During the 2012 season, Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan drove the Atlanta Falcons to within 10 yards of a Super Bowl before they came up short against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
Heading into 2013 with high hopes, the Falcons suffered several key injuries and slumped to a morale-sapping and disappointing 4-12 record. Now, they’re hoping to take flight again in 2014 with an improved offensive line and fit-again star wide receivers in Julio Jones and Roddy White.
Speaking to me for a Sky Sports interview that can be seen in full during the NFL season, Matty Ice said:
“The 2013 season was tough but sports, in general, can be that way. People trained harder and were more focused during the off-season because we want to be back there knocking on the door to win a Super Bowl.
“We can absolutely get back to that level. We have a really good corps of players on our football team who are capable of beating anybody in the NFL. It comes down to being a little more consistent and playing to our capabilities.”
One of the key games in Atlanta’s season will be a Week 8 ‘home’ meeting with the Detroit Lions at Wembley Stadium on Sunday October 26.
Ryan feels it will be an exciting contest as he stressed:
“It’s going to be a great game and it will be exciting to see all the NFL fans in the UK. It’s a great showcase of the NFL and some of the great players in the NFL.
“Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are fun to watch for the Lions and we have incredible athletes on our team with guys like Julio Jones and Roddy White – they are playmakers capable of making big plays at any time. I’m sure everybody is going to enjoy watching.”
But Ryan is not naïve enough to think that the Wembley showdown is going to be all about the offensive players. Detroit boast a pair of interior pass-rushers who could cause him problems in Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.
“They’ve got some really good defensive players and some guys who can make some pretty big hits,” Ryan concluded. “Those are two guys we’re going to have to be aware of where they are at all times and our offensive line is going to need to do a good job of protection.”
You can watch the full Matt Ryan interview on Sky Sports during the NFL season and read about his career to date in the gameday magazines sold at Wembley Stadium this autumn.
Categories: American Football in the UK