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Ryan looks ready to start for Falcons

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

From the day they drafted Matt Ryan, Falcons coach Mike Smith and GM Thomas Dimitroff have been saying things would sort themselves out at the quarterback position.

Now, that's happened.

It's become clear Smith and Dimitroff almost have to start Ryan on opening day. He was put in a position where he could lag behind veterans Chris Redman or Joey Harrington or claim the starting job. Ryan sure looks like a guy who has claimed the starting job.

Getting his first start Friday night, Ryan was efficient, although not quite prefect. He completed 15 of 21 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown and had a 97.7 passer rating. Through three preseason games, Ryan completed 32 of 52 passes with two touchdowns and an interception.

Before Friday night, it would have been easy for the Falcons to say Ryan needed more time and go with Redman or Harrington as the starter. But that scenario no longer will fly and that's a good thing.

Ryan's showed potential and progress. He's the centerpiece of a major rebuilding project in Atlanta. There will be plenty of ups and downs for the Falcons and Ryan. But Ryan has shown enough for the Falcons to make him the centerpiece from the start.