“I think we’ve got a veteran team,’’ Ryan said. “We’ve got guys who have been around for a long time, especially on the offensive side of the ball. I know on the defensive side of the ball, we’ve got a bunch of vets, too. So I don’t think it’d be too much of a distraction. We know what it takes to prepare ourselves to play. We know what it takes to win in this league, so I don’t think it’d be too big of a distraction.’’
Agreed, if there’s one NFC South team that’s ready for all that comes with “Hard Knocks’’ right now, it’s the Falcons. The Saints are working through lots of issues and don’t need any more distractions. The Bucs and Panthers are young and need to get a bit more established before they’re ready for that kind of attention.
Ryan also revealed his getting ready to deal with some hard knocks on the field. The quarterback admitted he spent his offseason trying to add some bulk.
“Heading into each offseason, I try and take two or three areas to really improve on,’’ Ryan said. "This year, it was getting a little bit stronger in the weight rooms. So I’ve been working out pretty hard this offseason to try and put on a little bit of weight to get a little bit stronger and I think that’ll help me out on the field. Also, I think we need to be more effective with some of our throws down the field and that’s something that I’ve certainly worked on early this offseason. And I think a combination of those two things will help our success.’’
I think the added bulk could be a good thing. Ryan hasn’t been injury prone, but he doesn’t have as much bulk as a lot of other quarterbacks. Adding a little muscle could help keep him healthy -- and make him a better quarterback -- in the long run.
“I think it’s one of those things you’ve got to give yourself every opportunity to play every week,’’ Ryan said. “And that’s one of the hardest things to do in the NFL. And, then also, have that endurance, when we get into November, December and January to be at your top form. That’s something that, quite frankly, I haven’t done a good enough job of in the past -- playing my best football in January. That’s what I want to do better this year.''