Matt Ryan has been a stellar quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons since coming into the league. But he has the task of taking on rookie sensation Russell Wilson. And that rookie quarterback coming to town has more career playoff wins in his first NFL season than Matt Ryan does in his career.
And it’s that 3 game winless streak in the postseason that has some saying there is extra pressure for the Atlanta Falcons to win.
In all fairness to Matt Ryan, the three opponents he faced in the playoffs went on to win the NFC Championship and head to the Superbowl. Out of the three, the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers went on to win the Superbowl, the Arizona Cardinals eventually lost in the Superbowl.
Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon joined 790 The Zone in Atlanta to discuss this playoff cloud hanging over their heads and shrugs off any idea that they’re under any extra pressure.
“I won’t look at it as pressure; I look at it as motivation,” Weatherspoon said. “You get what you earn in this league, and we put ourselves in the position that we wanted to put ourselves in. For everyone to be not really talking about us and saying we’re the team that could potentially drop one — because we haven’t won in the playoffs — that’s something that you’ve got to use as fuel to your fire in order to get over that hump. I don’t look at it as pressure; I just look at it as a great opportunity.”
Witherspoon also says that the atmosphere in Atlanta has changed, and their attitude towards practice this year is different than in years past when they had a first round bye week.
“Last time we were in this situation, where we had the bye, we maybe had two practices,” Weatherspoon said. I didn’t take it as seriously. … I didn’t understand why we were practicing. But this year I think everybody gets it. … Now that we have our opponent and this game coming up, it’s all about just going out there and being a physical football team.”
He even says that the bye week was beneficial for the Falcons this week.
“Man, I think that was very big. I think that’s awesome,” Weatherspoon said. “We got a chance to kind of work on ourselves. We didn’t know who we were playing, so we had a chance to just go out there and work on the fundamentals, work on the cornerstone of everything that we do. … I think that was something we can definitely use to our advantage, because we got a chance to get off of our feet a little bit, but at the same time, get something done.”
The Falcons are ready.