The strangest thing writing this breakout piece for Matt Ryan is his numbers from a year ago wouldn’t indicate a breakout year because most quarterbacks would consider Ryan’s 2020 numbers a career year. Arthur Smith knows the caliber of quarterback Ryan is, as he noted from the very beginning, pointing him out as one of the players that stuck out immediately in his film review. Smith isn’t the only one in the organization with faith in Matty Ice either; per Tyler Conway, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that they [Falcons] would be comfortable with Ryan as their quarterback past 2021.
Falcons’ quarterback coach Charles London reiterated the expectations he has for Ryan. Via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “He’s entering a scheme that he’s familiar with, but there are some new nuances to it. We want to make sure that he can master some of the new nuances of this offense, but just continue to play at the high level that he’s been playing (at).”
The new staff has the utmost confidence in Ryan as London said, “We studied every drop-back pass, ever play-action pass, everything that Matt did this past year. We thought as a staff that he was still performing at a high level. He could still do everything that was needed to do to run this offense. I look forward to working with him. He has a very unique skill-set.”
Obviously, everyone in the building will have faith in Ryan because they have to, but some outside the organization are noticing. If the offensive line can keep Ryan clean, he will have the opportunity to put up eye-popping numbers, and Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager seems to be all-in on Ryan taking advantage of his new situation.
"I don't think we're going to be underestimating him once we get to Week 8 of the season."
— GMFB (@gmfb) May 18, 2021
Ryan Tannehill is considered by some to be a superior quarterback than Matt Ryan, but he didn’t experience any success until he played in Arthur Smith’s offense. Tannehill’s passer rating with Tennessee has been well over 100 while he never topped 93.5 in a season for the Dolphins. Up to this point, he’s thrown more than one touchdown for every 10 pass attempts with the Titans, compared to one every 15 attempts with the Dolphins, setting a career-high with 33 touchdowns this past season.
When you compare the statistics, according to Stathead.com, of Ryan and Tannehill, it’s apparent the differences in play-calling between the two teams. Matt Ryan finished the year with 407 completions, 626 attempts, 65 percent completion percentage, 4,581 yards, 26 touchdowns, and a 93.3 passer rating. Ryan Tannehill finished the year with 315 completions, 481 attempts, 65 percent completion percentage, 3,819 yards, 33 touchdowns, and a 106.5 passer rating.
To make sense of those numbers, Tannehill posted 12.1 yards per completion compared to Ryan’s 11.2. Add in the fact that the former had seven more touchdowns, and it’s obvious who’s offense was more efficient. Though they’re similar quarterbacks, Arthur Smith knows he’ll have to adjust his scheme to take better advantage of what Ryan does well.
“Matt’s had a lot of success,” Smith said. “Matt’s the ultimate pro. He’s a great leader, and there’s a lot of things he can do. I don’t get into comparisons. Just because we did something with Ryan doesn’t mean that we’re gonna do the same thing with Matt. We’re gonna play to Matt’s strengths just like we tried to play to Ryan’s strengths.”
Matt Ryan thrives throwing intermediate passes in the middle of the field, and the Falcons have a deadly duo at tight end to threaten that part of the field. Ryan’s 2020 numbers aren’t considered bad by any means, but I expect him to post much more efficient numbers in 2021 with Arthur Smith calling and designing plays.