It isn’t a secret that Matt Ryan has had his share of offensive coordinators since the Atlanta Falcons selected him 3rd in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Since the Atlanta Falcons drafted Matt Ryan, he has had four offensive coordinators. three of whom, Mike Mularkey, Dirk Koetter and Kyle Shanahan have gone on to be head coaches in the NFL.
Steve Sarkisian is the lone wolf who has not became a head coach but I’d imagine most Falcons fans believe that Sarkisian should not have been the Offensive Coordinator here to begin with.
Ryan typically struggles in his first year with a new Offensive Coordinator.
Like many QB’s, Ryan’s play does seem to squander in his first year with his new OC. Ryan did win that MVP with Shanahan in 2016 but we all remember that very first season under Shanahan when people were calling for his head. We all remember that year, Ryan threw just 21 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
The same could also be said for Ryan’s first season under Steve Sarkisian, when he completely fell off of his MVP caliber of play, when he threw for just 20 touchdowns. Ryan’s first season under Mularkey, Ryan was obviously a rookie so he gets the benefit of the doubt there.
However, what if I told you that there was a coordinator that Ryan did not initially struggle with?
How did Ryan do with Koetter year one?
It may come as a surprise, but Ryan didn’t seem to have that struggle with Dirk Koetter early on. If anything, his play elevated. Ryan’s completion % actually grew to 68% after being a respectable 61% the season prior to the first stint with Koetter. That 68% is still a career high for Ryan, he also threw for 32 touchdowns, a mark that was a career high until his MVP year in 2016.
Ryan’s year by year touchdown mark under Koetter was 32, 26 and 28, which statistically is the best three season stretch of Ryan’s career under the same coordinator. We all know the historic season under Shanahan in 2016, but people forget that in 2012 Ryan delivered a huge season despite the lack of a run game along with injuries to the skill positions.
Why to expect even more improvement.
As previously mentioned, Ryan had an exceptional three year stint with Dirk Koetter. Ryan is now more polished and at the top of his game and has a better feel for the game; not to mention, the weapons.
Sure, 2012 he had Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. However, one could argue that this Julio, Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu and Devonta Freeman are better than what he had in 2012.
Julio is light years more developed, while Ridley and Sanu aren’t Tony Gonzalez they spread the field better and are better play makers in the passing game and Freeman, barring injury, will be more productive than Michael Turner..
This may very well be one of the better defenses that Atlanta has ever had backing them up. That defense in 2012 was fun to watch, however this team top to bottom is better than 2012.
Lastly, it also doesn’t hurt that the Falcons have another coach that Ryan is familiar with, tight ends coach Mike Mularkey, who was Ryan’s offensive coordinator his first three seasons in the NFL.