With Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White, you have to suspect there's a little undercurrent of suspicion, given that Jones is likely to siphon catches from both of them. If you're Michael Jenkins, you might grind your teeth to dust trying to smile. But for Ryan, who did exceptionally well in 2010 despite basically having 1.75 options in the passing game, this unbridled enthusiasm appears to be and should be the real deal.
"I talked to him just via text just after the draft and just said ‘I’m excited to have you, ready to get to work whenever we end up getting to work,’ " Ryan said to Matt Rybaltowski, the Texans reporter for CBSSports.com. "I think it was a great move by Thomas Dimitroff and our staff to kind of move up and get him and fill up one of the spots we felt like we needed to fill. I’m excited to play with him."
Ryan knows this is a big step forward for the Falcons. A target who takes pressure off Roddy White—especially one as imposing and fast as Julio Jones—is a boon for him. If Ryan's going to take a large step toward elitehood, he's going to do it because he has the talent around him necessary to make that jump. The Falcons will be better for it.
And just for good measure, here's how Ryan feels about the team's big trade:
"I was very impressed with the aggressiveness of what we did, but also the mentality that we do need to improve and we do need to improve in different places, but we’re very close," Ryan said. "I felt like we were last year, too. Obviously, 13-3, one seed in the NFC, that’s good, but we need to get over the top, we have to break through that glass ceiling.
2011 is going to be a hell of a fun year, I think.