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Falcons confident best still to come for Ryan

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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Posted March 12, 2012 @ 11:45 a.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Falcons QB Matt Ryan set career highs in passing yards (4,177) and touchdown passes (29) last season and finished the regular season with the eighth-best passer rating in the league (92.2) before delivering another disappointing playoff performance in Atlanta's loss to the Giants.

Heading into his fifth season, Ryan will be working with an offensive coordinator (Dirk Koetter) other than Mike Mularkey for the first time in his pro career, and, while the Falcons are pleased with Ryan's development, they don't believe he has reached his peak.

PFW asked Falcons GM Thomas Dimitoff at the NFL Scouting Combine if he thinks there is potential in Ryan that has gone untapped.

"I would (say) there is," Dimitroff said. "I believe that Matt Ryan — I've said point blank before and after the season — Matt Ryan is definitely one of the top 10 quarterbacks in this league. I like where Matt is. I like where his development is. Matt is his harshest critic, which I like as well because he's going to do all he has to do to continue to improve and continue to win games."

With WR Julio Jones benefiting from a year of seasoning, the Falcons' passing game should be as explosive as ever in 2012. The team is expected to utilize screen passes more under Koetter, so Ryan will be making more high-percentage throws. Another series of career highs will be in order, especially if he gets good, consistent protection from his offensive line, but playoff wins are the accomplishments the franchise is most interested in.

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