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Rebounding from a 4-12 campaign last season was destined to be a weighty commitment for the new Atlanta Falcons coaching regime.
After leading the Tennessee Titans’ ascending offense for the past two seasons, Arthur Smith agreed to take the Falcons’ head coaching vacancy — post-split from Dan Quinn in the offseason.
In the eyes of long-time Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, the new coaching regime is guiding the franchise in the right direction by reminding them to stick to the plan.
“I think he’s very good at that. Stay the course and continuing to work on the things we started working on when we got together in April,” Ryan said in a session with Falcons reporters on Wednesday. “Starting to see, it takes time but starting to see some of those things improve and get better.”
Ryan feels that the foundation has been set to build success for the future.
“Things don’t happen overnight as much as you would like them to. I think it takes time to continue to build and get better. I give credit to Arthur for kind of, keeping that mindset of growth and improvement and being better this time of the year than we were at the beginning.”
At 6-7 and second in the NFC South behind Tom Brady’s Buccaneers, the rebound under Smith appears promising for the Falcons, especially as the season has dealt its surprises to keep the team from staring down a clear path.
One case was the sudden departure of lead wideout Calvin Ridley, who stepped away from the game indefinitely due to personal matters. Ridley was designated to take on the No. 1 receiver’s role vacated by Julio Jones in the offseason, and with that void presenting a challenge for Atlanta’s offense, Ryan feels that the necessary adjustments have been made to overcome the absences.
“I also give credit to the players. It’s not always easy when things aren’t going well to stay the course, to believe in the process that we have and I’m proud of the guys for doing that,” Ryan added.
With four weeks remaining in the regular season, the Falcons have a shot at the NFC playoff picture — should they win two or three of their remaining contests. Their opponents include the 49ers, Lions, Bills and Saints.
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Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela