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Atlanta's Ryan not interested in MVP discussions

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Atlanta's Ryan not interested in MVP discussions

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan doesn't like to discuss his accomplishments and never says much when asked to consider his chances of becoming the NFL's MVP.

The same goes when Ryan is asked about whether the Falcons can go undefeated in the regular season or if he's concerned about his winless record in three playoff games.

It's difficult to get much emotion from Ryan other than the vibe he puts off that's intelligent, cool and polite.

Ryan ranks third in NFL passer rating and completion percentage and in touchdowns, but said there are just two statistical categories that have real meaning.

``From a quarterback standpoint, it's all about touchdowns and turnovers,'' he said on Wednesday. ``Those kinds of things are ultimately the most important. So far, we've done a pretty good job of that this year.''

Ryan has been called Matty Ice since he was teenager, earning the nickname by performing well under pressure at William Penn Charter School in the Philadelphia suburbs.

But the moniker likewise applies to his interviews with reporters. Nobody's going to crack Matty Ice.

Teammates say that he can be a wise guy when the public isn't watching, but that it's all business when he gets on the field.

Todd McClure, the Falcons' 14th-year center, said Ryan rarely berates a teammate for a missed assignment and never shows much emotion in the huddle.

``You never see him get rattled,'' McClure said. ``He never changes.'' There's been a few times where he's gotten on some guys in some situations where we maybe got a penalty here and there, but for the most part he never changes. He's the same guy all of the time.''

When Atlanta (7-0) hosts the Dallas Cowboys (3-4) on Sunday night, Ryan insists he won't worry about the expectations of a capacity crowd at the Georgia Dome or a national television audience.

``Not really,'' he said. ``We've got guys in this locker room that have played for a long time, and we've played Sunday night games, we've played Monday night games, we've played Thursday night games. We've done about everything you can do, so the biggest thing is to get in your routine.''

Ryan's leadership is a primary reason Atlanta's diverse offense is playing at a high level.

With Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez so tough to defend in man-to-man coverage, they give Ryan plenty of ways to move the ball down the field.

The Falcons can strike quickly or move the ball methodically. Ryan has helped Atlanta take first-quarter leads at Kansas City and Philadelphia and mount last-minute comebacks against Carolina and Oakland.

In last week's 13-point win over the Eagles, Ryan oversaw an offense that scored on its first six drives. His career record improved to 28-0 when his passer rating is 100 or higher and 29-5 when he throws at least two touchdown passes.

``He ran the offense about as well as it could be run,'' Atlanta coach Mike Smith said. ``I thought there was probably one throw early in the game that he would've liked to have back. It was the first throw of the game.''

Ryan hardly gave himself an outstanding evaluation.

``Far from perfect,'' he said with a laugh. ``There is no doubt. Smitty was being kind. There was probably more than one that I wanted back. The first play of the game is a good example of that. I probably should've just put it in the dirt.''

Ryan cited poor footwork on some inaccurate throws. He wasn't pleased on decisions he made on checkdowns and pre-snap protection calls he could've made.

``You're never going to be completely perfect,'' he said. ``But you're always trying to work towards that and I'll continue trying to do that this week.''

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

It's almost here.

After a lengthy break between the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are set to meet on Monday for Game 1.

Who will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir give their keys to the series and their predictions for the Stanley Cup Final. Plus, JJ speaks with several member from the local media to get their insights and predictions.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 27, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Here is my sunrise view from this morning:

Looking at next year’s free agents

This post was originally published on March 18. 

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens. 

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard). 

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility. 

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon. 

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup. 

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight. 

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler