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Mark Bradley: Falcons had a losing season. Matt Ryan wasn't blameless


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Mark Bradley: Falcons had a losing season.  Matt Ryan wasn't blameless

There’s something else we need to discuss before we let go of the 2019 Falcons.
That something — technically a someone — is Matt Ryan.

By his standards, he had a lesser season. Yeah, he threw for 4,466 yards, but let’s be clear: If you’re a decent quarterback who stays healthy and has Julio Jones at your disposal, you’ll always rack up yardage. (Know who led the NFL in passing yardage? Jameis Winston. We say no more.) 

Ryan ranked 14th in passer rating and quarterback rating. (They’re slightly different; stat mavens tend to favor the latter.) His passer rating of 92.1 wasn’t far off his career average of 94.6. His QBR was the worst of a 12-year career. And here we add the obvious: When next Ryan throws a competitive pass, he’ll be 35. 

In the main, the 2019 season wasn’t kind to quarterbacks who’ve built a case for Canton enshrinement. Tom Brady, the best ever, finished 19th in passer rating, 16th in QBR. Aaron Rodgers, the most gifted quarterback ever, finished 12th and 20th. Ben Roethlisberger lasted two games. Drew Brees missed five starts and, headed into December, looked every bit his age, which is 40, prompting this correspondent to declare him all but done. Whereupon he had a mammoth final month and wound up second in passer rating, third in QBR. (Showed me, huh?) 

In the post-Peyton Manning era of quarterbacking, those are the Hall of Fame locks. They have 10 Super Bowl victories among them. (Six of those are Brady’s.) Ryan has never quite ascended to Tier 1 among QBs, his 2016 MVP season notwithstanding. For years, he has hovered near the top of Tier 2, other occupants being Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. E. Manning, who’s 38, was benched this season and is poised to take his two Super Bowl rings and retire. Rivers is an intriguing case study. 

He’s the best quarterback of this century not to reach a Super Bowl. His 2018 season, in which he led the Chargers to 12-4, was among his finest. The season just completed marked a nadir. He still threw for 4,615 yards, but he finished 17th in passer rating and 22nd in QBR. Rivers turned 38 on Dec. 8, and his contract is set to lapse. A Charger for life, he might be upping sticks soon.

For as much as Ryan has been likened to Brees, I’ve lately come to think of him as more of the Rivers of the East. Rivers is older — he entered the NFL in 2004; Ryan arrived in 2008 — but check these career numbers. 

• Completion percentage: Rivers 64.7; Ryan 65.4. 
• Touchdown percentage: Rivers 5.2; Ryan 4.7. 
• Interception percentage: Rivers 2.6; Ryan 2.2. 
• Yards per attempt: Rivers 7.8; Ryan 7.5. 
• Winning percentage as starter: Rivers .549; Ryan .577. 
• Passer rating: Rivers 95.1; Ryan 94.6. 
• Game-winning drives: Rivers 32; Ryan 38. 
• Fourth-quarter comebacks: Rivers 27; Ryan 30. 
• Pro Bowls: Rivers eight; Ryan four. 
• Playoff games: Rivers 11, Ryan 10. 
• Playoff seasons: Rivers six, Ryan six. 

If you’re asking which career I’d pick as superior, I’d say Ryan’s — he has taken the Falcons to the Super Bowl and won an MVP — but it’s close. That closeness is why Rivers’ regression scares me. 

A zillion things went wrong for the Falcons’ offense in 2019: The running game fizzled again; the reconfigured line never coalesced; Mohamed Sanu got traded; Calvin Ridley got hurt. But Ryan wasn’t blameless. He was sacked 48 times, which tied for the league high and marked a career worst. His 14 interceptions tied for the NFL’s sixth-most. 

Going by Football Outsiders’ DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) ratings, the Falcons’ offense was the league’s 15th-best. That’s a drop from the eighth of last season, which also saw the Falcons finish 7-9. It’s their lowest offensive ranking since 2007, when Ryan was a Boston College senior. 

In the 2016 Football Outsiders Almanac, Rivers McCown wrote of Ryan: “We’re inclined to be skeptical that Ryan’s skill went down a level (in 2015), but non-elite quarterbacks don’t tend to have pretty ends.” The 2016 season, we note, saw Ryan named MVP. 

I’ve been watching the man long enough to know that you discount Matty Ice at your peril. He was far from the worst thing about the 2019 Falcons, but he wasn’t great, either. And we say again: He’ll turn 35 in May.

Going bigger-picture, the 2019 season makes us wonder if the order of quarterbacks just underwent a seismic change. The quarterbacks who led their teams to playoff byes are Lamar Jackson, who’s 22; Patrick Mahomes, 24; Jimmy Garoppolo, 28 — and Rodgers, who at 37 didn’t crack the top 10 in yards passing. 

I’m not saying the Falcons should dump Ryan and trade up to draft Joe Burrow. (Though I like Joe Burrow a lot.) What I am saying is that the Falcons have made the playoffs twice over the past seven seasons, a span that has seen Ryan start every game save one.

Is he the best quarterback in team history? Absolutely. Does he fit the description of “franchise quarterback”? Without question. Is he apt to be as good again as in 2016, when Kyle Shanahan was calling the tune? Feel free to discuss among yourselves.

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I'd take Jordan Love to train up under him...except he's skyrocketing up draft boards to the point I don't think he'll even be there at 16. Don't see anyone who'll be there in the 2nd that's worth the pick. I really do want us to look into his heir apparent, but as much as that's the case, he's just so far down the Falcons list of problems. He's good enough to win with.

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4 minutes ago, philosophico said:

Translation, Matt Ryan has peaked and is set for a slow steady decline into mediocrity as he gets older. In other words the falcons wasted his and Julio's best years.

Not yet, but it's getting close.  It's why coaching is even more critical now at this point in his career.  Matt can be hugely productive for several more years, as Philip was, but the offense needs to be adjusted to him and not the other way around.

OLine needs to improve.  Run game needs to improve.  No more 50 attempt games.  Matt would thrive.  It's the main reason I wanted DK gone because what needs to happen isn't his strength.

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4 minutes ago, Schwarzwald said:

What’s funny is Ryan had a better season than Rodgers.

Almost like if the Defense showed up in week 1 instead of week 10...this wouldn’t be an article on trying to air it out to be competitive or just to be Dirk’d...

:)

Well, in this case, GB actually had a stout running game this year so they didn't have to have Rodgers throwing the ball 40+ times a game. 

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1 minute ago, falconfansince66 said:

Well, in this case, GB actually had a stout running game this year so they didn't have to have Rodgers throwing the ball 40+ times a game. 

I mentioned before, when GB went to and won the Super Bowl with Rodgers, he threw it over 30 a game only a handful of times.

One of them was when they boat raced us in the playoffs.  Most of the rest were losses by GB.

Running the ball is a serious thing in the NFL, and the sooner OCs figure that out, the better their teams will be.  I'm looking at you Dirk Koetter.

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1 minute ago, JDaveG said:

I mentioned before, when GB went to and won the Super Bowl with Rodgers, he threw it over 30 a game only a handful of times.

One of them was when they boat raced us in the playoffs.  Most of the rest were losses by GB.

Running the ball is a serious thing in the NFL, and the sooner OCs figure that out, the better their teams will be.  I'm looking at you Dirk Koetter.

The stat I saw earlier this year was Matt was like 40-7 when attempting fewer than 30 attempts per game, though I do not recall the exact record.  OL, run game, defense.  Three huge factors.  Three huge problems during Matt's entire career.  What's funny is those three areas should be fixed regardless of who is taking snaps...win those three areas, we would be perennial contenders.  

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1 hour ago, falconfansince66 said:

Well, in this case, GB actually had a stout running game this year so they didn't have to have Rodgers throwing the ball 40+ times a game. 

 

59 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

I mentioned before, when GB went to and won the Super Bowl with Rodgers, he threw it over 30 a game only a handful of times.

One of them was when they boat raced us in the playoffs.  Most of the rest were losses by GB.

Running the ball is a serious thing in the NFL, and the sooner OCs figure that out, the better their teams will be.  I'm looking at you Dirk Koetter.

 

56 minutes ago, sluggo said:

Actually, pretty good stats for a guy playing so much on his back. How much of an uptick in his numbers would he have if he simply had a better O-line??

 

56 minutes ago, athell said:

The stat I saw earlier this year was Matt was like 40-7 when attempting fewer than 30 attempts per game, though I do not recall the exact record.  OL, run game, defense.  Three huge factors.  Three huge problems during Matt's entire career.  What's funny is those three areas should be fixed regardless of who is taking snaps...win those three areas, we would be perennial contenders.  

 

56 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1969 said:

What a stupid article. So because Ryan and rivers have similar stats that means they're going to regress the same?? Pretty sure stats have absolutely zero to do with that. The players that play later in their careers take care of themselves better. 

Shallow article at best.

Ryan has shown no signs of slowing down from a physical standpoint. It’s been coaching decline.

Imagine if Brees had a lame defensive HC and a new OC/system for 3 out of the last 4 seasons.

Think he’d hum along being the only threat on the team; no run game/defense or high end play caller?

Nah, he’s just a fountain of youth at age 40.:wiggle::mmmhmm:

EDIT: Forgot to mention Brees makes Michael Thomases and Kamaras; Ryan is made by Julios and Shannys :slick:

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27 minutes ago, philosophico said:

Translation, Matt Ryan has peaked and is set for a slow steady decline into mediocrity as he gets older. In other words the falcons wasted his and Julio's best years.

We need to get Matt an o-Line and running game. Rivers has had a bad o-Line for a while now, and their run game is okay mainly because Gordon is just good, but the blocking isn’t great. Look at the saints, Brees is as good as he still because they actually built one of the best o-lines and have/had one of the best run games the last few years. 

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47 minutes ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

Mark Bradley: Falcons had a losing season.  Matt Ryan wasn't blameless

There’s something else we need to discuss before we let go of the 2019 Falcons.
That something — technically a someone — is Matt Ryan.

By his standards, he had a lesser season. Yeah, he threw for 4,466 yards, but let’s be clear: If you’re a decent quarterback who stays healthy and has Julio Jones at your disposal, you’ll always rack up yardage. (Know who led the NFL in passing yardage? Jameis Winston. We say no more.) 

Ryan ranked 14th in passer rating and quarterback rating. (They’re slightly different; stat mavens tend to favor the latter.) His passer rating of 92.1 wasn’t far off his career average of 94.6. His QBR was the worst of a 12-year career. And here we add the obvious: When next Ryan throws a competitive pass, he’ll be 35. 

In the main, the 2019 season wasn’t kind to quarterbacks who’ve built a case for Canton enshrinement. Tom Brady, the best ever, finished 19th in passer rating, 16th in QBR. Aaron Rodgers, the most gifted quarterback ever, finished 12th and 20th. Ben Roethlisberger lasted two games. Drew Brees missed five starts and, headed into December, looked every bit his age, which is 40, prompting this correspondent to declare him all but done. Whereupon he had a mammoth final month and wound up second in passer rating, third in QBR. (Showed me, huh?) 

In the post-Peyton Manning era of quarterbacking, those are the Hall of Fame locks. They have 10 Super Bowl victories among them. (Six of those are Brady’s.) Ryan has never quite ascended to Tier 1 among QBs, his 2016 MVP season notwithstanding. For years, he has hovered near the top of Tier 2, other occupants being Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. E. Manning, who’s 38, was benched this season and is poised to take his two Super Bowl rings and retire. Rivers is an intriguing case study. 

He’s the best quarterback of this century not to reach a Super Bowl. His 2018 season, in which he led the Chargers to 12-4, was among his finest. The season just completed marked a nadir. He still threw for 4,615 yards, but he finished 17th in passer rating and 22nd in QBR. Rivers turned 38 on Dec. 8, and his contract is set to lapse. A Charger for life, he might be upping sticks soon.

For as much as Ryan has been likened to Brees, I’ve lately come to think of him as more of the Rivers of the East. Rivers is older — he entered the NFL in 2004; Ryan arrived in 2008 — but check these career numbers. 

• Completion percentage: Rivers 64.7; Ryan 65.4. 
• Touchdown percentage: Rivers 5.2; Ryan 4.7. 
• Interception percentage: Rivers 2.6; Ryan 2.2. 
• Yards per attempt: Rivers 7.8; Ryan 7.5. 
• Winning percentage as starter: Rivers .549; Ryan .577. 
• Passer rating: Rivers 95.1; Ryan 94.6. 
• Game-winning drives: Rivers 32; Ryan 38. 
• Fourth-quarter comebacks: Rivers 27; Ryan 30. 
• Pro Bowls: Rivers eight; Ryan four. 
• Playoff games: Rivers 11, Ryan 10. 
• Playoff seasons: Rivers six, Ryan six. 

If you’re asking which career I’d pick as superior, I’d say Ryan’s — he has taken the Falcons to the Super Bowl and won an MVP — but it’s close. That closeness is why Rivers’ regression scares me. 

A zillion things went wrong for the Falcons’ offense in 2019: The running game fizzled again; the reconfigured line never coalesced; Mohamed Sanu got traded; Calvin Ridley got hurt. But Ryan wasn’t blameless. He was sacked 48 times, which tied for the league high and marked a career worst. His 14 interceptions tied for the NFL’s sixth-most. 

Going by Football Outsiders’ DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) ratings, the Falcons’ offense was the league’s 15th-best. That’s a drop from the eighth of last season, which also saw the Falcons finish 7-9. It’s their lowest offensive ranking since 2007, when Ryan was a Boston College senior. 

In the 2016 Football Outsiders Almanac, Rivers McCown wrote of Ryan: “We’re inclined to be skeptical that Ryan’s skill went down a level (in 2015), but non-elite quarterbacks don’t tend to have pretty ends.” The 2016 season, we note, saw Ryan named MVP. 

I’ve been watching the man long enough to know that you discount Matty Ice at your peril. He was far from the worst thing about the 2019 Falcons, but he wasn’t great, either. And we say again: He’ll turn 35 in May.

Going bigger-picture, the 2019 season makes us wonder if the order of quarterbacks just underwent a seismic change. The quarterbacks who led their teams to playoff byes are Lamar Jackson, who’s 22; Patrick Mahomes, 24; Jimmy Garoppolo, 28 — and Rodgers, who at 37 didn’t crack the top 10 in yards passing. 

I’m not saying the Falcons should dump Ryan and trade up to draft Joe Burrow. (Though I like Joe Burrow a lot.) What I am saying is that the Falcons have made the playoffs twice over the past seven seasons, a span that has seen Ryan start every game save one.

Is he the best quarterback in team history? Absolutely. Does he fit the description of “franchise quarterback”? Without question. Is he apt to be as good again as in 2016, when Kyle Shanahan was calling the tune? Feel free to discuss among yourselves.

It's ignorant articles like this that hurt the fans the most. They will read it and think "oh yeah he's right".

People don't understand that the impact of the poor rush offense, that the historically pathetic rushing attack Dirk fields, has on the offense as a whole. That the 4 verts offense that Dirk employs, uses longer developing routes and more shotgun usage. Instead of quick and timing passes with YAC from Sark/Kyle, Dirks offense went with longer patterns combined with more curls and hooks and resulting in holding the ball longer for the QB and less YAC.

So with Sark, many who called a drunk and non-NFL ready OC, the WCO offense produced 35 tds and 7 ints behind an oline with 6 different guards 2 different RTs and no freeman. This while every team knew we were throwing because we were behind due to a defense that couldnt stop a soul.

Don't blame Matt. Yah even Brady makes a bad throw now and then. Blame the owner/GM/Coach that brought in the Air Coryell offense that doesn't fit this team and doesn't fit Matt.

 

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1 hour ago, Atlantafan21 said:

We need to get Matt an o-Line and running game. Rivers has had a bad o-Line for a while now, and their run game is okay mainly because Gordon is just good, but the blocking isn’t great. Look at the saints, Brees is as good as he still because they actually built one of the best o-lines and have/had one of the best run games the last few years. 

Their system also protects their OL. They rely more on YAC than Dirk that’s for sure.

Ryan’s receivers had a near 500 YAC drop from last year...on 8 more passes this year; despite missing 1.5 Games!

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/R/RyanMa00.htm

9v3NXBW_d.jpg?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&f

^Check our the advanced stats on Ryan between 2018 & 2019. Lol

Dirk is bad...big play or look for the checkdown. No designed YAC. And then when they can blitz or merely their DL ignore your run threat?

Seriously. Sark ain’t Kyle but the pass game last year was NIGHT & DAY!

Dirk “must” improve or this Frankenstein offense won’t ever take off...but eh maybe it’s just the players not executing...in all seriousness that’s part of it but moving away from Sark was about addressing the OL & run game.

I think we have the talent on the line; rookies got experience. Is Mack back? What do they do at LG?

But naw, we tried more of that Shanny style in week 16 and went off on the Jags...sans Ryan’s 2 INTs...seemed like Dirk wanted to get his feet wet running it. 

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@runshoot it’s not just about it being Air Coryell. Shanny would have long developing routes, too. Multiple ways of stressing and attacking a defense. Sean Payton was known for AC as well.

Difference is they are proven adaptable; high-end coordinators.

Forcing plays onto players vs letting your players make plays.

Addressing the run game and bringing along the defense from post-Bye week; despite roster overturn coming, would go a long way to buying everyone a chance in spite of what Dirk showed this year.

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Bradley going in raw on everyone wearing Falcons colors this offseason.

No, it wasn’t Ryan’s best year.  But when you are called on to pass 70% of the time, this is what it looks like. The element of surprise is null and void.  Edge rushers know what’s coming.  Less 8 men fronts.  More sacks.  Increase in TO’s.

in 2016: 19 Games (Playoffs Included): 630 passes

In 2019:  16 Games - 684 passes

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1 hour ago, Atl Falcon said:

The dam media has to have a story and this one sucks imo. MR2 is the biggest reason we’ve had winning seasons even with sorry as defenses in the TD era not to mention no pass rush or OL

Troffed

Yup and it leaves out that at age 36 Rivers had a 96 rating 4500 yds and 28 TDs, at age 36 he had a 105 rating and 32 TDs. 

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16 minutes ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

Bradley going in raw on everyone wearing Falcons colors this offseason.

No, it wasn’t Ryan’s best year.  But when you are called on to pass 70% of the time, this is what it looks like. The element of surprise is null and void.  Edge rushers know what’s coming.  Less 8 men fronts.  More sacks.  Increase in TO’s.

in 2016: 19 Games (Playoffs Included): 630 passes

In 2019:  16 Games - 684 passes

I was shocked when I saw how much better Sark was at generating YAC and big plays compared to Dirk; and Sark’s wasn’t the best in the league at all. But Dirk!? The return in 2019 was hideous. How can you be on par with 2017 Sark year 1? Is it REALLY all about year 2 leaps for the unit?

Just feels like trying to do too much on offense. Jack of all trades, master of none.

We got Lindstrom back and have OGs capable of running outside zone? Boom we go Shanny ball vs Jags.

Was Dirk possibly limited in running Kyle’s Under C, 12/13 or 22 personnel...with presnap and PA off the snap...merely by the bad OG signings while Lindstrom was on IR?

You would think that Wes at LG and Brown at RG could play outside zone. Seemed our answer some weeks was to utilize the quick pass game.

A mere handful of times we had a decent ground game but only 2 or 3 times all year; if that, used it to carry the overall gameplan on offense.

Holding out “hope” the Jags game wasn’t just for laughs and giggles. They were still coaching for their lives...and Dirk went with Shanny ball.

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26 minutes ago, MSalmon said:

Yup and it leaves out that at age 36 Rivers had a 96 rating 4500 yds and 28 TDs, at age 36 he had a 105 rating and 32 TDs. 

But how does that fit the AJC’s clickbait narrative?

it feeds the masses what they will drink down as @runshoot mentioned.

People don’t want to know the truth based on having to think things through completely; their own genuine or authentic opinions.

Just feed me my Starbucks with 500g of sugar already! The nerve of people and reality!!!

...hence, my user name. :tiphat:

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