The writing had been on the wall for at least the last week, but the Falcons have finally confirmed what we all knew: Matt Ryan will start this year.
This is a monumental move for the franchise, a final shift from the misery and mire of the last year or so into a bright and blazing future. There will be struggles, sometimes difficult to overcome, and Ryan may find himself planted in the turf until his very bones ache. But there is reason to believe that he is capable and that he can grow into a true franchise quarterback.
We've had these dreams before. We've been let down by a truly astounding array of players. Maybe we ought to know better, but I know I don't. When I see Ryan line up behind center for the first time during the season, I'm going to be just as giddy as I was when it was Chris Miller, when it was Chris Chandler, when it was Michael Vick. One of these times, it really is going to be the change we're looking for, so why not now? Why not Matt Ryan?
All we can ask of each other is to show some patience with the rook, who is going to have a daunting learning curve ahead of him. He may even drag the whole team down with him from time to time, and I'm not expecting anyone to hold their tongue then. Still, this is a real opportunity, and a new page in the franchise's history. Let's embrace it while we still can hold our happy illusions, and maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised.
Good luck, Matt!