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Ryan's credentials as a franchise QB are at stake with tough 2009 schedule


M*SMITH-100
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Atlanta's tough schedule will present problems...

Matt Ryan's worst nightmare? Playing tough teams early in the year will definitely challenge the hype bestowed upon him by the Atlanta media in 2008. Ryan's football I.Q. and leadership skills will be tested early and often and a Bill Parcells team always provide tough challenges.

The final weeks of the regular season and the postseason game vs. Arizona were problematic for Ryan as his turnover rate started to increase: more fumbles, more INTs, more mental mistakes.

Is it more money mo' problems..or mo' pressure, mo problems.

No Kansas City. No Detroit. No Oakland. That means big problems.

And we Ryan better hope that Michael Turner stays healthy through training camp and doesn't come down with an ankle injury or turf toe.. Because Turner's power running is the only thing keeping Ryan and the Falcons from totally falling apart in 2009.

And there had been rumors that Vick may go to San Francisco, and wouldn't that be an interesting matchup. Conceivably, the Falcons could be 0-3 going into the 49ers game, and a Vick-led 49ers team could come back to the Georgia Dome and end the Falcons' playoff hopes before Halloween.

• Oct. 11, at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.: Mike Singletary, a former Falcons coaching candidate, is in charge of the 49ers.

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