The Atlanta Falcons should consider benching Matt Ryan
After the Atlanta Falcons lost to San Francisco 31-13 the Falcons season is essentially over. While they are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs this loss almost assuredly eliminates Atlanta. With far too many teams in front of them and only three games left in the season, it is time to turn their attention to the off-season.
With this in mind, Atlanta should consider benching veteran quarterback Matt Ryan once they are officially eliminated from contention. Ryan took hit after hit on Sunday as his offensive line seemed content to block nothing but the air in front of them.
Ryan took three scary hits that had much bigger defensive linemen landing on top of him. Every time Ryan peeled himself off the turf and tried to make another play. This offensive line was bullied there is no way around it San Francisco has a capable defensive front and bullied Atlanta on every snap.
Matt Ryan is paying the price for the Atlanta Falcons inability to protect the veteran or provide consistent weapons
Ryan took so much punishment the Falcons offense was reduced to jump balls to Russell Gage or tight window throws to Kyle Pitts. Those two players helped keep the offense moving before every drive seemingly ended deep in 49ers territory.
Matt Ryan finished the game 19/32 for 236-yards and a single touchdown to go along with 20-rushing yards. Ryan played a solid game that never had a chance due to his offensive line that needs to be completely rebuilt.
There is one thing Atlanta should do that they simply won’t, bench Matt Ryan. With three games left on the season, what is Atlanta playing for? Development and draft positioning are the most interesting elements left on Atlanta’s season.
Why should Atlanta allow Ryan to put more miles on his arm and risk a career-altering hit? The fact Ryan is still upright and healthy speaks to his toughness and ability to take hit after hit behind an Atlanta offensive line that needs to be rebuilt.
Josh Rosen and Feleipe Franks are both younger and more mobile than Matt Ryan at this point in their careers. This isn’t to compare either quarterback to Ryan who is a far superior quarterback in every way, however, this is a move not to improve the team but to protect Ryan and build towards next season.
What would it hurt to put Franks or Rosen in and see what they can do? Granted it will likely be uglier than anything we have seen so far this season but Matt Ryan will be healthy and Atlanta can focus on evaluating their roster.
Benching Ryan has nothing to do with his play and everything to do with protecting a veteran that this team is going to need next season. Why should Atlanta put Ryan in meaningless football games? Games that risk Ryan’s health and ability when you look at the success pass rushers have had against Atlanta this season.
Arthur Smith has this team headed in the right direction but has a long way to go with a talent-challenged roster.
Atlanta is unlikely to consider benching Ryan but it is a move they should make to protect next season. Ryan is still a good quarterback who can win with a good receiver and a capable offensive line two things this roster lacks.