Behind Enemy Lines: Awards piling up for Ryan
Every day this week, we’ll round up some of the best content on the Packers opponent in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, the Atlanta Falcons.
Early Wednesday afternoon, the Pro Football Writers of America named Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan both Most Valuable Player as well as Offensive Player of the Year.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank is coming to grips with the fact that his team’s offensive coordinator will most likely be gone next year.
Speaking of which, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure writes that Atlanta can not allow Kye Shanahan’s pending move become a distraction.
For the Falcons, the other distraction to avoid is any chatter about Shanahan's possible successor as offensive coordinator. It's only natural to speculate about internal candidates. Wide receivers coach Raheem Morris is very close to Quinn; quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur has a natural feel for the offense; offensive assistant Mike McDaniel perhaps knows the offense better than anyone, having been at numerous stops with Shanahan; and offensive line coach Chris Morgan has a tie with Quinn dating to their time in Seattle and was on staff under Shanahan in Washington.
Atlanta’s stud pass rusher Vic Beasley discussed what makes Aaron Rodgers so hard to defend.
Unlike the Packers, who had no selections on the PFWA All-Rookie team, the Falcons had two rookies who were given that honor.
Mark Bradley, writing for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, chronicles how the Falcons were rebuilt on the fly.
Of the 22 Falcons listed on the flip card as starters on offense and defense for the divisional-round game against Seattle, 12 — more than half — were acquired since Dan Quinn arrived. Not included among those dozen were Tevin Coleman, who led the Falcons in rushing against the Seahawks; Taylor Gabriel, who caught four passes; Justin Hardy, who caught two; Austin Hooper, who caught one, and Brian Poole, who was credited with four tackles.
Quinn was named head coach Feb. 2, 2015. He was also ceded control of the 53-man roster, which not every NFL coach has. In less than two years, the Falcons’ roster has been remade to fit the new man’s specifications. That roster stands one game from the Super Bowl.
While much is being made about Jody Nelson and Davante Adams not practicing for the Packers, the Falcons’ stud wideout is not practicing either due to a turf toe injury.