Matt Ryan excited to play with Hayden Hurst, Todd Gurley II

Rashad Milligan

Matt Ryan has a pair of new skill-position athletes to enjoy this season.

The Atlanta Falcons quarterback addressed media on Thursday to talk about the first week of the team's workouts. 

"I think the additions we've made, I think guys like Todd [Gurley II] and Hayden [Hurst] are really good fits within what we do. They've both worked extremely hard this offseason, they're in great shape and they're both picking up the offense quickly."

Ryan said Hurst's athleticism is what's impressed him so far during these workouts. The 26-year-old former South Carolina Gamecock has a skillset unique from past tight ends like Austin Hooper and Tony Gonzalez, Ryan said.

While he's excited for the new skill starters, Ryan is also excited about the Falcons' continuity on offense. Ryan has had four offensive coordinators in his career, with Dirk Koetter entering his second season in his second stint with the Falcons this year.

"We have a bunch of starters back, not just at our skill positions but on our offensive line," Ryan said. "A lot of familiarity with Dirk back in his second season back as OC. I think those things help when you're in this kind of environment. It's been a unique offseason for sure. Knowing each other well and having a feel for each other helps in these situations."

The team's experience has also helped with early workouts before full practices return. Veterans like Ryan and Alex Mack have led position groups without heavy oversight of the coaching staff.

"The big thing is that we're ready to practice," Ryan said. "Making sure our bodies are ready to go and that we've knocked off any of the rust that we've needed to knock off from the time spent apart. We're lucky that we have some veteran players in those roles who can serve as coaches on the field to make sure they're getting the guys in position groups or in areas that they're working, as up to speed or as along as they possibly can." 

There will be no preseason this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Ryan compared the situation to college where players go straight from practice to game one.

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Comments (1)
No. 1-1

I am looking forward to this new and improved offensive unit.