Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Falcons had one of their most disappointing seasons in team history this past year. That much we all know. What we can do now is start to evaluate where the team is at, and how they can get back to contending for the Super Bowl right away.
One hard truth in life is that you can’t move forward until you’ve taken a long, hard look at where you’ve been. Without this kind of self-evaluation, you’re dooming yourself to make the same mistakes that have held you back in the past. The same thing goes for the Falcons. They need to take a long, hard look at themselves and see what is working, and where they need to improve.
Well, since I’m pretty sure the Falcons are already doing that, we’re going to help them out and do some evaluations in the next couple of weeks. Now that the season is over, it’s time to take a moment to take stock of where we are, and where we need to be. We’ll go through each position group, starting with the quarterbacks. Come back in the next couple of weeks for regular installments featuring the rest of the team.
Current Roster –
Matt Ryan, Dominique Davis, Sean Renfree (IR), Seth Doege (Practice Squad)
2013 Position Grade: B+
Sure, I know that Matt Ryan was a little disappointing this season, but I cut him a lot of slack because most of it wasn’t his fault. The issues with the offensive line have been well documented, and it’s pretty tough to make plays when you have no time to throw and your best playmakers are constantly injured and on the sidelines.
Ryan had a difficult year to put in perspective statistically. On one hand, he had his second best year as a Falcon when it comes to completion percentage and total yards, but he also had his most interceptions ever. I think that the total yardage can be attributed to throwing alot when the team was down, he also had the most passing attempts of his career in 2013. The interceptions can also be written off because of the lack of pass protection, and even the 17 he threw isn’t a terrible number.
Overall, the statistic that is most telling to me is the 67.4% completion percentage, barely behind the 68.6% he posted as a career high in 2012. That number ranked him fourth in the league last season, an impressive number considering all the obstacles he faced.
The final chapter on Matt Ryan has yet to be written. We know he’s a good NFL quarterback, what we don’t know is if he has it in him to be an elite one. Only time will tell, but I think he does.
As for the backups, I think the Falcons could use some improvement here. Dominique Davis has yet to show any real signs of having a future as a starting NFL quarterback. When you already know you have your franchise quarterback on the roster, there are really only two reasons to keep someone around as a backup. Either they are a proven veteran who can step in and win games in case of an injury, or they’re a young player who you hope can show enough potential to get you something in a trade.
Davis doesn’t fit into either of those categories. The Falcons have too many other needs to spend a draft pick on a young player with potential, but they would be wise to look for a veteran backup in free agency to being into camp in case the weak offensive line finally gets Ryan injured.
Overall, quarterback is one of the strongest positions on the team. You really only need a single good one, and Atlanta has their franchise signal caller in Matt Ryan. They could use some work on their depth, but really if Ryan goes down not much else will matter with this team.