Only one other quarterback in the NFL dropped back for more passes last season than Matt Ryan.
And while Ryan still figures to pass it plenty in the Atlanta Falcons new offense called by Kyle Shanahan, seeing Shanahan’s playbook – which requires a quarterback to move in the pocket – he knew he’d have to change his offseason workouts.
“Keepers, that wasn't really a big part of Matt's game for the last four or five years, for him to get back into that, he's had to push his conditioning really good,” head coach Dan Quinn told USA TODAY Sports. “And he's worked really hard at that.”
Shanahan isn’t going to ask Ryan to morph into Robert Griffin III circa 2012, when Shanahan and his father, Mike Shanahan, ran the offense in Washington. But picture mid-2000s Jake Plummer for the Denver Broncos, with his naked bootlegs and scrambles.
Shanahan’s offense will require more of Ryan than seven-stop drops and Quinn is hoping that means a better, more diverse and explosive offense.
There were positive signs in the preseason. Ryan was nearly flawless in his exhibition work, completing 72.2 % of his passes, with a pair of touchdown throws and no interceptions, numbers that were especially encouraging considering the Falcons spent much of the preseason without starting running back Devonta Freeman and No. 2 wide receiver Roddy White, and he was playing behind a makeshift offensive line as starters like left tackle Jake Matthews and center Joe Hawley dealt with injuries, the story said. The good news for fantasy owners is Ryan may end up getting them some points with his feet as well.