This week’s news cycle will be dominated by Atlanta’s offensive line and Matt Ryan’s poor play. The offensive front will likely struggle for most of the year, but I doubt the veteran quarterback struggles how he did for the rest of the season. According to PFF, Ryan wasn’t responsible for a single one of the sacks, hits, hurries, or pressures he faced against the Eagles.
Even nuttier: PFF concluded that LG (Mayfield and Dalman, but mostly Mayfield) and RT (McGary) bore at least some responsibility for 92.8% of the pressure Ryan faced.
— Andrew Hirsh (@andrewhirsh) September 13, 2021
What this essentially means is that the Falcons offensive line was porous, not Ryan sliding into defenders and sacking himself. Sometimes mobile quarterbacks are credited with a hit or pressure because they held the ball too long or scramble into an opposing defender. That wasn’t the case here. Essentially, this highlights the Falcons problems that Ryan has faced his entire career — bad offensive line play.
Drafting Justin Fields wouldn’t have solved those problems; the buck stops in the trenches. Two particular positions clearly struggled against the Eagles — Right Tackle and Left Guard.
The solution seems obvious: the offensive line needs bolstering. That isn’t to say the group won’t mesh and improve throughout the season, but this group is clearly not ready to compete in the playoffs, which is always the ultimate goal. Jake Matthews and Chris Lindstrom are solid starters. Kaleb McGary and Matt Hennessy need to improve. Whoever starts at left guard needs to do a complete 180. Matt Ryan isn’t an elite quarterback, but he certainly isn’t the problem.