And while their efforts have been more than commendable, so much of the 2017 season is out of their control. The on-field burden rests on the shoulders of Matt Ryan.
“We’re already back at it,” Ryan told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “When we started as a team in April, we got together before that as players down in Miami, it was time to move one. It was time to look forward.
“Anytime that we kind of dwell on that, is wasted time. We have to focus trying to become the best football team that this group can be.”
Last season’s romp through the playoffs destroyed a lot of the perceptions surrounding Ryan not being a big-game quarterback. He ended the three-game run with 1,014 yards, nine touchdowns and zero interceptions while completing almost 74 percent of his passes.
Now, he’ll be tasked with taking another significant emotional leap forward.
Ryan is now sitting at an interesting point in his career. At 32, a majority of his playing time is behind him though the most interesting chapter may be ahead. The Falcons are built now to win a Super Bowl but have a unique set of circumstances standing in the way. We could learn more about Ryan as a quarterback and a person this season than we have in the previous nine.