There are many positions the Falcons must improve at if they’re to truly maximize Matt Ryan‘s latter years. On the defensive side of the ball, Dean Pees could use an influx of talent at safety, cornerback, interior linemen, and edge defenders. Nearly the entire unit needs upgrading. On the offensive side, the offensive line and receiving core needs addressing.
Terry Fontenot doesn’t have the cap space to bring in enough players to fill those voids, so he’ll have to decide where to spend the Falcons’ precious money. Ryan has been clear where he feels offenses need to invest — the big uglies up front. And it is easy to understand why the veteran quarterback feels that way.
Through his first ten seasons in the league, Ryan was sacked more than 40 times in a season just once — 2013. In his other four most recent seasons, Ryan has been sacked 40 or more times. From 2018 to 2021, he’s been sacked 171 times… which is jarring.
In that same period, Ryan was hit as much as any quarterback in the league. He’s absorbed 264 quarterback hits in the past four seasons, 84 QB hits coming in 2021. That is awful. Of course, he will feel like the offensive line is more important than wide receivers.
Well, here’s one more statistic that shows how tough Matt Ryan truly is — no quarterback has had more roughing the passer calls since 2010 than him.
It is obvious the Falcons need to protect their quarterback better if they want to extend his career in Atlanta. There is a bevy of reasons why he’s hit so much, though. Underwhelming protection, poor play design and execution, as well as Ryan’s tendency to sometimes hold the ball too long all contribute to Ryan taking a beating every year. The Falcons have to improve these areas to maximize Ryan’s final years.
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