Is Matt Ryan done in Atlanta?

Is Matt Ryan done in Atlanta?
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Matt Ryan has been a superstar in Atlanta. It’s hard to argue that the five time Pro Bowler and 2016 All Pro hasn’t been the best QB in Falcons’ franchise history. But all good things must come to an end.

Despite posting his best completion percentage since 2018, Ryan’s performance has been down this season. He already has 10 interceptions to only 15 TDs, his worst ratio since 2015. 2021 has also seen Ryan’s worst yards/game since 2010.

More than anything, the Falcons just aren’t winning. Thats by no means solely the veteran QB’s responsibility but his performances show he is part of the problem. They are 4-6 this season. Since losing the Super Bowl, the Falcons under Ryan are 32-41 and 8-18 since the start of 2020.

Dan Quinn was blamed for the decline in performance post Super Bowl run and was ousted lat year. It isn’t fair to judge Arthur Smith as a failure half a season into his rookie year as a head coach. However, it is fair to say that over his fist first 10 games in charge, he hasn’t got the most out of Matt Ryan. Much like Matt Nagy in Chicago, that’s quite an indictment on Smith who was credited with the resurrection of Ryan Tannehill.

The easy way out

The worst bit is that the Falcons had an out. With the 4th overall pick last season, they could have taken a QB to start the next generation of the Falcons. Yes, Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance had gone – although they could have moved up to at least the third pick with Miami shopping the pick. Even so, Justin Fields and Rookie of the Year in waiting Mac Jones were still available.

The Falcons were in cap hell last summer. Moving on from Ryan may have allowed them to keep Julio Jones-though Jones has hardly seen the field this season. Or Ryan could have passed the torch to a rookie QB and been the perfect mentor for Fields or Mac Jones. While eventual pick Kyle Pitts has started to flourish in the NFL. Picking him has delayed the new era of Falcons football to next year.

What’s more, Mac Jones has been the only QB to perform consistently as a rookie. As our College Editor Owain Jones predicted: Mac Jones was best set up to succeed as a rookie but has the lowest ceiling of the 2021 QB class. Even so, Jones & co look far more talented than the 2022 class which could be the worst since 2016 (EJ Manuel). So waiting an extra year could cost the Falcons more than a middling 2021 season.

The Falcons have a lot of tough questions to answer. Cutting Matt Ryan post June 1st would have saved a much needed $2M this year. Saying goodbye to a franchise legend is never easy. But as the New England Patriots did, sometimes it is the best move for the franchise.

A Falcons Fan’s View

The Falcons were primed to pick a quarterback in the 2021 NFL draft. There were five very good quarterback prospects in the class. It was the perfect opportunity to take one and put him in a good situation. With no risk of rushing a QB to start early in his rookie year, the Falcons had the luxury of being able to sit a QB for a minimum of a year while he developed and learnt from a true professional like Matt Ryan.

Instead, Atlanta decided to push that decision into the future. It is extremely difficult for the Falcons to move on from Matt Ryan after the 2021 season. Add that, it is unknown when the Falcons will make their move to bring in Ryan’s successor. 

The 2022 quarterback class lacks the star quality of the 2021 class. Making the Falcons decision to make Kyle Pitts the highest selected tight end in draft history even more baffling. Matt Ryan isn’t the problem. But, he certainly isn’t the long term answer. The Falcons have just made their search for the future at the position incredibly harder by ignoring the position in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Owain Jones – Atlanta Falcons Fan – NFL Draft & College Editor

Image: NBC5

3 thoughts on “Is Matt Ryan done in Atlanta?

  1. Don’t even start with this.

    No one wanted Mac Jones. And Mac Jones wasn’t going to be good in atlanta… he just hit the good situation in NE.

    Fields is terrible. Chicago is going to run through six head coaches and a decade of 6-11 seasons looking for the guy to fix Fields before they figure out he is trash.

  2. Until the Falcons address the offensive line it will not change the outcome. Matt Ryan has been sacked more than any other quarterback. Tom Brady could not pass on his backside either. In addition this year Ridley hasn’t been available. Patterson has been a pleasant surprise. Protect Ryan and you get better results. Matt Ryan has the talent to be a hall of fame quarterback but he needs help.

  3. Matt Ryan , should have been replaced a year after the Super bowl… started off we would have the game won only to find out that we give the game away. What a hurtful feeling. Our QB will ball up like a worm and we loses yards and downs . Throw the ball away it’s not hard at all. We need a QB..!! We need Help!! ASAP

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