An internal debate I've had with myself for a while now is whether or not Matt Ryan can be an elite quarterback in this league and whether or not the Falcons can win a championship if he's not.
Can Ryan take that next step this season?
I had the TV on SportsCenter this evening, as I was writing an article for my college football site, and the four-letter network had some of their experts on talking about quarterbacks and specifically which ones would improve in 2012. Matt Stafford and Josh Freeman were both listed as guys that were on the cusp of taking the next step.
When the discussion turned to guys that were already household names and were good and were on track to be great, Chris Mortensen called out Matt Ryan as one of the guys that could be ready to make that next step. He mentioned the fact that Roddy White is at his peak and that Julio Jones would be coming into his own.
Matt certainly seems to have put the time in the film room every year in order to be an elite quarterback. Now he's getting serious about his physicality as well. Will this be the year that Matt Ryan becomes more consistent and takes that next step into an elite quarterback in this league? That will be a major key to how far the Falcons can go this season.
What do the readers think? Is Matt Ryan ready to be an elite quarterback? If not, can the Falcons still take the next step if he doesn't? And off-topic for those of you who saw the segment; did the Easter Bunny dress Trent Dilfer in that ridiculous outfit?
If Matt Ryan is going to be a top 5 quarterback he must become an accurate long passer and accurately throw over the shoulder passes when the receiver is covered but the cornerback is not looking at the quarterback. He always overthrows the long pass and never trys the over the shoulder pass. The top 5 quarterbacks can consistently make these type of passes.
@Lifetime Falcon Fanatic Thanks for registering and commenting. I think we will get the answer to what you are talking about this season. Dirk Koeter was brought in to improve the vertical passing game. I don't necessarily think we have to complete the bomb but it's the mid-range pass that is the killer. The one that leads a receiver over the middle and gives him the ability to bust plays open with his feet. We need to be better putting our players in spots where they can complete the play and not just catch the ball.
Matt Ryan will only go as far as his teammates take him. Uh, the above picture tells the story: underperforming left tackle. Leading the league in dropped passes did not help either. Think about the Packers and Giants receivers and O-lines. QBs and Presidents: too much blame or credit depending on how things go. No man is an island. Even Michael Jordan and Majic Johnson had help, lots of it. Team guys, it's a team sport.
@LindaPinson Thanks for reading and commenting. Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan are tough comparisons for anybody because they are truly the elite of the elite in their sports. Not just of their era but of all time. Those are guys (especially Jordan) that elevated their teammates to new level. What would Scottie Pippen have been without Jordan? Probably an also-ran.
In terms of Ryan needing help I agree to a certain extent. Football is definitely a team sport and without everybody doing their thing- whether it be in the trenches, catching passes or stopping the opponent- then the team likely will not get as far as they should.
The thing about the Packers and Giants is that they developed their receivers. When they drafted them they weren't elite. The thing that hurt Matt most last year was the OL. Ryan just looked uncomfortable at times last year as he simply didn't have the time (or in some cases didn't think he would have the time) to make the plays he needed to make. It will be interesting to see how this changes this year under the new offensive coaching staff and Dirk Koeter.