Atlanta, GA. When the Atlanta Falcons selected Matt Ryan with the 3rd overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, it was obvious that he was going to be given every chance to be their QB and leader for the next decade or so. He immediately gave Falcons fans hope, winning offensive rookie of the year and leading Atlanta to an 11-5 record. In fact, in his four years as starting QB for the Atlanta Falcons, Matt Ryan is 43-19, which is one of the best marks in that span in all of the NFL. He has 95 career TD’s compared to just 46 interceptions, which is a very good ratio in today’s game. He has also proven to be very durable, and it would be hard to argue that so far he hasn’t lived up to expectations. Ryan is now entering his fifth year in the league, and has quite possibly the best wide receiver tandem anywhere in Roddy White and Julio Jones. It seems to happen every year or so, where an NFL QB goes from “very good” status to “elite” status. 2012 has all the makings of being that time for Matt Ryan.
The Atlanta Falcons have gradually become one of those teams who wins a ton in the regular season, but can’t seem to get it done in the playoffs. Two years ago, with home field advantage, they got blown out at the Georgia Dome by the eventual champion Packers. Last year, this time on the road, Atlanta scored just 2 points in a lopsided loss to the eventual champion Giants. Noticing a trend here? On one hand, they are not at all looking like the team that played so well during the season, but on the other hand, they do have the crutch of pointing out that they are being beaten by the team that ends up winning the Super Bowl. With Matt Ryan at the helm, the Falcons are 0-3 in the post-season. Now before anyone says he is a guy who has shown he can’t get it done when it counts and isn’t the answer long-term, let’s look at the new signal caller in Denver, Mr. Manning. Peyton did not get his first playoff win until his sixth year in the league. Most people forget, but the same sorts of questions were being asked about him roughly ten years ago….will he ever win in the playoffs? Can he ever get it done? Well, as most fans know, he does now have nine playoff victories and one Super Bowl ring to his credit. There always seems to be that particular year for QB’s where they break through and become elite. It happened two years ago for #12 in Green Bay, as he is considered by most as the best in the game right now. 2012 has the look of being the perfect storm for Matt Ryan, and by years end, we could be seeing the next great QB in the NFL.
The receiving weapons are there, with White, Jones, and Tony Gonzalez. The Atlanta Falcons also have one of the most durable runners in the league in Michael Turner. Their defense seems to be improved with the addition of Asante Samuel. The time is now for this team to take that next step and go very deep in the playoffs and possibly on to the Super Bowl. Nobody wants to silence his critics more than Matt Ryan does, as all of the pieces are there for him and his team to break through and be considered elite.
Denver Sports by J Simp