Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Vic Beasley were all named to the AP All-Pro Team on Friday. That’s All-Pro ‘First Team’ for Matt Ryan and not Brady or Rodgers.
It came as no surprise to see a trio of Atlanta Falcons headline the AP All-Pro first team. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Vic Beasley were nothing short of fantastic this season and will have more hardware to show for it. If all goes as planned, there’s more trophies on the way. Of course the Atlanta Falcons have had a spot cleared for that Lombardi Trophy for quite some time.
More validation to Matt Ryan’s MVP campaign
Matt Ryan’s first team selection over Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers further validates his claim to the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award. It was definitely a win for those of us who continue debating the ‘Ryan haters’ and ‘Brady and Rodgers homers’ thru social media. ESPN’s Michael Wilbon has been one particular social media renegade to waste time discrediting Matt Ryan via Twitter.
If it were up to Wilbon, we’d just crown Tom Brady the NFL’s Most Valuable Player forever. If I had to guess, it wasn’t long ago when Wilbon trashed Matt Ryan as a starting quarterback. Ryan obviously proved him (and many others) wrong and now Wilbon would rather twist logic than eat crow.
In any event, the “Matt Ryan for MVP” campaign also got another boost big from former MVP Kurt Warner:
Julio Jones doesn’t need all 16 games to shine
I have a ton of ‘bro-love’ for Julio Jones, both as a Falcons’ supporter and fellow Alabama alumnus. I’ll admit the AP All-Pro selection was a little bit of a surprise, but only because Atlanta’s offense produced without as many Julio splash-plays. But what does that say about the Falcons incorporating so many different receivers and yet Julio is still on top? Better yet, what does that say about Julio’s impact despite a reduced workload? He missed two games, saw limited snaps in two others, and still outperformed virtually all other receivers in the NFL.
We see and hear an awful lot about Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown, but in my opinion, Julio Jones remains the best at the position.
Vic Beasley: Ferocious but modest
We’ve given Vic Beasley a ton of love on Blogging Dirty in recent weeks and it’s all well-deserved attention. Beasley is extremely talented and living up to the defensive difference-maker the Falcons once drafted 8th overall. What I have grown love most about Beasley is how humble he remains during this breakout season. Surf his Twitter and he gives constant thanks to the fans and his supporters. Many of these same fans and supporters were the one’s labeling Beasley a “bust” before the season began.
Second team selection for Alex Mack
Congratulations are also in order to Alex Mack on his selection to the AP All-Pro second team. A cast-off from the Cleveland Browns, Mack has been every bit as important to Atlanta’s offense as Ryan or Jones this season. Pro Football Focus also put Mack on their All-Pro second team, but rank him a half-point better than their first team center in Travis Frederick. Frederick is another extremely talented center, but I’d argue he gets the slight edge only because of that Cowboys’ popularity.
Mack should remain a staple in the Falcons’ offense moving forward. Should Kyle Shanahan take a promotion, I would hope Atlanta’s next offensive coordinator sticks with the zone blocking scheme that has been so good this season.