Matt Ryan Dishes on Time With 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan: ‘He’d Be on My A**’

Kyle Shanahan Matt Ryan

Getty Kyle Shanahan shares a postgame conversation with Matt Ryan on December 15, 2019.

Matt Ryan didn’t just thrive under Kyle Shanahan before the latter took over the head coaching reins for the San Francisco 49ers. The quarterback recalled some intense, yet motivating, moments with his former offensive coordinator that sparked some of his career-best moments.

Speaking on the Audacy “Take Command” podcast on Thursday, May 18, Ryan detailed the kind of fiery relationship both he and the coach had during their time with the Atlanta Falcons — including how Shanahan would “be on my a**” as Ryan remembered.

“We had this meeting in the offseason between my first and second year with him, and we came to the agreement that we both just had to let it out. We would have the meetings up in the offensive coordinator spot on the second floor of Flowery Branch where he’d be on my a**, getting after me, and I’d be going back at him,” Ryan shared. “I’d be leaving I’d be like ‘Man, that was intense. Hopefully, it’s all good tomorrow.’”

But then, a phone call from Shanahan would change the mood between coach and passer.

“Then he’d call me on the ride home and he’d be like ‘Dude, that was awesome; exactly what we needed. We’re in a great spot for install tomorrow.’ And I was like alright, we’re good,” Ryan remembered. “It turned into a really great relationship. I enjoyed playing for him. But we were both headstrong and both had great belief in what we were doing. I really think we both pushed each other to be the best versions of ourselves.”

Matt Ryan on What He Always Appreciated About His Ex-OC

Ryan, to this day, delivered his most passing yards (4,944), touchdowns (38), completion percentage (69.9) and passer rating (117.1) with Shanahan as his play-caller. That was during their NFC title-winning season of 2016.

Ryan has since spent his last six seasons without Shanahan on his side. But he always appreciated being around the coach soon to enter his seventh season with the Niners.

“Number one, the thing I always appreciated about (Kyle Shanahan) is you knew exactly where he stood. There was no gray area. There was zero gray area of how he felt. I always appreciated that,” Ryan said. “As a player, you want honesty back. All I want is for you to put me in a position to be successful and I want to play my best. I think that he pushed me to get better. He pushed me outside of my comfort zone.”

Ryan also remembered how Shanahan would always find ways to push the perennial Pro Bowl QB to be better.

“There was a lot of stuff early on, I was like ‘Hey, I’ve never really done that in my career. I haven’t specialized in this but we’ve done more of this.’ He just goes, ‘I don’t care, Matt, you can. I don’t care what you’ve done, I know what you can do,’ and pushed me to get better. I appreciated him for that,” Ryan said.

Matt Ryan Still Open to Continuing Career? Even in Broadcast Move?

Ryan could soon be in the broadcast booth for a 49ers game in 2023 as he transitions to an analyst role with CBS Sports. But as he stated in his announcement on Twitter, he hasn’t made any retirement plans.

Ryan reiterated his desire to leave open a playing opportunity with Rich Gannon on Sirius XM radio.

“I’ve just learned, at least during my experience in the 15 years I’ve played, to just not shut any doors,” Ryan said. “That’s really the decision behind that. Like I said, I’m excited to kind of take this next step and to move forward, but at the same time, you never know what’s going to happen in this league. Anything can shake out, and so, we’ll see what happens.”

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