Jump to content

Bartkowski seeing similarities in Ryan


Wild Bill
 Share

Recommended Posts

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/sports/story/340555.html

Posted on Fri, Jun. 06, 2008

Bartkowski seeing similarities in Ryan

Former Atlanta QB excited with Falcons' pick

BY DAVID CHING - dching@ledger-enquirer.com --

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The slumping Atlanta Falcons of 1975 were fresh off another disappointing season and a coaching change when they drafted a big-name quarterback prospect, hoping he might revitalize the franchise.

Thirty three years later, Steve Bartkowski believes history may be on the verge of repeating itself.

It was Bartkowski whom the Falcons selected with the top overall pick in the 1975 NFL draft after winning only three games and changing coaches midway through the 1974 season.

He repaid the Falcons -- who to that point had experienced only two winning seasons -- by becoming the most prolific passer in franchise history and leading them to their first three postseason appearances.

Bartkowski, who visited Columbus Thursday to speak at Second Harvest Food Bank's Feed Columbus Luncheon, thinks Falcons rookie Matt Ryan has a unique opportunity to become the next... Steve Bartkowski.

"The expectations are certainly on him... . I think we made a really, really wise choice and I think he's gonna be the franchise quarterback for the next 10 years," said Bartkowski, now a member of the franchise's board of advisors.

In fact, he believes Ryan and the Falcons may taste success sooner than the team did when Bartkowski first arrived on the Atlanta pro sports scene.

Although he won NFC Rookie of the Year honors in 1975, Bartkowski's first few seasons in Atlanta were often rocky. After numerous knee injuries and erratic performances, Bartkowski lost his starting job more than once before finally establishing himself in 1978 and leading the Falcons to their first-ever playoff appearance.

Record-setting outings and possibly the most exciting season in franchise history -- the 1980 campaign marked by a nine-game winning streak, Altanta's first division championship and a memorable playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys -- would soon follow.

Bartkowski said the pressure to play immediately isn't on Ryan like it was for him as a rookie, but he believes the Falcons are also closer to being a winning franchise than they were in 1975.

"They're much further along. We've got a lot more players than when I first got to Atlanta," he said. "We're gonna surprise some people this year. We've got to have four or five of the new guys step in and play right away, and be successful playing right away. I'm not so sure that includes Matt, but at some point he'll take the reins and he'll take his shots."

The Falcons spent their No. 3 overall pick in April's draft on the clean-cut Boston College quarterback, hoping he might change the image and fortunes of the franchise. And it's a franchise that will welcome the change.

The 2007 Falcons faced "the most incredible set of circumstances an NFL team has ever seen," Bartkowski said, after superstar quarterback Michael Vick was imprisoned for his role in a dogfighting ring and head coach Bobby Petrino quit 13 games into his first season with the club.

With those circumstances in mind, it's little wonder that the team stumbled to a 4-12 record that resulted in numerous personnel changes -- changes not limited to the players. Team owner Arthur Blank brought in new general manager Thomas Dimitroff and new head coach Mike Smith, as well as an influx of new players through the draft and free agency.

Bartkowski agreed there are parallels between the circumstances facing the team when he was drafted and the position the team currently occupies.

The Falcons were viewed as a somewhat rudderless franchise when they turned to Bartkowski in hopes that he would provide a spark. Likewise, the Falcons now are in desperate need of productive offensive players after Vick's absence left the team in shambles.

"Unfortunately, I think we were building toward a lot of good things and it's amazing how one guy can upset the entire apple cart," Bartkowski said. "But in fact, losing Mike made us realize that we just didn't have a whole lot of good football players around him. That became painfully evident."

The Falcons can only hope that the end result now will be the same with Ryan as it was with Bartkowski, who ranked among the top passers in the NFL in his prime and reached a pair of Pro Bowls before creaky knees derailed his career.

With the new front-office additions and the new faces surrounding Ryan -- like free-agent running back Michael Turner and early draft picks like USC's Sam Baker and Oklahoma's Curtis Lofton -- Bartkowski predicted the Falcons will put their recent troubles behind them.

"It's almost like starting all over again," he said. "It's really almost like a new franchise."

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's great to read this kind of story during the offseason it just feels you with hope. And the fact that its steve bartkowski makes its that much sweeter. I'm looking forward to this I wouldn't mind if we became a dark horse team late in the season pull off a few stunners here and there.

I HATE THE OFFSEASON!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rev AL Sharpton (6/8/2008)
So, Bart can voice that MV had no good players around him...but I'm called a troll, when I say the same things..?:cool:

AL, YOU'VE GOT TO UNDERSTAND ..... THAT'S BART. AIN'T NOBODY GOING TO GO AGAINST BART. NOT ANYONE WHO KNOWS WHO HE IS. I KNOW I WON'T.;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bart was a loser, as were the teams he was a part of.  What's great about that?  What does he know about a franchise with a winning tradition?  he doesn't and neither does any Falcons' fan myself included. What I do know is neither area that this team needs help in was addressed in the draft or free agency.  Maybe they will start to get it right next year starting with that top 5 pick.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

stripedss (6/8/2008)
Bart was a loser, as were the teams he was a part of.  What's great about that?  What does he know about a franchise with a winning tradition?  he doesn't and neither does any Falcons' fan myself included. What I do know is neither area that this team needs help in was addressed in the draft or free agency.  Maybe they will start to get it right next year starting with that top 5 pick.

Wow, sounds like something written by an ignorant troll like easymoney... Bart was the best QB in Falcons history... You obviously haven't been paying attention the last couple of months if you think none of the team's needs have been address in draft/FA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

stripedss (6/8/2008)
Bart was a loser, as were the teams he was a part of.  What's great about that?  What does he know about a franchise with a winning tradition?  he doesn't and neither does any Falcons' fan myself included. What I do know is neither area that this team needs help in was addressed in the draft or free agency.  Maybe they will start to get it right next year starting with that top 5 pick.

WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT YOU? I'LL TELL YOU WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT BART. YOU KNOW OF BART. BART DOESN'T KNOW A DARN THING ABOUT YOU. SO HE'S GOT TO BE SPECIAL IF YOU KNOW HIM. SO WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE YOU?:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

REV.2000 (6/8/2008)
stripedss (6/8/2008)
Bart was a loser, as were the teams he was a part of.  What's great about that?  What does he know about a franchise with a winning tradition?  he doesn't and neither does any Falcons' fan myself included. What I do know is neither area that this team needs help in was addressed in the draft or free agency.  Maybe they will start to get it right next year starting with that top 5 pick.

WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT YOU? I'LL TELL YOU WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT BART. YOU KNOW OF BART. BART DOESN'T KNOW A DARN THING ABOUT YOU. SO HE'S GOT TO BE SPECIAL IF YOU KNOW HIM. SO WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE YOU?:)

On the Atlanta Falcons Messageboard making himself look stupid... :hehe:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...