Mike Smith: Matt Ryan 'elite' QB

March, 21, 2011
3/21/11
11:50
AM ET
NEW ORLEANS – In this video last week, Trent Dilfer said the Atlanta Falcons need to put more on the shoulders of quarterback Matt Ryan. Dilfer said Ryan is more than ready to carry an offense.

I asked Atlanta coach Mike Smith about Dilfer’s comments on Sunday and here’s what he had to say.

“This is a quarterback-driven league,’’ Smith said. "Matt does an outstanding job and has done an outstanding job for all three years. Part of his maturation process will be to have more put on his plate. We’ve probably put more in front of him than most quarterbacks in this league in terms of what we ask him to do in running our offense. I think we can continue to expand it by identifying what he does well and the parts he has around him. That’s what coaching is all about.

“I really believe that Matt is one of the elite quarterbacks in this league and I think that he’s going to continue to see the arrow pointing up and his growth will continue to multiply over the next couple of years. He’s started to get a really good feel, not only for our offense, but how people are trying to defend him. I think that’s very important for a quarterback is to understand how people are trying to defend the scheme and with how they’re trying to defend him.’’

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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