5 Reasons Matt Ryan Will Be Top Quarterback This Season
They haven't been disappointed.
Matt Ryan has quickly become one of the better passers in the NFL. In his rookie season he came as close to all of Peyton Manning's records as anyone could. His development has been steady, and he's set for a career season.
Ryan will establish himself as one of the clear cut elite quarterbacks this year, to be mentioned in the same breath as Aaron Rogers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
Last year there was only one clear weakness of the Atlanta Falcons offense: stretching the field.
They are about to quickly solve that problem with the blockbuster trade they made for one of the top receivers in the 2010 draft. A.J. Green and Julio Jones were described as two of the best prospects at wide receiver since Calvin Johnson. Jones impressed at the combine with a 4.39 second 40-yard dash time. He did that with a fracture in his foot, and reports are he's faster now.
Matt Ryan's pedestrian 6.5 yards per attempt will undoubtedly increase because of Jones. At the very least, Jones will take pressure off Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, both of which can still go down field.
The best case scenario could have Julio Jones as offensive Rookie of the Year. If that happens, it will be because Ryan leveled opposing defenses all year.
They Will Throw More
Traditionally, it is in the third and fourth years when a quarterback takes the next step.
Matt Ryan had a career high in attempts, completed passes, completion percentage and touchdowns. He threw for 28 touchdowns and only nine interceptions.
Expect those numbers to keep rising, as Ryan will have spent yet another year in the system while gaining better offensive weapons. He has yet to have a 4,000 yard season, but this year will be his first time in club 4,000.
In the final preseason game against the Steelers, Ryan came out and attempted 42 passes. In one half. With the sheer amount of times they'll be throwing the ball, Ryan will have ample opportunity to showcase his talent.
A quarterback's best friend is often a strong run game.
Michael Turner brings a bruising style to an offense that would otherwise lack such nature. He's carried the team over the past few years.
He is especially effective as a red-zone running back. Ryan is able to rely on Turner to punch in touchdowns, and find a way to get open when Roddy White or Tony Gonzalez are covered.
Though Turner may be getting older, don't expect him to slow down. Turner "the burner" will be open up the passing game even more for the Atlanta Falcons this year. The fact of the matter is the Falcons have too many weapons to be accounted for.
A Playoff Victory
Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan have been constantly compared since being drafted in the first round of 2008. The big knock on Ryan compared to Flacco is Ryan's 0-2 playoff record and Flacco's 4-3 record.
The idea that Flacco is better than Ryan will be proven as nothing more than myth.
Flacco has had a top defense to rely on in every playoff game he's been in. The Falcon's defense is above average, but failed them last season at home against Green Bay, giving up a startling 48 points. Simply put, Ryan was put into a bad situation, and he shouldn't be expected to mount a 27-point comeback.
The Falcons will make a deep playoff run this year. The defense will be improved, especially in the pass rush since they picked up Ray Edwards. Even if the defense gives up 40 points in the postseason, Ryan has the ability and weapons to outscore anyone in the league.
A Good Offensive Line
Though the offensive line suffered the loss of Harvey Dalh to the Rams this offseason, they re-signed three of their starters to longer deals.
A quarterback needs to be able to stand upright to succeed. Last year the Falcon's offensive line ranked as sixth best in the league, according to profootballfocus.com.
Matt Ryan has all the tools on offense to keep improving, and with proper pass protection and time there's no doubt that either Roddy White, Julio Jones or Tony Gonzalez will get open.
Consistency is key to Ryan's success, and this offensive line has been one of the most stable in the league.