Sunday, April 27, 2008

Behind the scenes of Matt Ryan's first Falcon press conference

This morning I got up early to drive out to the Falcons headquarters in Flowery Branch for the team’s 9 AM press conference. As I got out of my car a stretch SUV limo came rolling down the hill loaded with the Ryan clan. One of the Falcons’ folks greeted them and gushed “you all look so good.” And they did. Perfectly pressed and fresh, you’d never guess the whirlwind they’ve been on during the past 48 hours. The Falcons staff ushered the family into a private area while the press slowly gathered in the team meeting room.

I know that the perception outside of Atlanta is that the organization is a mess. It’s not. Despite the off field issues, Arthur Blank changed the culture of the organization years ago. The facilities are first rate. The staff was very courteous. The infrastructure is there to handle, protect and promote Matt off the field.

As I was lingering around the hallways waiting for the press conference to start, I bumped into Matt. Like my brief encounters with him in the past, Matt comes off as genuine. He was beaming and very excited about coming to Atlanta and glad there is a nice BC contingent in the area.

The press conference started (you can watch it here on Arthur Blank led off and made an emphasis on the character of both his first round draft picks (the Falcons also drafted USC Tackle Sam Baker). Blank also took a moment to address the Ryan and Baker families directly.

Following the press conference all the parties posed for a variety of pictures. It had the feel of a bridal party being directed through the alter portraits: “OK, we need Matt and Sam and Mr. Blank. Great! Now, just Matt and Sam. Got it. Hold up the jerseys. Ok, the whole Ryan family is next…”

After the pictures, Matt sat down for one on ones with the local media.

The thing BC fans should be most proud of is how Matt carries himself. Even when the cameras were off, Matt took the time to introduce himself to everyone in a polite confident manor. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. He wasn’t too cool or oblivious. Even the receptionist, who was just putting on her headset as Matt was wrapping up in the lobby (and in her own world). Matt took the time to come over to her desk, extend his hand and introduce himself.

A few other notes:
-- Arthur Blank’s son wore a BC t-shirt
-- Matt and Sam Baker share the same agent - BC guy Tom Condon
-- Sports Illustrated had a special photo shoot right after the press conference. That note and the fact that Peter King was in the Falcons war room on Saturday leads me to believe Matt will be the focus of a big spread this week.


ORDEagle said...

Note the change to the Falcon Red tie once he got there! Hope Blank buys Hermes ones!. I can't beleive I am going to pay attention to the Atlanta Falcons next year.

ORDEagle said...

And Bill - did you blog get you a credential to the press conference? If so, nice recognition for the quality work you do.

AguilaFan said...

ordeagle, beat me to it. Matt changed into a Falcon's red tie.

Great work atleagle! Thanks.

Now I have another NFL team to root for. Just hope most Pats/Falcons games are at different times this year so I can switch shirts. Gonna cause me headaches with the better half staying at the watering hole when the teams play same day/different hours!

Bravesbill said...

Most Falcons fans are furious over this pick. They all wanted the Falcons to draft Dorsey. They all believe that Ryan will be a huge bust ala Joey Harrington. Not a pretty picture to say the least. Hopefully Ryan can prove them all wrong.

Anfield10 said...

I am delighted for Matt and hope he can do well and think that if any qb can it is him. The complaints I hear from Falcons fans isn't so much about Ryan himself, as it is about the pointlessness of drafting a QB at all when he has no tools with which to succeed. However, I think they will be pleasantly surprised by Ryan, someone with a history and experience of getting the more than the maximum out of the talent around him. Where most elite QBs would come in and get whiney and frustrated that receivers are dropping balls, Ryan will persevere and work hard. I think he succeeds and the Falcons end up happy

ORDEagle said...

Taking any player is a risk. Believe it or not, players at every single position have failed to live up to the hype of being an early round draft pick. So that being said - where do you take a chance? Where you can make an impact?

I mean really - left tackles and defensive tackles are impact players - but they don't win championships. Ever. Ever. QB's do. Skill players can. Even linebackers and defensive ends can change a game. There are anomalies (can you say Dilfer) but for the most part, you need an elite QB to win it all.

Let's look at the top players at those poistions in the NFL. Guys teams would presumabley sign in a heart beat given the chance. Using SI's Dr. Z as the selector, his two O tackles are Flozell Williams and Jason Peters. Ok, you probably know that Williams is on the Cowboys and they did pretty well. (Can you say Romo.) Do you know who Peters is? Who he plays for? Try Buffalo. Big impact having the second best tackle in the league had on that team getting to the playoffs. Who is their QB this week (Losman,Edwards, Jim Kelly?)

Now defense. Dr. Z. only picked one tackle because linebackers in the League were better and he'd rather play a 3-4. He chose Albert Haynsworth. Plays for the Titans. Lost in the first round of the playoffs. Tell me how many games Glen Dorsey can win from D Tackle?

Bottom line - it is a risk/reward pick going after a QB. But when you are in as bad shape as the Falcons are, picking a D tackle who might save you giving up 3 or 6 points only means you lose by 10.

Ryan may or may not work out but at least there is a chance that he is a franchise changing player. Dorsey or one of the Long brothers - what are the odds that they would - that they even could - turn the franchise into a winner before they got tired of losing and became free agents. Matt gives them a chance.

bc1900 said...

Bravesbill have you ever had a girlfriend/wife. I would love to meet the woman who can put up with you.

Bravesbill said...

I didn't even say anything negative about the Ryan pick. I think it was the absolute correct pick for the Falcons. All I was doing was merely mentioning the backlash to the pick by Falcons fans.

Unknown said...

Greetings ATL_eagle and readers!

On my way to get some Generic Viagra , I encountered your fab site!
As a matter of fact, I have always liked everything related to Atlanta because once ago, I went there and I loved that city.

Thanks a lot for sharing this nice issue.

Unknown said...

Nice post! Can’t wait for the next one. Keep stuff like this coming.

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