag: the 19 interceptions Ryan threw as a senior. According to one scout who is not sold on him as the top quarterback in the draft, Ryan is mistake-prone and "a little easy to read." But the scout, after poring over Ryan's game tapes, has not determined why he's easy to read; he also compares Ryan's arm to Tom Brady's and says, "Even if he'll never be a superstar, he'll be a good, solid starter. He won't allow himself to fail."

Cue last season's comeback in the final minutes at Clemson, with a trip to the ACC championship game at stake. Before the drive started at the BC 29-yard line, Ryan, who had been intercepted once and battered for five sacks, stared at his teammates in the huddle. "Everyone was exhausted," recalls wideout Brandon Robinson. "He looked at us and said,'It's time to man up. All the work we've put in, we've got to show it now. This is the drive.'

"There was no doubt. He's the commander. He's Ice."

Fireproof shell

There is only one thing better for a football player than capping a last-ditch drive with a mad scramble and a long touchdown pass to beat a favored opponent on the road on national TV. And that is to do all those things, then puke victoriously on the sideline in view of the cameras. Yes, last season's win at Virginia Tech was the defining public moment in Matt Ryan's career.

But it doesn't come close to what Ryan did two years and two months before then. You want leadership? After Ryan, a sophomore, lost the battle with fifth-year senior Quinton Porter for the starting job -- a battle Ryan still feels he should have won -- several teammates had his back. They threw their arms around his shoulders and said BC's coaches had picked the wrong guy. They were ticked off.

Ryan told them they were dead wrong.

"Listen, the coaches made a decision," he told them. "I can respect that, and so should you. I don't want any sympathy. I've got to adapt to the responsibility of starting the season as the backup."

Most NFL people are confident Ryan would handle such a situation as a rookie with similar equanimity. But a growing camp considers him the only quarterback in the draft who could handle being a starter out of the chute.

"Matt's got the personality to withstand what's going to be a firestorm either way, because it's going to be a bad team," says BC offensive coordinator Steve Logan. "Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning -- they got the living daylights beat out of them as rookies. I would bet the house Matt Ryan will be able to take that beating, mentally and emotionally, and come out of it stronger."

He has been gearing up for it since he was a boy. But in Tempe, before most college students have gotten out of bed, he is resting his body in the Athletes' Performance pool following another grueling, early-morning workout. Richesson marches over and prescribes 10 minutes in the cold tub, pronto.

"Ten in the cold?" Ryan gasps. "That's not cool, man."

The heat will be on him soon enough.

This is ... Matt Ryan

Last track I loaded on my iPod: "Bullet and a Target" by Citizen Cope.
Best movie I saw recently: National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
My favorite thing about training for the draft: Getting to know the players I've watched on TV the last few years.
One thing I won't miss about this time in my life: Being away from family and friends.
I grew up as a fan of: The Philadelphia Eagles.
My philosophy on interceptions: You have to be willing to put yourself out there and fail. You have to continue to take chances.
Five years from now, you'll find me: As a starting quarterback in the NFL.
On the dreaded B-word: Bust? I don't think negative thoughts. At least I try not to.
On sharing a town with Tom Brady: It's his town. I don't think he knows who I am.
On dating celebrities: I've been dating a girl for a while, so I don't see that happening. Her name is Sarah Marshall. She was the starting point guard for three years at BC. She's going to kill me when she sees this.

Steve Greenberg is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at sgreenberg@sportingnews.com.

#2 SINIK4L

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:30 AM

and he still isn't worth our 1st pick IMO.

#3 scott hartley

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:31 AM

If your referring to the blow "it" factor then I think your right

#4 SINIK4L

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:34 AM

if we do draft him I will support him and give him the same benefit of doubt I gave our previous franchise QB.  But for some strange reason I feel that Ryan will catch a lot of slack from the same guys that used to tear YKW a new one every game.

#5 TGeezy

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:35 AM

Believe It, because he has "it"!

#6 greyhawk

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:41 AM

is "It" contagious?

#7 formul8or

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:42 AM

Quote

grendel (3/6/2008)
You misspelled "INT"

Yeah let's cut down on the typos!

#8 BlacksburgHokie

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:47 AM

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grendel (3/6/2008)
You misspelled "INT"

:P

#9 Forgiven Falcon

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:53 AM

I have never watched this guy play a single down of football.  Does anyone have a link to some footage on him?  I was dead against him from what I had been reading on this board but this article warmed me up to him a little bit.  I would like to watch him play.

#10 3rd and short

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:02 AM

I can't remember a QB getting this much hype?

I've always thought he would be worth a pick 1st round but somewhere between 12 -15.

If I keep reading all these reports I'll be wanting TD to trade up with Miami and take him at one.:P

#11 Atowndown

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:03 AM

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swiftkick (3/6/2008)
Matt Ryan has the 'it' factor top QBs possess

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Posted: March 6, 2008



Ryan Purvis had somewhere else he needed to be. It seemed important enough at the time. So the junior tight end missed one seven-on-seven workout with teammates -- Hello? These things are voluntary! -- early last summer.



Nobody's perfect, right? But then his phone rang and, um, well, sheesh ... "Why weren't you there?" demanded his quarterback, Matt Ryan. His friend Matt Ryan, whose room Purvis had slept in on his first night on the Boston College campus, when Purvis was on a recruiting visit. "I told the coaches: 'You're going to have to do punishment drills at 5 a.m. every day for a week.' "



Purvis felt chills. "I'm just pulling your chain," Ryan told him, "but you know we need everybody there."



"I got the message," says Purvis, who became an All-ACC first-teamer in 2007. "Matt gave his all to this team, and he expected everyone around him to give their all."



Purvis' name might as well have been pulled from a helmet because anyone who has played with Ryan has a memory of motivation to share. Known as "Ice" back home in Exton, Pa., and by his former teammates in Chestnut Hill, Ryan -- a 6-5, 230-pounder who soon will feel the heat as the first quarterback taken in next month's NFL draft -- is calm, collected and, indeed, sometimes cold.



Blessed with the ability to see his own flaws, he expects perfection from no one. But scholarly preparation and exhaustive physical effort are mandatory in Ryan's world. Anything less, and he'll get to you before the coaches will.



"I've never been afraid to step into that role," Ryan says. "Guys know I'm demanding and tough. It's part of being a quarterback. It's part of who I am."



Most NFL people are all right with Ryan's not being the biggest, the fleetest or the strongest-armed quarterback in the draft, although he certainly is talented enough, by any measurable, for the pro game. What sets him apart is simply everything else. The months he played on a broken foot as a junior. The 11 wins he piled up as a senior carrying a BC offense that lacked a single other significant pro prospect at the skill positions. The comebacks. The confidence. The preparedness, professionalism and maturity he has shown in interviews with every team.



And, perhaps more important than any of that, NFL people are unanimous in their belief that Ryan, as a 23-year-old rookie, will stare into the eyes of 10 teammates, no matter their ages, and instantly answer any questions about who's in charge.



"As long as it's understood that I'm prepared and I don't have any questions out there, then nobody else needs to talk," he says. "Just get in there and listen to what you're supposed to do."



Presence. Poise. Leadership. Ryan has it all, and he most definitely has "it." Coming out of his ear holes.



Born to lead



Ryan kicks his feet out to the sides when he runs. It's really kind of goofy-looking. Watching him run sprints as he trains with a group of elite draft prospects at the Athletes' Performance Institute in Tempe, Ariz., it's plain to see he is not a perfect physical specimen. A few days after clocking a 4.88 at the NFL Scouting Combine, Ryan is back where he has been running and lifting since January 3. In a hellish sequence of short sprints and longer jogs, with breaks that last mere seconds, Ryan is outperforming several faster, more powerful athletes.



"When he came in here," says trainer Luke Richesson, "he had that attitude of, 'I'm here to get stronger. I want to work. Put me with the wideouts, put me with the linemen, I don't care. I'll outwork every son of a ##### here.' "



But perfect, Ryan has never been. His first year of youth football, "I stunk," he says. "But it was important to be able to deal with that." Next year, far different story.



After growing 3 inches leading into his sophomore season in high school basketball, Ryan "would be running the floor and literally just fall down," says his father, Mike. "But then he would get to the other end of the court and drop a 3-ball." He wound up starting that season for the varsity team.



As a junior, he had a fastball in the high 80s but a curve and a splitter that tended to stay flat, so he pitched in relief. As a senior, he was the horse in the rotation. Not to mention a third-year starting quarterback and the team captain in all three sports.



"Hard work," Mike Ryan says. "It has been a piece of him all of his life. Matt has been very fiercely competitive for as long as I can remember. I think back to when he was 8, 9, 10 years old. He thrived on having the ball in his hands, without arrogance, cockiness or any of those things. It motivated him. You could see it, sense it. So could the other kids around him and the guys coaching him."



The many guys who hope to coach him in the NFL would happily abide Ryan's physical imperfections -- the somewhat heavy feet, the still-lanky frame -- in exchange for his "it." But there remains one bright red flag: the 19 interceptions Ryan threw as a senior. According to one scout who is not sold on him as the top quarterback in the draft, Ryan is mistake-prone and "a little easy to read." But the scout, after poring over Ryan's game tapes, has not determined why he's easy to read; he also compares Ryan's arm to Tom Brady's and says, "Even if he'll never be a superstar, he'll be a good, solid starter. He won't allow himself to fail."



Cue last season's comeback in the final minutes at Clemson, with a trip to the ACC championship game at stake. Before the drive started at the BC 29-yard line, Ryan, who had been intercepted once and battered for five sacks, stared at his teammates in the huddle. "Everyone was exhausted," recalls wideout Brandon Robinson. "He looked at us and said,'It's time to man up. All the work we've put in, we've got to show it now. This is the drive.'



"There was no doubt. He's the commander. He's Ice."



Fireproof shell



There is only one thing better for a football player than capping a last-ditch drive with a mad scramble and a long touchdown pass to beat a favored opponent on the road on national TV. And that is to do all those things, then puke victoriously on the sideline in view of the cameras. Yes, last season's win at Virginia Tech was the defining public moment in Matt Ryan's career.



But it doesn't come close to what Ryan did two years and two months before then. You want leadership? After Ryan, a sophomore, lost the battle with fifth-year senior Quinton Porter for the starting job -- a battle Ryan still feels he should have won -- several teammates had his back. They threw their arms around his shoulders and said BC's coaches had picked the wrong guy. They were ticked off.



Ryan told them they were dead wrong.



"Listen, the coaches made a decision," he told them. "I can respect that, and so should you. I don't want any sympathy. I've got to adapt to the responsibility of starting the season as the backup."



Most NFL people are confident Ryan would handle such a situation as a rookie with similar equanimity. But a growing camp considers him the only quarterback in the draft who could handle being a starter out of the chute.



"Matt's got the personality to withstand what's going to be a firestorm either way, because it's going to be a bad team," says BC offensive coordinator Steve Logan. "Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning -- they got the living daylights beat out of them as rookies. I would bet the house Matt Ryan will be able to take that beating, mentally and emotionally, and come out of it stronger."



He has been gearing up for it since he was a boy. But in Tempe, before most college students have gotten out of bed, he is resting his body in the Athletes' Performance pool following another grueling, early-morning workout. Richesson marches over and prescribes 10 minutes in the cold tub, pronto.



"Ten in the cold?" Ryan gasps. "That's not cool, man."



The heat will be on him soon enough.



This is ... Matt Ryan



Last track I loaded on my iPod: "Bullet and a Target" by Citizen Cope.

Best movie I saw recently: National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

My favorite thing about training for the draft: Getting to know the players I've watched on TV the last few years.

One thing I won't miss about this time in my life: Being away from family and friends.

I grew up as a fan of: The Philadelphia Eagles.

My philosophy on interceptions: You have to be willing to put yourself out there and fail. You have to continue to take chances.

Five years from now, you'll find me: As a starting quarterback in the NFL.

On the dreaded B-word: Bust? I don't think negative thoughts. At least I try not to.

On sharing a town with Tom Brady: It's his town. I don't think he knows who I am.

On dating celebrities: I've been dating a girl for a while, so I don't see that happening. Her name is Sarah Marshall. She was the starting point guard for three years at BC. She's going to kill me when she sees this.



Steve Greenberg is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at sgreenberg@sportingnews.com.

Yes but will this transfer to the NFL, like Tom Brady?

#12 Magic Man

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:12 AM

overheard in 2000 after the draft...

"who's that QB the pats got in the 6th?"  
"don't know, just some rookie to ride the bench"

Not saying Ryan is Brady, but stranger things have happened.  If he's drafted, this team has my utmost support.

#13 scott hartley

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:15 AM

Quote

Magic Man (3/6/2008)
overheard in 2000 after the draft...



"who's that QB the pats got in the 6th?"  

"don't know, just some rookie to ride the bench"



Not saying Ryan is Brady, but stranger things have happened.  If he's drafted, this team has my utmost support.

ya, and more common strange things include Ryan Leaf. he had the it factor too. I love how any QB can be tom brady now because brady was a late round draft pick.

#14 greyhawk

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:15 AM

Quote

Magic Man (3/6/2008)
overheard in 2000 after the draft...
"who's that QB the pats got in the 6th?"  
"don't know, just some rookie to ride the bench"
Not saying Ryan is Brady, but stranger things have happened.  If he's drafted, this team has my utmost support.

I'd have no problem with drafting him in the 6th round. Before that.........

#15 red2play

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:16 AM

When you have no talent, its always good to have the "it" factor.  "It" overrides all common sense.

For the record, SWIFTKICK didn't like Vick, said he didn't have talent and he also said that Hoey would lead us to the playoffs.

#16 falconfanjason

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 10:07 AM

Matt Ryan makes me nervous.  I've only seen a few of his games and 19 picks against ACC competition seems like a lot.  He tossed 31 TD's though.  If we draft him, I'll support him but I'm worried he'll be another first round bust.

#17 living404

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 10:23 AM

I guess I'm in the minority here, but I hope we take him.

I was really high up on him after watching him against Ga Tech last year. Yeah, I know Tech wasn't a great team, but they did blitz him a ton and he stayed in there and faced the pressure and killed them.
He can make all the throws, has good size, and everyone says is a great leader. Let's get him.

#18 Knight of God

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 10:26 AM

No he doesn't have the "IT" factor. He's a bum.

#19 FalconFanatic!!!!

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 10:42 AM

just add SH in front of that and will be right

#20 snicker

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 11:06 AM

his sh"it" factor is off the charts