Forget the fact that he’s making more money than any player on the Atlanta roster, Faclons rookie QB Matt Ryan was announced as the teams starting QB today for one reason – he’s the best QB on the roster. Ryan was given the starting nod for the teams opener today by new coach Mike Smith, as the coach made the determination that he’s played better than Chris Redman, Joey Harrington and D.J. Shockley.
“Everything that you get in this game you’ve earned, whether it be a touchdown, a win, whatever it is,” Ryan said. “In some sense, it is satisfying in that light, but trust me, there’s a lot of work ahead, and I know that probably just as much as everybody around here. There’s going to be some ups and downs, but you’ve just got to stay mentally tough and grind through it. That’s where my mind-set is right now.”
The 23-year old rookie has been okay in the preseason, but more than good enough to get the job. He has gone 15-of-21 for 102 yards, one TD and no intercpetions. “We feel like he’s earned this opportunity to start,” Smith said. “We feel like he gives us the best chance to win.” The Faclons will surely take their lumps, as coming off a 4-12 season there is not much hope for more wins than that in 2008. But at least the future is a little more set now that Ryan will be able to get his feet wet from day one.
“We’re going to play against some really good players, and there’s really good coaches on other teams as well,” Ryan said. “So there’s going to be good schemes and sometimes we’re not going to be at our best, but you’ve got to learn from those mistakes and you’ve got to understand that they’re going to happen and you’ve got to bounce back from them as quickly as you can.”