"Absolutely," Blank said last week. "No question about it. But it doesn't take one player to get there. It takes a lot of players around him and having a lot of talent around him. It's going to take a lot of players to do that; offensively, defensively, and special teams. And it's going to take coaches and the coaching staff that will help support that."
Ryan is coming off one of his worst showings in eight NFL seasons after committing 21 total turnovers, including several costly interceptions that swung the momentum in games. Ryan and Blank discussed those plays during a sitdown following the conclusion of the season.
"I do that as a matter of course," Blank said of the meeting with Ryan. "Every season, I usually will have a dinner or a couple hours alone with the quarterback, always with the knowledge of the coach. And I spent some time with Matt. I think it went well. As Matt would say, 'Last year was probably the most difficult for me. I didn't have the kind of consistency, performance that I would like. Our offense didn't. We were sixth in the league in moving the ball [passing]. We were, unfortunately, 21st in scoring, and that's not the right kind of ratio that you want.'
"I think some of it was related to the new scheme. I think some of it was related to bad decisions that he made. He had more turnovers at that position than we would like to have -- not that we would like to have any. But we had more in bad places and bad times of the game. So, I would say all that was a part of the discussion.''
Blank is confident Ryan can rectify those issues, particularly with more help around him. The Falcons need another receiver capable of beating one-on-one coverage to alleviate pressure from top target Julio Jones. They need bigger bodies on the interior of the offensive line to help protect Ryan. And offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Ryan have to work in unison to ensure the scheme caters to Ryan's strengths as an accurate pocket passer.
"Obviously, we have a great faith in Matt Ryan," Blank said. "He's only 30 years old. He'll be our quarterback for many years to come. As Rich Gannon said to me the other morning -- and Gannon was a very competitive player in the league for many, many years and a high-level quarterback -- he said, 'You've got a quarterback that about 20 other teams would love to have.' And I think I would agree with him on that."
Now, Ryan has to go prove the owner right. The $100 million quarterback is 1-4 all-time in the playoffs and 0-1 in the NFC Championship Game, and the Falcons haven't made the playoffs the last three seasons.