My stance is similar to yours Cyril. I wasn't high on Mularkey when we first hired him dating from what I saw of him in PIT/BUF. BUt I thought he handled Ryan beautifully as a rookie.
I also think that Ryan didn't show that he was capable of the things he's doing today until his 3rd year, so the idea that Mularkey "ruined" or "hurt" him in his first two years is revisionist history IMO.
Now, I agree that Mularkey held him back in 2011, and said as much a year ago.
I agree largely on this. I think the growth or regression will likely actually have more to do with quality of pass catchers and interior OL.
That may be the case, but in the case of the 2012 season, I think Ryan is significantly out-performing the quality of all both areas. I know people always believed that with the talent of our trio, that they would all perform at their current levels, but when you look at a measure such as EPA, and see that of the 10 highest-rated pass catchers, our guys ranked 4th (White), 7th (Jones), and 9th (Gonzo), that just isn't normal. The odds that you find a TE that good are extremely low. Just an interesting note, you look at the EPA of Gonzo through 11 games which is 46.6. Jason Witten has never had a season
where he had more than 45 EPA.
Roddy White is playing his best he's ever played. He's on pace to blow away his 2008 numbers, which is widely believed to be his best season.
2008: 88 catches, 1382 yards, 7 TDs, 148 targets
2012 (on pace): 97 catches, 1458 yards, 6 TDs, 145 targets
Roddy is 31 years old, and outproducing his 27 year old self by 10%. That too is not normal. If he continues on this pace, you're talking about one of the greatest single seasons a 31-year old WR has ever had. In a historical context, you're talking about maybe 5 guys before him that have ever done this at the same age.
As for the O-line, I don't think you can ask Ryan to do more with less than what he is currently doing. We've always known that Ryan is the type of QB that makes his OL look better than it is. But he's doing things that up to this point he's never really shown he can do well, which is handle a muddy pocket. He's not Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger by any means, but it certainly looks like a much different Matt Ryan.
Now if you think he's turned a new corner because of Dirk Koetter rather than Mike Mularkey, I say that's BS. That's purely on Ryan. You look at Ryan's under pressure accuracy % according to Pro Football Focus which basically the number of completions (minus drops) over attempts under pressure, not counting times when the ball is thrown away or when he's hit as thrown. Here's Ryan's numbers over the years:
2008 - 66.3%
2009 - 55.1%
2010 - 61.3%
2011 - 60.3%
2012 - 65.3%
A point difference could be 10 passes that don't get completed, and those 10 passes could all fall incomplete, or maybe they wind up in the hands of defenders.
Look at Eli vs. Brady. Eli and Brady had roughly the same # of dropped passes in 2010. Yet Eli throws a league-high 25 INTs, and BRady a league-low 4 INTs. I know Eli had at least 7 of his INTs due to dropped passes.
These are the unknowable breaks that can go your way, or sometimes don't.
And thus the notion that Matt Ryan is only beginning his ascension I don't think is necessarily a realistic notion.
Again, it may be similar to Peyton Manning. Manning "peaked" in 2004, arguably the greatest season ever for a QB in NFL history. And there was dropoff after that, yet he was still very, very good from 2005 to now, and his success in many of those years was still better than every other QB in the league. And Ryan may hover at or slightly below this level for another 7 years similar to Manning, and thus its not a big deal, as it ultimately proved to be with Manning.
I'm just saying that 5 years from now when we are on the back 9 of Ryan's career, I think it's likely we'll look back on this 2012 season he's having and think, "Man, that was when Ryan was playing his best football," and the addendum to that statement maybe "Man, I wish the rest of the team was good enough to take advantage of that and get this team a ring."
Now in the case of the Colts, despite Manning being redonkulous in 2004, it was in fact 2005 that they won their lone Super Bowl. Now maybe at that point in 2017 or whenever, we'll have reeled in our a title between now and then, and thus this argument is moot.