The first thing before continuing to read this piece is to read this article from Bleacher Report. The author writes about how Matt Ryan’s statistics are very good, getting close to elite, and absolutely going to improve this season. However, the author’s positive remarks about Ryan ends there. He goes on to decry the lack of confidence that Ryan instills in Falcons fans when watching him. Even when he is making great plays, McMillan (the author of the Bleacher Report article) doesn’t feel the confidence that other quarterbacks exude when taking snaps under center.
I’ll admit I’ve felt that at times. There have been some games, like the game against the Houston Texans last season, where I simply watched the game and thought ‘what is going to happen next’. With the exception of the 2010 season, I’ve been constantly nervous something bad might happen. I think that is natural however; every team I root for, I feel the same thing. I don’t think this is an indictment on Ryan so much as it is a case of me demanding statistical perfection of my quarterback, perfection that will lead to winning football games.
But have you seen the confidence that Ryan has been moving this team so far in 2012? Ok sure, it’s not a regular season game, this is only the first two games of the preseason. But the confidence and decisiveness surrounding Matt Ryan’s demeanor has been a far cry from what it was in 2011. The pocket hasn’t been perfect so far in the preseason, but rather than wildly scramble and throw the ball away, our quarterback has shifted, kept his eyes downfield, and delivered strikes to his receivers. When Roddy White or Julio Jones are well covered, Ryan isn’t simply checking down or throwing the ball out of bounds; he is putting the ball on the receivers and trusting them to make plays.
Maybe this is what we have been looking for the whole time. Maybe all Falcons fans have been looking for is for Ryan to fully trust his receivers to make big plays, something they have not been letting Ryan or the fans down in. I think it’s clear that Ryan and this offense have the talent to make big strides and really improve. But I think this new offensive scheme under Dirk Koetter has really allowed the players to have full confidence in what they are doing. The Falcons look great completing passes in the short, intermediate, and deep range, the play-action pass looks good, we even have a screen game. The no-huddle offense is the most productive aspect, and it has yielded huge gains when the Falcons run it.
Whatever it is about Ryan and this offense, I certainly have confidence in it. If we can play similar to this during the regular season, there is no reason we should be worried about the potential of negative plays or turnovers happening. Falcons fans should be looking for big plays and scoring success for this team.