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  1. On mobile and wasn’t able to quote the artical properly, but many of us already knew MR2 was elite https://www.profootballnetwork.com/atlanta-falcons-matt-ryan-elite-qb/ “Atlanta Falcons‘ quarterback Matt Ryan is underrated. But the way in which he has been underrated is strange. It’s not that people think that he’s bad. But most would stop short of calling him elite. Doing a quick google search for “NFL quarterback rankings” reveals that this is more than just a common intuition. Ryan is consistently ranked somewhere between sixth and tenth overall; a good quarterback, but not a great one. And I think that’s pretty unfair. Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, for example, lists the Atlanta Falcons’ starter as the NFL’s eighth-best quarterback last season, behind Jared Goff, who in my mind was and is clearly an inferior player. And I’m not trying to suggest that Goff is a bad quarterback. But ranking him above Ryan significantly undervalues what the latter quarterback has accomplished over the last several years. Matt Ryan is rarely bad, and in recent years he has often been great One thing that even Ryan’s critics agree upon is that he is incredibly consistent from season to season. He has never thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, and he hasn’t thrown fewer than 20 touchdowns since his rookie season. He has also had at least 4,000 passing yards in each of the last eight seasons. Even during his worst seasons, Ryan is still capable of putting up big numbers. And when he and the Falcons are firing on all cylinders, their offense is virtually unstoppable. During his 2016 MVP season, Ryan was at the helm of the best offense in the NFL, ranked first in points per game and second in yards per game. And his personal statistics were excellent as well. He threw for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions. Even though the team underperformed, Ryan still played well last season Matt Ryan’s incredible MVP season was just three years ago. And because Atlanta hasn’t matched that level of success as a team in the two years since, some people seem to have written Ryan’s statistics off as something of a fluke. But in reality, his overall production has changed very little. Last season, for example, did not go very well for the Atlanta Falcons. But it’s difficult to blame Ryan for this failure because statistically, he had one of the best seasons of his career. His 4,924 yards and 35 touchdowns through the air were surpassed only by that aforementioned 2016 MVP season. Ryan also tied his career-low from that season with seven interceptions. The season prior was a bit of a down year for him personally, but that still makes two times in three years in which Ryan put up elite numbers. Compared to other quarterbacks, Ryan was largely responsible for his own success But statistical success doesn’t necessarily represent a player’s individual skill level. Maybe you think that Ryan’s statistics are the product of his offensive system, or are overly influenced by the fact that he gets to throw to Julio Jones, one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. In fact, the Atlanta Falcons have, arguably, the best wide receiver trio in the NFL with Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Mohamed Sanu. And while those are certainly factors in his success, it once again unfairly diminishes the things that Ryan has accomplished during his Atlanta Falcons career to focus solely on them. It is important to examine how he played in a vacuum, ignoring those mitigating factors. The Pro Football Network Offensive Share Metric (OSM) grades allow us to examine Ryan’s performance in this way. The system takes into account only factors that an individual player could control, such as air yards or completion probability. And if you look purely at his OSM grades, Matt Ryan was arguably the best player in the NFL over the last three seasons. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but it really isn’t. Last season, Ryan had the fourth-best grade of any quarterback with 30.3. That is already an excellent grade, one that implies that, relative to other quarterbacks in the NFL, he was critical to the success of his offense last season. However, Ryan’s 2018 grade was actually lower than how he scored in prior seasons. Matt Ryan’s 2016 and 2017 OSM grades were unbelievable In 2017, a relatively poor year for Ryan statistically, he performed even better on this metric. “Even better” is a bit of an understatement though, since his 2017 grade was 50.48, a full 20 points higher than last season, and around 14 points higher than the highest grade received by any quarterback in 2018. And during his 2016 MVP season, he did even better, receiving the completely ludicrous grade of 58.38. For some context, that is the highest grade received by any player from 2016-2018, regardless of position. That is particularly impressive because quarterback grades tend to be lower on average. More than any other player during that three-year period, Ryan was able to maximize every opportunity presented to him. While this does not necessarily indicate that he was the best player in the NFL at any given time, it does show somewhat definitively that Ryan’s statistics were largely of his own making. It is time to stop underrating Matt Ryan The goal of this article is not to say that Ryan is the best quarterback in the NFL. But I think he deserves to be in that conversation, and he almost never is. As I said at the beginning of this article, the way people view him is somewhat confusing. They don’t think he is on the same level as other supposed “good-not-great” quarterbacks like Dak Prescott, but at the same time, they are unwilling to put him in the same category as players like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. Maybe if the Atlanta Falcons had held on to their 28-3 lead over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI Ryan would be classified as elite. Maybe not. It almost seems as though he is in a tier of his own, somewhere in between “pretty good” and “elite.” But when you take a closer look, it rapidly becomes apparent just how good he has been in recent years. And I think it’s high time that he gets the recognition he deserves.”
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