- Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer
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"He’s on fire, there’s no question," the coach said of Ryan. "He’s so accurate with the football; [a] student of the game. You see his preparation obviously is tremendous. I don’t know if he’s quite there yet with [Tom] Brady and Peyton Manning, but he’s certainly close."
Matt Ryan would settle for being a lot better in the red zone.
As they continue preparation for the Jets on Monday night, questions abound about why the 1-3 Falcons can’t punch it into the end zone. They are ranked 29th in the league in red-zone efficiency, scoring just seven touchdowns in 18 trips (38.9 percent).
Irate fans are pointing the finger at Ryan, who admitted throwing a few bad red-zone passes in last Sunday’s loss to New England. Ryan understands the concerns from the outside world. At the same time, he’s been around long enough to realize how to react to negativity.
"You have to be able to eliminate kind of the noise from the outside, when things are good or bad," Ryan said. "We’ve kind of have both of those in this locker room. We’ve had it where people are on the bandwagon, then people are off the bandwagon. And it’s about trying to eliminate that and staying focused on us, and how we prepare and how we get ourselves ready to play.
"And I think regardless of good or bad, you have to have that camaraderie. And I think we do. I think we have a really good locker room. I think guys are continuing to battle, do all the things that we need to do in order to give ourselves a chance to win."
Attacking the Jets won’t be easy. Coach Ryan already has a blueprint on how to defend the Falcons based on the success his brother, New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, had during a Week 1 win over the Falcons. The Jets have a big, physical corner in Antonio Cromartie (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) capable of matching up with Julio Jones and Roddy White. Not to mention the Jets -- with seven new starters on defense -- are tied for third in the league in sacks (14) and are second in tackles for a loss (18), which is why they boast the second-best total defense and fifth-best rushing defense.
"Their front seven is extremely physical,’’ the quarterback Ryan said. "They’re in a 3-4 scheme but they play some four-down and three-down fronts. And they’re really good against the run. They’re stout. But they’re really good pass-rushers, too, which, from a 3-4 team, sometimes their two-gapping guys and their pass-rush isn’t quite as fast as some others. But the Jets' pass rush is really good."
The Jets have done their homework. Coach Ryan timed quarterback Ryan delivering the ball out of his hands in an average of two seconds. A veteran corner such as Cromartie might be inclined to jump a route knowing how quickly the quarterback is likely to deliver the ball.
Quarterback Ryan was asked about Coach Ryan’s timing claim.
"I didn’t put a stop-clock on it," Ryan said with a laugh. "That’s the way it’s been up until this point. We’ve done some things getting the ball out fairly quickly. We’ve been pretty effective.
"We haven’t score as much as we would like to, but we’ve gone against some good front sevens, too. And when you do that, you need to get the ball out."