Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had to learn to love Kyle Shanahan. It was definitely a process, one that had its fair share of unique challenges. But now quarterback and OC are clicking and their improved relationship is paying dividends. The Falcons offense is undeniably the league's best. Both men were featured together on a recent "Quarterbacking 101" episode. Go watch it now, if you haven't already.
Shanahan: "Last year started out great, having a lot of success on offense and defense, but then we went through a very tough stretch. Being in this league long enough, if you lose two games in a row, that's armageddon [...] what separates Matt from a lot of these guys, 'can you do this type of stuff when you're under duress?'"
Ryan: "[During the Cardinals game I thought,] 'Damn, we are really on the same page.' [My relationship with Kyle] is huge. Can't be thinking out there. Put in so much time so I can go out there and be on autopilot [...] that was a hard deal for us to go through last year, for both of us [...] by Saturday afternoon, I wanna be done with the planning and it's his job to find the little nuances that are gonna help us win"
It's really interesting to watch these two interact. You can just tell how bright Shanahan is, even if he occasionally comes off as abrasive in the personality department. Meanwhile we get a glimpse into how some of the conflict may have arisen last season. Shanahan is a micromanager, while Ryan prefers to put in the work and then trust his preparation and natural ability.