|ESPN.com: NFL Nation||[Print without images]|
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas.
In the end, the Atlanta Falcons did they only thing they could.
Coach Mike Smith went ahead and did the obvious Sunday, announcing rookie Matt Ryan will open the regular season as the starting quarterback. After Ryan performed well in extended playing time against the Titans on Friday night, he pretty much made the choice for Smith.
The Falcons had said all along they would go with the quarterback who gave them the best chance to win and Chris Redman and Joey Harrington got preseason starts before Ryan. But the Falcons gave Ryan plenty of playing time in each of the first two games and he performed very well.
The outing against Tennessee clinched it because Ryan clearly showed he's the best the Falcons have. Going back to Harrington or Redman would have sent the wrong message to the team and it also would have been a step back.
There will be some rough times ahead for Ryan and the Falcons because no rookie quarterback is flawless. But Ryan's pretty good and he's more mature than most rookies.
The Falcons drafted him to be the centerpiece of their rebuilding project. They might as well ago and put him in the center of things at the start.