Quarterback Matt Ryan knows both backs have the ability to be big-play threats as receivers

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The NFL MVP said talks with the Falcons about a new contract haven’t started.

Atlanta Falcons general manger Thomas Dimitroff said signing quarterback to an extension now with two years left on his contract is not out of the question, but the primary focus is re-signing players set to become unrestricted free agents next week.

When Stafford’s mega-deal is done, Matt Ryan could be next in line to raise the contract bar.

Most players are not like Matt Ryan or not like Devonta Freeman or Desmond Trufant. The average player in the NFL may only play for three or four years.

In a season when so much went right for Matt Ryan, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback was at a loss Sunday night to describe what went wrong in a soul-crushing 34-28 overtime loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

When I look at Stafford’s overall game, I believe he is a truck in every sense of the word. He has shown the football world that he can put the team on his back. The Lions’ ability to compete against the league’s heavyweights comes down to whether Stafford can deliver A-level performances week in and week out. While that’s not a dismissal of Stafford’s supporting cast, I believe history shows that he typically has to overcome a non-existent running game and a questionable defense to win games in Detroit.

Matt Ryan, then just a 23-year-old NFL baby, walked into the University of Phoenix Stadium on Jan. 3, 2009, greeted by a raucous crowd of about 63,000. A good portion of those spectators twirled white Arizona T-shirts in unison as a deafening roar welcomed Ryan to his first-ever postseason appearance.

Nike Falcons #2 Matt Ryan Red Men's Stitched NFL Limited Rush Jersey
Nike Falcons #2 Matt Ryan Red Men’s Stitched NFL Limited Rush Jersey

“You only get better with experience, and he has plenty of it now,” White said of his former teammate. “Looking back, we would have won a couple of those games if we had done things differently. The playoffs are so hard because everybody has to do their job, not just Matt. You just know he’s going to be better this time around just based on experience and jerseys for cheap what he’s seen.”

The reigning MVP returns with all the key figures from the Falcons’ massively successful 2016 season — except for offensive mastermind Kyle Shanahan. Now the pressure is on Ryan to both shake off the epic Super Bowl LI loss and show he can produce at an elite level without Shanahan’s guiding hand. New offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is good at what he does, and, of course, coach Dan Quinn is also there to help prevent a drop-off. It would be a boon if Taylor Gabriel and Austin Hooper could take a step forward in 2017, but I think Ryan’s demeanor will make the ultimate difference. By Week 4, we’ll see that Ryan and the Falcons are operating at the same explosive clip they did last year, and I could see this team going back to the Super Bowl.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank said at the Super Bowl that Ryan would be “compensated well,” with general manager Thomas Dimitroff echoing that the thought of contract negotiations with Ryan will be on the team’s radar soon. From the Lions’ perspective, Stafford certainly has checked the boxes that second-year GM Bob Quinn desires from a QB1.

Whether it was Freeman beating Deion Jones down the right sideline Sunday with a double move or Coleman darting across the and securing a pass in traffic earlier in camp, quarterback Matt Ryan knows both backs have the ability to be big-play threats as receivers.

Here’s the thing, though: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the ultimate deodorant. It stinks for Edelman that he can’t play all year after tearing his ACL. It stinks for Brady and the offense. But the GOATs will cover up that stench. They’ll find a way to reshape this offense so it hums along in Edelman’s absence. How do I know this? Because they just pulled off a similar feat.

Ryan had a chance to make one of his Matty Ice-like, fourth-quarter comebacks, but his pass to White on fourth down from the 49ers’ 10-yard line fell incomplete right near the first down with just over a minute left in regulation. Tight end Tony Gonzalez broke free from a double team and was wide open in the end zone, but Ryan already had his sights set on a crossing White, who was tightly defended by linebacker NaVorro Bowman.