Matt Ryan: Close-knit locker room could be key to avoiding another slide

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This year, the Falcons have started the year 3-1. Optimism among plenty of fans has been tempered because last year they started 5-0 before falling apart.

I asked quarterback Matt Ryan during a Wednesday visit to PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN what he’d say to convince skeptical fans that another collapse isn’t coming.

“Well you know honestly it doesn’t matter what I say; it matters what we do,” Ryan said. “That’s where I think everybody’s focus needs to be at. I feel like we’ve got a solid group of guys in our locker room. A team that is becoming tighter and tighter the more we are together, and I think we’re becoming more and more resilient. I think those are qualities that bode well for being competitive and winning games for the long haul. So hopefully we can continue to grow those two traits.”

Those traits will be tested on Sunday in Denver. What’s Ryan’s biggest concern as he prepares to face the Broncos?

“Their front seven is really, really good, and so when you play them at Denver in that crowd and in that environment they seem to play even better,” Ryan said. “So we’re going to have to play really well up front. We’re going to have to have a great plan for some of their guys and we’re going to need to do a great job on the outside again. When we have opportunities to make plays, we’re going to have to make them.”

They made plenty of them on Sunday against the Panthers, giving Atlanta an opportunity to take down both Super Bowl teams in consecutive weeks. Which would go a long way toward convincing the naysayers that they shouldn’t be saying nay about the 2016 Falcons.