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Falcons prepared Matt Ryan for increased workload

Atlanta made sure during the offseason that quarterback Matt Ryan would be physically ready to handle a bigger workload during the 2012 season.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons knew they would be relying more on quarterback Matt Ryan in 2012, so they took steps to make sure he was prepared to handle the additional workload. Head coach Mike Smith said they had Ryan begin his offseason regimen early.

"That’s the one thing that we wanted to make sure of, that he started his offseason program earlier than anybody," Smith said. "We thought if we started the season stronger, we were going to be stronger at the end of the season."

It paid dividends for the Falcons, who are 11-2, and for Ryan, who said Wednesday he feels great. Ryan is averaging about 39 pass attempts per game this season, which is a career high. He is on pace to set career highs in passing yardage as well as attempts.

Atlanta has already secured the NFC South Division title and will take on the New York Giants this weekend.

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Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.