Matt Ryan is now entering his 8th season as the quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. He has thrown for over 4,000 yards the last three seasons. He has played in just about every single game, thus showing his durability. Ryan got the nickname “Matty Ice” back in high school because he was cool under pressure. The pressure to deliver a Superbowl for the city of Atlanta is starting to mount. Ryan is a very good quarterback (QB), but is he great? Can he lead the Falcons to the Supebowl?
To answer that question, you first have to know if Ryan has been “given the keys to the car”. Yes, has he been entrusted to truly run the offense? Has he been allowed to audible out of any and all situations? It seems that his first 6 years the answer has been – No. Several times you could see Ryan’s frustrations knowing that a play called would not gain positive yards. He would fake audible and execute the play call anyway. Last season, it appears, he was finally allowed to actually audible out of a play that he thought wouldn’t work.
This season brings new head coach, Dan Quinn, with his defensive background. He will defer to new offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, when it comes to play calling. How long before Shanahan gives Matt Ryan the “keys to the car”? Shanahan will definitely get the most out of Ryan, provided it is a balanced run first attack. Ryan’s most successful winning seasons, were attributed to an identity and consciousness of running the ball. Here is a little known secret to getting to a Superbowl and even winning one – run the ball and stop the run. By running the ball, hopefully this will keep him upright, cut down on the interceptions (INTs), and improve his touchdowns (TDs). Ryan was sacked 31 and 44 times respectively, the last two years. In those two seasons, Ryan has thrown 26 TDs to 17 INTs and 28 TDs to 14 INTs. An incompetent offensive line was part of the problem, but that’s also a QB that is not great.
Matt Ryan is signed thru the 2018 season. This means he will have two seasons in the new stadium to prove he is worth $15 million and $19 million respectively. Currently he is the 5th highest paid QB. Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, and Cam Newton precede him. Three of the four have a Superbowl ring. It is true, that you must have a TEAM to win a Superbowl. However, the QB position is crucial to obtaining that goal (i.e. Arizona Cardinals of 2014). Now is the time for Ryan to prove he has ice waters in his veins. Expectations are not Superbowl or bust this season or possibly the next season, because of a new head coach and system. However, when Ryan enters his final season of his current contract, he will be expected to “Rise Up!”, be great, and lead the Falcons to the Superbowl – stay tuned.