Why should the Falcons keep Matt Ryan?
This week, the Falcons found the most creative way to lose while leading in the fourth quarter as Todd Gurley accidentally scores (who even knew that was a thing? I sure didn’t!) but leaves too much time on the clock for the Lions offense to manhandle the Falcons defense. Like many other 2020 games, there was a 98+% chance for a Falcons victory at one point, and yet they now sit 1-6.
I’m going to tell you something you’re not used to hearing at cookouts, watch parties, and football discussions at work. This is a good Falcons team. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones do not need to go anywhere. (My dad, who’s Ryan jersey has been banished to the floor of his closet, just stopped reading this.) I get it, I do. Falcons fans are angry, hurt, disappointed and want to put the blame somewhere, but the truth is Matt Ryan is not the problem. The two black holes plaguing this team right now are an underperforming defense and Dirk Koetter.
Dirk Koetter has been an offensive coordinator for the Falcons twice (2012-2014 under Mike Smith, and 2019-present under Dan Quinn and Raheem Morris). Let’s face it, the last few years of the Mike Smith era, the Falcons looked a lot like they do now. Dirk Koetter’s offenses in Atlanta have only succeeded against absolute trash defenses and otherwise cannot move the ball unless star players make outstanding plays. If that doesn’t convince you, his NFL career record is 19-29. Lastly, Koetter is responsible for plays such as running the ball on 2nd and 13 versus the Lions in addition to passing the ball six straight times with a double-digit lead against the Bears.
The defensive problems are mainly in the secondary as it seems any average joe quarterback can pick them apart at will. Some of the issues this season have come from a wave of injuries that left the Falcons constantly adapting to different combinations of players. Don’t get me wrong; this team has some killers on defense, but there are definitely missing pieces that need to be addressed with the Falcons inevitable early draft picks.
I said all of the above to say this, Matt Ryan is still worthy of being the franchise QB. Look at his average stats from this season:
27 completions in 41 attempts (65%)
308 yards passing
2 passing TDs
In three different games this year, he has thrown for over 300 yards and has two games with four passing touchdowns.
This season, Matt Ryan leads the league in passing yards even though he is 13th in TDs and QBR. Lastly, just to reconvince myself that he is not the problem, I watched the highlight reel of his throws from the Superbowl against the Patriots followed by his highlight reel against Detroit this past week.
For all of the Matt Ryan doubters out there, his timing is the same, he has not lost his Mojo, he is still championship material. If the Falcons want to win, they need to fire Dirk Koetter, hire a new head coach to light a fire under the team, load the defense in the draft, and keep Matt Ryan.