Atlanta Falcons: What’s next for Matt Ryan?

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Dec 6, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) looks down after throwing an interception during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay defeated Atlanta 23-19. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

5. What’s next for Matt Ryan?

Matt Ryan is clearly struggling, and has been for most of the year. You can even go back to the Week 1 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Ryan threw two picks that night, one while trying to find Roddy White in the end zone, the other from deep in Atlanta territory which set up an Eagles touchdown.

Is it the system? Is it confidence? Vaughn McClure of ESPN reported Ryan has been ‘overwhelmed’ at times by the playbook.

"“The word is that Ryan has raised his voice and his offensive concerns behind closed doors. He also has admitted to being a little overwhelmed by the playbook at times, although publicly Ryan continues to talk about how there is a transition period with any new offense.”"

Ryan hasn’t become a bad player overnight; he’s a better player than the one we have seen on the field for much of the season. But as I wrote earlier, the Falcons need to help him find his feet again. If he needs to throw screens and hand the football off often in order to establish some rhythm, then so be it. Whatever it takes. 

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I don’t know the solution, and right now the Falcons clearly don’t either. If they did, the consistent problems wouldn’t keep arising. All I know is the answer isn’t to replace Ryan, and I believe that for a few reasons.

First, Ryan is a talented quarterback. The fact is there are 32 NFL teams, but there aren’t 32 starting caliber quarterbacks to go around. The Falcons have one, and they need to keep him. How many teams would love to have Matt Ryan? I can think of many.

The other reason is finding a replacement. If the Green Bay Packers approach the Falcons offering a straight swap with Ryan and Aaron Rodgers, then sure I’m all for it. But until that day comes, the Falcons shouldn’t be searching for a replacement.