What Will Matt Ryan Improve on Next?
Jan 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws in the pocket against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome. The 49ers won 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
For the last five years, we Falcons fans have been blessed. Thomas Dimitroff came in here, took Matt Ryan as the future quarterback, and started the five year run that kept the Falcons as a major contender every single year. Although the Falcons have what many teams might consider “weapons of mass destruction,” the most explosive part about the Atlanta offense is Matt Ryan. He’s consistent, he’s clutch, he’s consistently clutch, he’s what any good team needs. But what I love most about Matt Ryan is his ability to improve on his weaknesses.
Coming out of college, one of the biggest concerns was his high interception rate. That still shows up here and there, but his interceptions are considerably down. In his last year of school at Boston College, he threw 19 interceptions. In Atlanta, he has never thrown over 14 in a 16 game season. Barring outlier games where he threw 5 or 3 in one game, you’re looking at MVP caliber numbers.
A strange statistic that people tend to overlook is scrambling ability. Matt Ryan has sneaky athleticism. He doesn’t look like a runner; he’s a long, and lanky passer. He ran a quick (not fast) 40 in the combine that would prove that he could run if he needed to. But could he really? In his senior year at Boston College, he attempted to run 68 time
s and only got 2 yards. That’s not very promising. Last year, he attempted 34 rushes and got a grand total of 141 yards. TD did not draft a scrambler, but we know that if a lane is open, the receivers are covered; he’ll take that opportunity and at the same time be safe and smart about it.
Then there’s my favorite improvement. As long as I can remember, Matt Ryan’s arm strength was criticized. As accurate as he could be, he couldn’t throw the deep pass with a ton of accuracy. Last offseason, Ryan committed to adding strength. He did, and as a result, I don’t know how many times I’ve seen him launch the ball that landed perfectly into the arms of a Julio Jones running for a touchdown. Matt Ryan now has the long ball.
The real question is “What will he improve on next?”
I’m betting on Interceptions. I don’t think he’ll throw another 14 interceptions in 2013. I would even bet the number is below 10. As usual, his accuracy will be a little better, his consistency will be a little better, his arm strength will be a little better, and when all those littles are put together, we’re looking at a quarterback that will be in the MVP talk the entire season. I think his numbers improve while the amount of yards stays relatively similar. With a new and improved running game, Ryan won’t have to pass as much, but with fewer interceptions and an improved defense, he’ll be on the field long enough to make up for those passes.
Matt Ryan 2013 stats: 430 completions out of 600 attempts for 72%. 4, 800 yards, 35 Touchdowns, 9 Interceptions with a quarterback rating of over 100. This Year, I think Matt Ryan finally proves that he is a top 5 quarterback.
What do you think? Will Matty Ice be better, or worse than my prediction?