After watching film of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning last week, several players on the Falcons’ defense said they don’t see any difference between the Manning of 2012 and the Manning who won four league MVP awards with the Colts. But it was a player on the Falcons’ offense, quarterback Matt Ryan, who may have had the highest praise for Manning.
Ryan says that when he’s squaring off against Manning on Monday Night Football, he’ll be going against the player he’s tried to imitate for most of his life.
“Every QB watches him,” Ryan told the Associated Press. “You have to be your own player. But in terms of watching him at the line of scrimmage, what he’s done historically for a long time, you try to bring some of that into what we’ve done in the no-huddle. Certainly, I think everybody aspires to be where he is.”
Ryan, who was in seventh grade when the Colts took Manning with the first pick in the 1998 draft, said he can hardly remember a time when he didn’t look up to Manning.
“I remember watching him at Tennessee. Unbelievably talented,” Ryan said. “Then when he got into the NFL, he was carving people up and has been doing it for a long time. It’s fun to play against the very best, and he’s obviously one of the best quarterbacks of all time.”
Ryan said he doesn’t know how the Falcons’ defense will stop Manning tonight.
“Not my job,” he said. “That’s the great part of playing quarterback. I don’t ever have to go on the field against him.”
The job of the Falcons’ secondary won’t be easy tonight. With their top cornerback, Brent Grimes, out for the season after suffering a torn Achilles in Week One, the Falcons are shorthanded against a quarterback who might be the best ever, and who appears to be back after a year off and as good as he was in his prime.