March 20, 2008

Ryan happy with pro day performance

If Herm Edwards is to be believed, Matt Ryan had only a so-so day during Wednesday's Pro Day at Boston College.

But in the end, even the Kansas City Chiefs head coach didn't seem to put all that much stock one way or another in the 52 passes Ryan threw for the 42 NFL talent evaluators.

What really mattered to Edwards, the only head coach to attend the proceedings and whose team owns the fifth pick, was what Ryan did against Virginia Tech, Miami and Clemson and not against the phantom defenders he saw earlier today inside the bubble at Alumni Stadium.

"I thought he pressed a couple of times, trying to throw the football too hard. And that's generally what happens...10 or 15 years ago, you'd go to workouts and there'd be five people. And now, depending on who you are and what school you come from, it becomes this," said Edwards, looking out at a packed Conte Forum media suite. "Which is kinds of good, because it puts a lot of pressure on the kids. The game everyone plays, there's going to be pressure. You look at that, but you also realize they're going to press a little bit and he pressed on some throws. But the thing that this guy has is the ability. And that's the thing about quarterbacks. Some guys win and some guys don't. You can look all the stats, you can look at arm strength, you can look at a lot of different things. But in the end, can he win games? And this guy has."

Ryan completed 48 of those 52 passes, with three drops. And though there were a couple of wobbly ones in the bunch, Ryan disagreed, ever so politely, with the coach's assessment of his performance.

"It's tough because there's no rush and it's so atypical of what goes on in football and so different from how you actually play," said Ryan. "For me,I don't think I pressed or anything like that. I just thought I went out there and threw. The first couple of throws are always a little rusty when you first come out. I didn't think they were too bad."

The scrutiny from the coaches, executives and scouts was intensified due to Ryan's decisions to skip the Senior Bowl and not throw at the NFL combine last month, decisions that he would not take back.

"The criticism comes with the territory," said Ryan. "I made the decisions that I made and I'm comfortable with them. I decided not go to the Senior Bowl because I didn't think I needed to and I decided not to throw at the combine because I thought it would be better for me to throw here. I made those decisions, I stick by them and I think I've made good decisions throughout this entire process."

Ryan, who has spent the winter months working at the Athletes Performance Institute in Arizona, said he's put on about 10 pounds, up to about 227, and his body fat is down about two and half percent.

"I think I'm in better shape and stronger," said Ryan.

The Miami Dolphins, who own the first overall pick, were represented yesterday by Director of College Scouting Chris Grier and quarterbacks coach David Lee...

While Ryan got the lion's share of attention during Pro Day, offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus got his fair share, too. The Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions and New York Giants all sent their offensive line coaches.

When asked if he thought if he's better suited to going back to right tackle, where he played his first three season at the Heights before being moved to the left side prior to last year, Cherilus said he could play either side.

"At the end of the day, every team is going to need a right tackle and a left tackle," said Cherilus. "I've done them both. I've played three years at right tackle and one year at left and I feel like I did real well at both. Whoever wants to give me a shot, go ahead and give it. I'm a a competitor. I have a lot of pride. I'm not the type who's going to show up at somebody's locker, take your money and then sit my butt down. I'm going to compete and show whoever gives me a shot, you've got yourself a player. I don't care if it's at right or left."...

Guard Ryan Poles, whose football career appeared to be over when he tore his Achilles in the Notre Dame game earlier this season, has not given up on playing at the next level. Having just finished his rehab, he didn't do all the drills.

"I felt great. I didn't do anything for time because I just finished up healing and I haven't really trained for the 40 or any agility drills. But I've been working on my position drills and I thought it went real well," said Poles. "I just wanted to go out there and do my best and hope it works out."...

Jamie Silva, who ran a 4.78 40 at the combine, is glad this portion of
the evaluation is over.

"This isn't my strong point in football. Playing the game is," said the
projected mid-rounder.

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