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Matt Ryan frustrated as he tries to lead Falcons in lost season


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https://theathletic.com/1357213/2019/11/06/schultz-matt-ryan-frustrated-as-he-tries-to-lead-falcons-in-lost-season/

Less than three years removed from going to the Super Bowl and being honored as the NFL’s most valuable player, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has had his physical and mental resilience tested this season.

The Falcons are 1-7 as they come off the bye week. They’re near two-touchdown underdogs against their longtime rival, the New Orleans Saints, who would love nothing more than to extend the misery. Ryan has thrown for 300-plus yards in six of his seven starts, but he is coming off an ankle injury that caused him to miss his first start since 2009. He also has been sacked 14 times and hit 38 times in his last four starts.

The Falcons have allowed the fifth-most quarterback hits in the league at 60, and that might be a greater indicator of quarterback duress than sacks. The six teams that have allowed the most quarterback hits this season — the New York Giants, Jets, Miami, Tennessee, Atlanta and Tampa Bay — have a combined record of 11-39.

Back to Ryan. As one of the team leaders, he has pulled aside teammates at times this season to discuss what he considers shortcomings in their performance. He has done that in previous seasons, as well. The frustrating part for him is that the overall product hasn’t changed.

When I asked him about the perception that some teammates might not be focused, Ryan told me: “Here’s the thing, Jeff. We haven’t gotten the results we’ve wanted. If you’re just going to point fingers and say, ‘He’s the issue. He’s the issue’ — there are a lot of issues that we have to figure out.”

Ryan spent some time with The Athletic to discuss the Falcons’ season:

Do you always stay in town during the bye week?

It depends on the year. Sometimes when you’re nicked up, I’ve had bye weeks where I’ve been here. Sometimes when I’ve been healthy, we’ve had bye weeks where I’m able to get out and disconnect for a few days. One year we went back to Boston. I went to a B.C. game and had my jersey retired. Mostly when we leave, it’s to see my family or Sarah’s family or just to catch up with somebody someplace on the East Coast.

Did you do anything to decompress?

We had Halloween. That was our big thing with our (1-year-old twin) boys. We took them around to three houses in our neighborhood. But that was it. It was cold.

Did they go as Matt Ryan?

No! They went as Ninja Turtles. They loved dressing up. We kind of practiced walking up to the door and knocking on it. We had a little game plan going into it, and they executed it pretty well.

OK, shifting gears. You’ve been part of a couple of pretty bad years here. But is this the worst, not just because of the record but the expectations?

It’s definitely been the toughest start to the season, for sure. There was an expectation for us to be productive. We haven’t been able to play consistently across the board. It’s been frustrating and disappointing. But you have to find a way to get through that and to continue to have belief you’re going to play better as we move forward.

Has it been mind-boggling, to some degree?

One thing I’ve learned in this league is that it’s tough to win. The margin for error is small. The line between wins and losses is very fine. So to a certain extent, nothing shocks me. But at the same time, we haven’t been as productive as we’ve needed to be. That’s the part you rack your brain about. Why? What’s the why?

But when you go from a presumed playoff contender to 1-7, that’s significant, even in a league in which most games are decided by a touchdown.

I hear ya. Some years, two or three games go in the other direction and you think, “OK, we’ve kind of weathered the storm.” Then you go on a roll. But you have to find ways to win those tough, ugly games. Good teams I’ve been on have found a way to do that, and we have not done that this year.

What, in 2016, beyond just the offense being on a roll, went right? What made that season work?

A lot of things went right. You talk about being opportunistic as a team. Capitalizing off turnovers and scoring points off that. Creating explosive plays. And we didn’t put ourselves in situations that were difficult to overcome. This year offensively there have been too many times where we had penalties that set us back in drives and prevented us from getting into a consistent rhythm. That’s not something that happened back then (in 2016).

Do you take it more personally when things fall apart and spiral because you’re one of the team leaders?

Absolutely I take it personally. You’re invested. You’ve invested so much in this. You’re committed to trying to make this as successful as it can be. So when it doesn’t go right, it hurts. But you have to persist. You have to find a way to get through it and beyond it. That’s where mental toughness and grit and things you’ve worked on along the way help you out.

What are some of the different ways you’ve tried to lead the team this season? Have there been times when you jumped on a table or called a team meeting? I know sometimes that kind of stuff gets overblown.

I always feel like that overreaction kind of stuff — you know, that’s a Band-Aid. In order to get things right, you have to do things right all the time. It’s not a speech that changes things. It’s not one specific act that changes things. It’s consistent effort over a long period of time that changes things. That’s the message more than anything that you try to stress and get over to guys. You have to do things right all the time just to give yourself an opportunity to be successful. That’s my approach to it. It’s less about being rah-rah than it is having the right approach every day.

Have you felt the need to pull guys aside this year?

Absolutely. But I’ve been doing that my entire career. For sure, as this year has gone on, I’ve said things like, “Stay the course,” or, “You need to be a little more consistent,” or, “You need to do things a little bit different.”

But that’s not working this year.

The results have not been there. I’m a believer that there’s these four quadrants of performance: You can have a process and bad results, a bad process and good results, a good process and bad results or a good process and good results. Right now our process is actually OK but we’re getting bad results, and that’s the toughest quadrant to be in.

But when a team consistently underachieves in a season, as yours has, there’s a perception by some that some guys in your locker room aren’t focused, for whatever reason, and their minds are elsewhere. And as you know, it doesn’t take a lot of players doing the wrong thing for a season to spin off the rails.

And that’s the thing: It’s got to be everybody — all-in, all the time, across the board.

So have you seen that? Do you think there’s an issue?

Here’s the thing, Jeff: We haven’t gotten the results we’ve wanted. If you’re just going to point fingers and say, “He’s the issue. He’s the issue” — there are a lot of issues that we have to figure out. But to me, it’s not guys not caring or not being invested or the day-to-day mindset not being there. We’ve just got to find ways to take what we’re doing on the practice field and in the meeting room and make it work in games. To me, it’s not about guys being distracted. We just need to play better.

I hear those narratives a lot. But clearly something is off on Sunday.

There’s a handful of really good things we’re doing at certain times. That’s the standard we have to find a way to play at consistently.

There’s obviously a lot of speculation now about Dan Quinn possibly losing his job. As someone who’s been with him for a while, what are your thoughts seeing him go through this?

It sucks. It sucks. You understand it’s a production-based business. But he’s a **** of a coach and as consistent a person as I’ve ever been around. That’s the part — as players, you want to find a way to make these plays because you love the guy. That’s the part you take personally. He’s given so much to this cause.

Sometimes players love a coach so much that they take advantage of that.

That’s you saying that. I can only speak for me. You want to find a way to make plays because he’s a **** of a guy and a good football coach.

 

 

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For as much as this year has sucked, #2 has me eternally optimistic. This year is beyond shot, but I’m hopeful for next year. Our window is open as long as this guy is in a Falcons uniform. 
 

Obviously just my opinion, and many on here want to move on from the ice man, but that’s my quarterback 

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This is where the MBers mentality falls over because we always try and narrow it down to one person.When all in all a lot of things have to go right to get success.

I’m with Ryan’s line of consistency and continue to keep working and hope it turns.The rah rah fire mentality isn’t fixing this.

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If Matt Ryan wanted Quinn gone, he could go straight to Blank and say this aint working, he's allowing to many players to not be held accountable for there poor workmanship. We need a change or I'm retiring. 

I promise Quinn would be gone. QB's can be coach killers if they want too. Lucky for Quinn, Matt Ryan is the all American nice guy. 

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4 hours ago, philosophico said:

If Matt Ryan wanted Quinn gone, he could go straight to Blank and say this aint working, he's allowing to many players to not be held accountable for there poor workmanship. We need a change or I'm retiring. 

I promise Quinn would be gone. QB's can be coach killers if they want too. Lucky for Quinn, Matt Ryan is the all American nice guy. 

Maybe, but Matt Ryan's opinion of the defense is not really relevant.

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10 hours ago, HASHBROWN3 said:

As expected a whole lot of nothing.

Why bother? MR ain’t going to give you anything that would be critical of any of his coaches or team mates. 
 

Just boring, trivial nothingness lol.

More than usual Matt Ryan boring interview. He might just have thrown the team approach and DQ indirectly. 

Quote

I always feel like that overreaction kind of stuff — you know, that’s a Band-Aid. In order to get things right, you have to do things right all the time. It’s not a speech that changes things. It’s not one specific act that changes things. It’s consistent effort over a long period of time that changes things. That’s the message more than anything that you try to stress and get over to guys. You have to do things right all the time just to give yourself an opportunity to be successful. That’s my approach to it. It’s less about being rah-rah than it is having the right approach every day.

 

I am looking at you DQ and Raheem Morries with speeches and Rah rah quotes. 

10 hours ago, DriveHomeSafelyAtlantaWins said:

Coach speak

I think this is one interview where he actually said something. 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, falcons007 said:

More than usual Matt Ryan boring interview. He might just have thrown the team approach and DQ indirectly. 

 

I am looking at you DQ and Raheem Morries with speeches and Rah rah quotes. 

I think this is one interview where he actually said something. 

 

 

Hmmm, very observant of you. 

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4 hours ago, falcons007 said:

I think this is one interview where he actually said something.

I see what you're getting at, but I interpret that differently. I think all that "It's not one speech that changes anything" talk was just his way of justifying to Jeff that he's not going to call a player out publicly.

In other words, I just think he was explaining why he is going to stick to coach speak in public.

I don't think it was a subtle shot at DQ.

Edited by DriveHomeSafelyAtlantaWins
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You have to feel sorry for the guy, at least, I do.  I believe "Matty Ice" has put his heart & soul into this team for going on 12 years, and should have at least one SB Win to show for it.  I think if he did have at least one or more SB victories under his belt by now, and continued to play at a high level for some period of time, I think he'd be a shoe-in for the HOF!!!  But without that, it would be unlikely he would ever be a HOFer...

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1 hour ago, DriveHomeSafelyAtlantaWins said:

I see what you're getting at, but I interpret that differently. I think all that "It's not one speech that changes anything" talk was just his way of justifying to Jeff that he's not going to call a player out publicly.

In other words, I just think he was explaining why he is going to stick to coach speak in public.

I don't think it was a subtle shot at DQ.

That’s the most any one ever got out of Matt Ryan In 12 years. He would usually say, we needs to be better and not commit mistakes. I need to do better job blah blah. This hopefully is beginning of him being more open.  

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18 hours ago, Upstate NY Falcon said:

For as much as this year has sucked, #2 has me eternally optimistic. This year is beyond shot, but I’m hopeful for next year. Our window is open as long as this guy is in a Falcons uniform. 
 

Obviously just my opinion, and many on here want to move on from the ice man, but that’s my quarterback 

Ryan is in decline,he has and will continue to play like Doo Doo.

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