The Atlanta Falcons headed to Miami this week to get some practice with the Dolphins before the two teams square off on Saturday night.
Hanging with the Dolphins all week meant Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan would be hanging out with his former Boston College teammate and current Dolphins head coach, Brian Flores. *Yes, your read that correctly.*
Ryan, 26, and Flores, 40, go way back.
In 2003, Ryan was starting his freshman year as a redshirt and Flores happened to be in senior linebacker at the time.
Ryan took time to reminisce on his one season with Flores after the Falcons embarrassed Miami’s defense.
“I thought they showed us a few things,” Ryan told reporters. “I was texting with Brian Flores yesterday. Brian and I were teammates at Boston College. I was texting him telling him I was excited to come down. He was like ‘I know you’ve seen everything, so I put in some new stuff for you.’ I was like ‘All right man, don’t treat me like 2003 scout team at BC.'”
These joint practices are always helpful because when you bring in another team to your turf or you go to theirs, it’s a completely new environment. Now, you aren’t just practicing against your own teammates, so you’re trying even harder. It’s a great way to increase the level of competition and turns practice into a more realistic scenario. And it’s the best way to get rookies thrown into some “real” action before regular-season game day.
“But they had a few things out there today; they stress you defensively with your rules, and they do a really good job. They got us a few times. We certainly had a few on our end too that we did well. But this is what this time of the year is all about. To see what can do and what we can’t do and what we need to clean up.”
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Matt Ryan on Flores: ‘He Used to Kick May A**’
As a redshirt, Ryan didn’t get any real game action at BC until 2004 when he was named starting QB following an injury to their original QB1.
Still, Ryan had to face Flores in practice, which didn’t sound like much fun, according to Ryan.
“Listen, Brian was kicking my ass when I was on scout team,” Ryan said. “He was physical; he was a good player back then. As soon as he went to New England as a scout right after [college], just how professional he always was. He was quiet, hard worker, great teammate, was good to me. I was a freshman, young kid coming in; he was great to me. I’m happy for him. He’s worked hard to get to this position, and he deserves everything that comes his way.”
Since then, the two have crossed paths in the NFL while Flores coached several teams at various positions but this will be the first time Flores is on the sidelines as a “head coach.”
Before landing the job in Miami, Flores worked his way up the coaching ladder in New England with the Patriots for 10 seasons.
Ryan Has One goal for 2021
Ryan is entering his 14th season with the Falcons and has yet to win a Super Bowl.
However, he doesn’t seem too concerned about it nor is he even looking that far ahead into the season.
Ryan revealed his goal for 2021 and it’s a lot simpler than notching a Super Bowl ring, sort of.
“I’m at the point where it’s about winning games,” Ryan said last month. “Whatever they’re asking me to do, whatever role I can play within our offense to give us the best chance to win. That’s all I care about.”
And at 36-years-old, Ryan feels better than ever to accomplish that goal.
“I feel as good as I ever have,” Ryan said. “When I’m out on the field I feel as athletic and well-conditioned as I’ve ever been.”
Despite a disappointing overall 4-11 record, Ryan finished the 2020 season ranked fourth with 4,581 passing yards and had 26 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions.