That’s a lot easier said than done.
Despite a 1-2 start, Ryan has completed 68.1 percent of his passes, third best in the league, and has lost just once in his last 13 regular-season starts at home. In fact, the two-time Pro Bowler is 34-5 at the Georgia Dome, and with a victory against New England (3-0) can tie Brett Favre for most wins by a quarterback in his first 40 home games.
When discussing Ryan earlier this week, Patriots coach Bill Belichick highlighted just about every desirable quality a quarterback can possess.
“He looks pretty good at everything to me,” he said. “He has a good touch, he does a good job throwing the ball down the field, reads coverages well, doesn’t make many mistakes, manages the game well, he’s accurate, he’s tough, he’ll definitely stand in there, throw the ball and take a hit.
“He has very few bad plays, let’s put it that way, very few. So, consistency, I think that’s the mark of any great player. He’s pretty consistent — every play, every game, every series. He does a lot of things right.”
Kelly is hoping to change that, even though New England has yet to face a quarterback of Ryan’s caliber. Rookies EJ Manuel of Buffalo and Geno Smith of the New York Jets posed plenty of problems for the Patriots, who escaped with two wins by a combined five points. They had no trouble Sunday handling Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman, who just three days later was benched in favor of another rookie.
Kelly, however, couldn’t care less who is under center. He just wants to hit them.
“All the glory comes from sacking the quarterback,” he said, “so if you can’t get up for a chance to play a quarterback who throws the ball a lot, you’re pretty much in the wrong league.”