(Photo by Bleacher Report)
With 32,757 career passing yards in eight seasons as the Atlanta Falcons signal-caller, including five consecutive 4000-yard seasons (four of which were for at least 4500), and an NFC Championship game appearance on his resume, it is easy to respect Matt Ryan and rate him as one of the decent ones. Even though he gets knocked for falling short in big games as 2012 was the only season where his team won a playoff game, it is now time worry about worse things as he tries to settle into offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s system.
In his first nine games of 2015, Ryan posted a 92.4 passer rating by completing two hundred thirty-nine of three hundred fifty-seven passes for 2702 yards. Regrettably, he posted a 12:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio, but matters got worse as his season continued. During the final seven games, Ryan completed one hundred sixty-eight of two hundred fifty-seven passes for 1889 yards, nine touchdowns against nine interceptions, leaving him with a passer rating of 84.3.
People, including me, will blame Shanahan for Ryan’s downfalls as more people know him for his family name than accomplishing anything. Regardless, we have to face the reality that Ryan’s past play increases his chances of having a bad season.
In his only two drives of the Falcons’ first preseason game, Ryan completed none of his four passes as he threw one short into the turf toward Julio Jones at the Atlanta 7-yard line and overthrew the next while Jones was at the Atlanta 17-yard line. His subsequent two passes were not much better with one being uncatchable by partially being in Mohamed Sanu’s catching radius, but part of a potentially missed pass interference call, and the other was late to Aldrick Robinson in double coverage.
Out of nineteen quarterbacks that started at least ten games last year, fifteen had completed at least two-thirds of their passes during Week 1 of the preseason. Thirteen of those fifteen had either thrown one incompletion or were perfect. Meanwhile, Ryan was the only preseason starter out of thirty-two to make all of his passes incompletions.
What is scary is that throws like the ones to Jones and Sanu are pretty routine for quarterbacks, and Ryan is not even playing close to an above average passer that can give us any optimism.
Of course, the preseason does not mean anything as Eli Manning had decent regular season numbers (4410 yards, 30:14 TD: INT Ratio, and 92.1 passer rating) after playing terribly in it two years ago and Cam Newton won Rookie of the Year after posting a 57.8 passer rating in his first. Still, Ryan plays for a franchise with instability at key position groups (wide receiver, offensive line, and tight end), offensive coordinator, and, most importantly, general manager (Thomas Dimitroff). The longer the latter three stay, mainly Shanahan and Dimitroff, the worse Ryan will get.
Every quarterback should have supporting casts, coaches, and administrators that are of his caliber, and as the latter three clearly are not. If no changes are made, mainly at offensive coordinator and general manager, everyone will eventually be out of a job, including Ryan. He still has the rest of the preseason and regular season to turn things around. Except, if things cannot get better even in the simplest of times, all of the things in Ryan’s life will go in the opposite direction because that is where his career seems to be going.