The Falcons began training camp on Wednesday, marking the first time in over a decade that Matt Ryan did not report to Flowery Branch. It’s a new era in Falcons football.
Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder are set to compete for the starting quarterback job but are clearly at two different points in their career. Atlanta hopes Mariota can be the bridge signal caller while Ridder is expected to be the franchise’s next long term quarterback, but the rookie has some unfillable shoes to step into.
Following the greatest player in franchise history in any sport is difficult, which is what Mariota and Ridder will be up against. Obviously, nobody expects them to be Matt Ryan; however, they’ll inevitably be compared to him.
The Falcons were always going to have to move on from Ryan, but the way it happened just doesn’t feel right. It wasn’t that Ryan couldn’t get it done anymore; the organization failed him by not being able to surround him with an adequate roster.
Ryan now gets a chance with the Colts to take a talented roster to the playoffs and compete for a Super Bowl. He’ll get a few cracks at it because his current contract runs through the 2023 season. Depending on how the final few years of his career go, Ryan will have a real shot at hearing his name called in Canton. And he’s got no shortage of supporters.
Thomas Dimitroff, the general manager responsible for drafting Ryan, has stated publically he believes the Boston College product is destined for the Hall. He’s not the only one either.
The Falcons just said goodbye to two of the greatest players in team history the past two offseasons in Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. It’s the end of a stretch that brought many fans great memories and some horrible ones. Now, the next wave of Falcons will look to be the faces of the franchise.