Falcons: National media and peers acknowledge Matt Ryan’s pedigree


I want to preface this piece by saying rankings are arbitrary and don’t really matter; their primary purpose is to entertain. Still, they’re a part of sports, and readers care about them. When other voices are reaffirming these rankings, that is when it gets interesting. This specific piece highlights Matt Ryan‘s pedigree once again, as I have done so many times before. This isn’t some fan writing; I grew up a Packers fan, so I am talking from a unbiased place.

Ryan has continually been praised by the new regime. There are countless examples — one of Arthur Smith’s first press conferences when he named him as one of the players that stood out during his film review, Terry Fontenot stating that from the very beginning they had confidence in him, Smith telling Sean McVay and Peter Schrager on their podcast that he was a big factor in his decision to come to Atlanta, Charles London telling D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Ryan is still performing at a high level and he’s able to do everything the staff needs to run the offense — the praise goes on. Most recently, Dave Ragone said that Ryan is exactly what you want in a franchise quarterback. 

Continuing to Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton’s quarterback rankings, which slotted Ryan as the seventh-best in the league. Seventh is a bit rich for my taste, but it makes more sense when you hear Moton’s criteria. He ranked each quarterback, emphasizing production over the past three seasons and outlook for the 2021 season, signal-callers, and overall supporting cast — i.e., offensive line, skill players, etc.


Going into his 14th NFL season, Matt Ryan hasn’t shown any major signs of decline. He’s a high-end second-tier quarterback who can still move the ball through the air at will.

Ryan has now eclipsed 4,000 passing yards in 10 consecutive campaigns. He led the league in completions for each of the past two years.

The Atlanta Falcons traded top wideout Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans in June, but Calvin Ridley had a strong third year, hauling in a career-high 90 passes for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns. Ryan also built a strong rapport with Russell Gage, who caught 72 passes for 786 yards and four touchdowns last season.

New Falcons head coach Arthur Smith has experience as a tight ends coach, which should well for rookie first-rounder Kyle Pitts, too.

The Florida product is listed as a tight end, but he could line up out wide and beat cornerbacks in one-on-one matchups. Smith could turn him into an immediate star to lessen the blow of losing Jones.

We never know how a shift in offensive philosophy will affect a quarterback, but Smith turned Ryan Tannehill‘s career around and put wideout A.J. Brown in a position to produce big plays. Ryan should have a productive year with Ridley, Gage and Pitts. And unlike Dak Prescott, he isn’t entering the season with any injury issues.

I don’t care whether Matt Ryan gets into the Hall of Fame or not; this isn’t to attack or defend the polarizing views Falcons fans have for him. It is simply to say he is still valuable to this team; Ryan might be 36-years-old, but he’s still capable of leading a team to the playoffs. There shouldn’t be any arguments about whether or not he is at the very least a borderline top ten quarterback in this league, which is enough to lead a competent roster and staff. Whether the Falcons have that is reasonable to question, though,

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