Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff stopped by the set to talk football with NFL Network’s Scott Hanson, and I had to talk with him for a few minutes about rookie QB Matt Ryan.
It’s not that Ryan needs more positive pub. Good guy, great rookie season, squeaky clean character, turned the Falcons around, and so on. But this part fascinates me.
Dimitroff told Hanson that they saw Ryan progress both on and off the field this season. Digging deeper, he went on to say in our conversation he sees a lot of similarities between Tom Brady and Ryan.
“We recognized his skills off the field, obviously,” Dimitroff. “I had the great fortune of being around Tom Brady and seeing what he added to the team, off the field as well. The way that he led the team, his intelligence, his passion for the game, his drive and dedication. And I see that in Matt Ryan.
“I know it’s not fair to compare, but I see some of the similarities in Matt. His approach to the game, the way that he spends the time — the first one in and the last one out — he’s driven to getting better all the time. He understands that he has a whole growth curve to continue. I think he’s the guy that we want in that spot at the helm.”
Dimitroff said the Falcons knew early on in the process that Ryan was their guy. They were impressed with the whole body of work during the process of getting to know Ryan, but the tipping point was their interview of Ryan in Boston. I’ve been told about this particular interview before — in which Ryan dazzled the Falcons with his football knowledge at the black board, scripting plays and drawing out scenarios — and Dimitroff equated the situation to the scenes in A Beautiful Mind in which Russell Crowe plays mathematician John Nash.
I’m told Ryan has the respect of all of the Falcons, including the vets. So, the Falcons knew all along they wanted Ryan, and they’re now seeing the fruits of their decision.