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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports


Matt Ryan on 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan: We pushed each other to be the best versions of ourselves

May 18, 2023 at 11:56 AM--



Former Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan has embarked on a new career. He looks to utilize his 15 seasons of NFL experience as an analyst for CBS Sports.

Ryan's best season came in 2016, finishing as the NFL Most Valuable Player. His offensive coordinator at the time was current San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who was in his second season with the Falcons.

Ryan recently joined the Take Command podcast with Craig Hoffman and former 49ers tight end Logan Paulsen. The former quarterback, like Shanahan, was known for being headstrong, prompting a question about his relationship with the coach.

"Number one, the thing I always appreciated about him is you knew exactly where he stood," Ryan shared. "There was no gray area. There was zero gray area of how he felt, and I always appreciated that. As a player, you want honest feedback. All I want is for you to put me in a position to be successful, and I want to play my best.

"I think that he pushed me to get better; he pushed me outside of my comfort zone. There was a lot of stuff early on, I was like, 'Hey, I haven't really done that in my career. I haven't specialized in this, but we've done more of this.' And he goes, 'I don't care, Matt. You can.' He's like, 'I don't care what you've done. I know what you can do,' and pushed me to get better. I appreciate him for that."

Ryan admits that the two were trying to feel each other out during their first season together, something you might expect from a new quarterback/coordinator combination. The two were being cordial and respectful, trying not to step on each other's toes.

The relationship changed during their next offseason together.

"And then we had this kind of meeting in the offseason between my first and second year with him, and we came to the agreement that we both just had to let it out. Like, we need to have these back-and-forth go-at-each-other [debates] or whatever. So we would have the meetings ... where he'd be just on my ass, getting after me, and I'd be going back at him.

"And he'd call me on the ride home; I would be leaving. I'd be like, 'Man, that was intense. Hopefully, it's all good tomorrow.' And then he'd call me on the ride home, and he'd be like, 'Dude, that was awesome; exactly what we needed. We're in a great spot for install tomorrow.' And I'd be like, 'All right, we're good.'

"So it turned into a really great relationship. I enjoyed playing for him, but we were both headstrong, and both had great belief in what we were doing. And I really think we both pushed each other to be the best versions of ourselves."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Ryan below.

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