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Falcons QB Matt Ryan is fully recovered from the sprained shoulder he suffered in the NFC Championship Game.  The injury was never much of a concern.  It was to his non-throwing shoulder; surgery wasn't required; and HC Mike Smith said Ryan would have played in the Super Bowl had Atlanta beat San Fran.  “He’s been working in the training room and this week he started working in the weight room,” Smith said. “He’s recovered and we absolutely expect him to well beyond 100 percent when we start our offseason program.”  Consider Ryan's shoulder a non-issue as we look towards the 2013 season.

Matt Ryan could be seen treating his left arm and shoulder a bit gingerly at the end of Sunday's loss to the Niners. Ryan merely sprained the AC joint in that shoulder, though, an injury that won't even require surgery. It shouldn't be an issue at all for his offseason work. The only question will be what Tony Gonzalez's departure means for the passing game. You know, assuming he adds that final 2% to his retirement decision at some point.

The Falcons have locked up the #1 seed in the NFC.  HC Mike Smith wouldn't directly address how much action his starters will see in Week 17.  “We’re going to play the game to win," was all Smith offered.  We're listen for more clues over the next few days, but we're tentatively expecting guys like Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez to play about half of Sunday's game against the Bucs.  We'll have our Week 17 projections for the Falcons and the rest of the NFL posted tonight.

11:59am EDT 9/9/12

Chiefs top CB Brandon Flowers (heel) is inactive for today's game against the Falcons.  KC is also without its best pass-rusher in OLB Tamba Hali (suspension).  They're going to struggle stopping QB Matt Ryan and the Falcons' passing attack.

It's never wise to overreact to preseason action. But it's hard not to fall head over heels for Falcons WR Julio Jones right now. He's drawn rave reviews all offseason. Then he went out and exploded for 109 yards and a score in 1 quarter of action in last night's preseason opener. Atlanta made it a point to get Jones the ball. He was targeted 7 times on a deeps throws, screens, and fades. If anyone has a chance to push Calvin Johnson for top WR honors, it's this guy. We just bumped Jones up our rankings again. In fact, we're going all-in on the entire Falcons passing game. It looked crisp and explosive last night. We remain sky-high on QB Matt Ryan and WR Roddy White.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan says he has much better chemistry with WR Julio Jones after a full offseason together.  “I think it’s a lot of myself understanding exactly how good he is and having a better feel for his gait, for his speed and for his ability to go up and make some plays when the ball is in the air,’’ Ryan said of Jones.  “I think he can be one of the very best in the league, for sure. His talent is off the charts. His speed and burst and power is as good as anybody’s. I think his understanding of defenses is continuing to improve. I think that, as he gets better with that, there’s no telling how good he can be."  Jones has reportedly been lighting up training camp and comes with top-5 upside in 2012.  He's also capable of vaulting Ryan to a career-year.  We're all over the Falcons' passing game this season.  The team has consistently talked about deploying a pass-heavy, vertical attack -- and they certainly have the personnel to make it work.

As if you needed another reason to like Matt Ryan. The Falcons QB is said to be noticably bigger after offseason training than he was through his first 4 seasons. HC Mike Smith has also seen "much-improved" arm strength. Perhaps most importantly, he appears to be building a solid relationship with new OC Dirk Koetter. The former Jacksonville OC says he and Ryan have spent a lot of time together and are able to shoot straight with each other. Koetter might get a bad wrap from the recent passing struggles in Jacksonville, but he was a passing-game guru as a college HC. The combo of him, a stronger Ryan and a healthy Julio Jones should mean big fantasy things for the whole Atlanta offense.

Falcons new OC Dirk Koetter plans to install a vertical offense with more use of the no-huddle.  "I love it," QB Matt Ryan said of the increased no-huddle looks. "It's something we've had success here with the past four years."  We love the news for Ryan and WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones.  Atlanta's 594 pass attempts ranked 4th in the NFL last season, and it sounds like they'll remain a pass-first attack under Koetter.  Ryan, White, and Jones are all top-10 fantasy options with plenty of upside.

The Falcons have hired Dirk Koetter as their new OC.  He replaces Mike Mularkey, who was named Jacksonville's new HC just a few days ago.  Koetter and Mularkey run similar offensive systems, so there won't be much of a learning curve for QB Matt Ryan and Co.  Koetter's Jacksonville offenses struggled, but he'll have a lot more to work with in Atlanta.  His downfield passing attack would seem to be a good fit for Ryan and WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones.

It sounds like the Falcons are preparing to play their starters in Sunday's season finale against the Bucs.  "Our preparation week is going to be no different than any other week," HC Mike Smith said. "We know there are some things that are set in concrete. We know we’ll be playing the following week. We don’t know who or where or when and we’ve just got to go through our normal preparation and prepare to beat Tampa Bay."  If the Lions beat the Packers at 1 pm, Atlanta's 4 pm game will be meaningless.  In that case, we could see guys like Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez play limited snaps.  All of those players are risk/reward fantasy options this week.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan torched an overmatched Jaguars secondary on Thursday night, completing 19 of 26 passes for 224 yards and 3 TDs.  And he did it in less than 3 quarters of action.  Atlanta pulled most of its starters with a 41-7 3rd-quarter lead.  Ryan has now tossed 17 TDs to just 4 INTs in his last 7 outings.  Among QBs, only Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have scored more fantasy points over that span.  Ryan will be a strong fantasy play next week in what figures to be a shootout against the Saints.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan doesn't seem the least bit concerned about the ankle injury he suffered this past weekend.  He's already out of his walking boot and says he would have practiced this week if Atlanta wasn't on a bye.  The team hasn't disclosed the results of Ryan's MRI, but it sounds like he'll be good to go for Week 9.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan will be going for a 2nd opinion this week on the ankle he injured during Sunday's win over the Lions.  Ryan ended up missing just 1 play and expressed no concern about the injury after the game.  Tests are unlikely to reveal any structural damage.  Atlanta also has a Week 8 bye.  Ryan should be fine for Week 9.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan suffered a knee injury in the 3rd quarter of Sunday's game against the Lions.  He looked to be in serious pain on the field, but was at least able to walk off the field and into the locker room.  His return is being called questionable.

Update: Ryan returned after missing just a few plays.

QB Matt Ryan attempted a whopping 42 passes despite playing just a half at Pittsburgh on Saturday night. We certainly can't expect a 61-25 run-pass ratio to become the Falcons' regular-season norm. This game seems like a sign of the increased focus on throwing the ball in Atlanta though. The team certainly didn't chase Julio Jones for his blocking (alone). WR Roddy White caught 8 passes at Pittsburgh, with Jones hauling in 5. Those are numbers we could get used to.

7:19pm EST 12/28/10

2010 Pro Bowl rosters have been announced.  The Falcons lead the way with 7 selections, with the Patriots following with 6.  The Bills, Bengals, Bucs, and Seahawks have no Pro Bowlers.  Complete rosters can be found here.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan has spent his offseason watching tape of some of the league’s elite QBs. After watching hours of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, Ryan was most impressed with the number of short passes they throw. They "don't ever think about going to another route until the defense takes the underneath route away," Ryan wrote. The common theme regarding reports of Matt Ryan this summer has been maturity. If the 25-year-old can raise his game as much as his maturity level, he’s in for a very productive season.

The Falcons have been working specifically on their deep passing game at OTAs. "It's an area where we definitely want to get better and we will," QB Matt Ryan said.  Ryan's 31 completions of 20+ yards and 4 completions of 40+ yards were both 23rd in the NFL last year.  The biggest problem is that the Falcons don't have any real burners at WR.  But we still like Ryan to have a bounce-back year in his 3rd NFL season.

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