Falcons to start rookie quarterback

Aug. 25, 2008 at 1:32 AM
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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga., Aug. 25 (UPI) -- First-round draft pick Matt Ryan will be the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons when they open their NFL season against Detroit, the team said.

The Falcons Sunday named the Boston College rookie their signal caller for the Sept. 7 game against the Lions.

"After reviewing Matt's progress, we feel like he has won the starting job," Coach Mike Smith confirmed on the Falcons' Web site.

The third overall selection in the 2008 NFL draft in June finished the pre-season with two touchdowns after completing 32 of 52 passes for 277 yards and no interceptions.

He was the ACC player of the year last season and earned Heisman Trophy consideration. His pre-season numbers included one touchdown on 15 of 21 passing for 102 yards against the Tennessee Titans Friday.

"I think you have to take starting in stride and keep working hard the same way I have been," Ryan said. "I will keep doing what I have done to get to this point. It is only the beginning. I am excited to get things started."

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