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It Starts With Matt
PETER KING
May 05, 2008
No team had more work to do in the draft than the Falcons, who tapped BC's Matt Ryan as Michael Vick's replacement—the first step in the recovery of a beleaguered franchise
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May 05, 2008

It Starts With Matt

No team had more work to do in the draft than the Falcons, who tapped BC's Matt Ryan as Michael Vick's replacement—the first step in the recovery of a beleaguered franchise

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"Not taking Glenn Dorsey surprised me," said fourth-year linebacker Michael Boley, sounding disappointed as he left the Atlanta Hawks' NBA playoff game with the Boston Celtics on Saturday night. "He'd have been a great player for our defense."

Dimitroff, who spent six years with the Patriots, the last five as director of college scouting, remembers the grumbling in New England in 2000, when Bill Belichick inherited a salary-bloated team and brought in Pioli to run the personnel side. A year later the Patriots won the Super Bowl. Fans stopped grumbling. "Put a winning team on the field, and fans will come," Dimitroff said, recounting the lesson he said was driven into him by Belichick and Pioli. "I understand this is entertainment, and I want our fans to be happy. I've been in this business 18 years, and making sound decisions is how you win." Trust your instincts, in other words.

Ryan will have to convince a locker room and a city that he's the right man to succeed Vick. He's certainly a different kind of talent. A pure dropback passer, Ryan rushed for 58 yards over 45 college games—a total Vick sometimes amassed in a quarter. Ryan made his mark with his composure, his strong, accurate arm and his propensity to lead late comebacks. After he was drafted, Ryan spoke eagerly to the Falcons' brass. When the phone finally got around to Blank, he asked, "Should I call you Matty Ice?"

That'll be fine. Ryan will need ice water in his veins to make it in Atlanta.

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