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 Post subject: Matt Ryan = Prototype Development for QB
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:39 pm 
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https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2 ... rterbacks/

Position Progression: Quarterbacks
Gordon McGuinness | July 15, 2014

Everybody expects their star rookie to step into the NFL and dominate the way they did throughout their college career without so much as a hiccup, but it doesn’t always work that way, in fact it rarely does.

We have looked at every draft pick of the PFF era and analyzed their expected progression based on both snaps and grade and the bottom line is you are doing well if your rookie plays at an above average level in his first season in the league. There isn’t a single position that projects first year players to perform better than the league average and some positions project them to play far below it. Though the NFL has become all about immediate results, despite notable exceptions the draft still remains about acquiring talent for the future, not necessarily the present.

Quarterback is a position that often divides opinion on what is best for a player, with some believing it’s better for them to sit behind a veteran and learn at first, and others feeling that they need to see as many snaps as possible. However, with the importance of the position, and the expectations involved when they are drafted in the first round, the vast majority wind up seeing plenty of playing time straight away.

The Curve

progression QB updated

First round quarterbacks generally tend to struggle in their rookie seasons, with just seven of the 18 players taken in the first round since 2007 finishing their first year with a positive grade. The best year for rookie quarterbacks since we began grading was 2012, with Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill all playing well but, even with that banner year, first round rookies have averaged a -6.2 grade in their opening seasons in the league. By the end of their second year we have seen an improvement by the first-round signal-callers, averaging a grade of +1.1. That improvement is largely down to the performances of the few, though, with just eight of the 20 quarterbacks drafted in the first round from 2006 onward who we’ve seen a second season from, finishing that year with a positive grade.

When looking at the average grade of quarterbacks in their third seasons (-1.1) it’s important to note that we lose three of the highest performers early in their careers from the sample group in Luck, Griffin and Tannehill. However, that -1.1 average is largely down to JaMarcus Russell (-21.9), Mark Sanchez (-24.2), Blaine Gabbert (-10.7) and Christian Ponder (-9.0) dragging the average down with poor seasons.

When looking at players drafted after the first round, only Russell Wilson, who has a cumulative overall grade of +67.2 in just two seasons, has truly stood out, though Nick Foles (+7.4) did have a solid second year in 2013.

Best Case Scenario

Though he seems to take a lot of heat for Atlanta’s lack of postseason success in recent years, you can look no further than Matt Ryan when searching out the best success you can expect from a quarterback drafted in the first round in recent years. Ryan started right from the beginning in Atlanta, has yet to finish a season with a negative grade, and has landed among our five highest-graded quarterbacks in four of his six seasons in the league, grading at +147.0 over the course of his career.

That’s consistency to go along with a high level of play and, while some have criticized his play in the postseason, it’s worth noting that he has amassed a +8.9 grade from five playoff games.

Worst Case Scenario

There were certainly a few options to look at here, with JaMarcus Russell narrowly missing out on the “award”. In the end we opted for Blaine Gabbert, who stumbled his way to a -60.5 grade from just 1,613 career snaps with the Jacksonville Jaguars before moving on to the San Francisco 49ers this offseason with his time as a starter over. It started badly for Gabbert in his rookie year, with six games where he finished with a grade of -4.5 or worse. He was by far our lowest-graded quarterback that year, though John Skelton (-24.6), may have given him competition had he been able to match his snap count.

Gabbert looked to take a step forward in his second year in 2012, finishing the year with just a small negative grade and only grading below -2.5 once all year. Yet any optimism would be short-lived, with the Jaguars opting to go with Chad Henne as the starter in 2013 and Gabbert struggling (-10.7) in just three starts. His career in Jacksonville spanned 28 games, and with a grade of -4.5 or worse in a quarter of those games, it’s easy to see why he’s no longer with the team.

The Path Most Trodden

So you’re drafting a quarterback in the first round and you’re hoping for Ryan and trying to avoid Gabbert, what’s the most likely outcome? Well, how about the first overall pick from the 2009 draft, Matthew Stafford? His career started poorly, struggling his way to a -30.8 grade as a rookie despite playing just 690 snaps and his 2010 was a year essentially missed due to injury as he played just 179 snaps.

His 2011 campaign saw him take a big step forward, though, finishing as our 12th-highest-graded QB. That saw Stafford reach a level that he has maintained since: generally playing well, but hindering himself with roughly three poor games per year in the last three seasons.

That rookie season was poor, as many rookie quarterbacks can be, but generally by the end of their third season quarterbacks have settled into the player they are likely to become, and not many quarterback-needy teams would be upset if the quarterback they drafted this year took a similar career path to that of Stafford.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan = Prototype Development for QB
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:04 pm 
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Quote:
Though he seems to take a lot of heat for Atlanta’s lack of postseason success in recent years, you can look no further than Matt Ryan when searching out the best success you can expect from a quarterback drafted in the first round in recent years. Ryan started right from the beginning in Atlanta, has yet to finish a season with a negative grade, and has landed among our five highest-graded quarterbacks in four of his six seasons in the league, grading at +147.0 over the course of his career.


Well these guys never talk about winning!! Matt can make some numbers on his short passes; but if he was really very good, we'd be in the playoffs every year. Ryan is just an above average Qb, who doesn't lift his game up under pressure!!

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan = Prototype Development for QB
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:56 pm 
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Cyril wrote:
but if he was really very good, we'd be in the playoffs every year.

Well to be fair, Peyton Manning is the only QB that has played in the past 20 yards to make the playoffs 6 years in a row.

It's funny because back in December, you said it was impossible to win with an OL as bad as ours in your defense of Mike Smith's coachin. Why no similar defense of Ryan?

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan = Prototype Development for QB
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:02 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
Cyril wrote:
but if he was really very good, we'd be in the playoffs every year.

Well to be fair, Peyton Manning is the only QB that has played in the past 20 yards to make the playoffs 6 years in a row.

It's funny because back in December, you said it was impossible to win with an OL as bad as ours in your defense of Mike Smith's coachin. Why no similar defense of Ryan?



in a row. how many has fifth round pick Tom Brady played in his career? or, by his7-8th year? ( I really don't know )

Im not bashing Ryan. He is what he is and Im damn glad to have him. But we always ask if Ryan can do what Brady and Brees do, which is 'carry' a team. a four win season with a QB that does not go down is indicative of that. Put those two behind center last year, and even with injuries and coaching, I think they win two more games, and Ryan came close to doing that on four different occasions.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan = Prototype Development for QB
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:31 pm 
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Quote:
Best Case Scenario

Though he seems to take a lot of heat for Atlanta’s lack of postseason success in recent years, you can look no further than Matt Ryan when searching out the best success you can expect from a quarterback drafted in the first round in recent years.


Pudge, This statement didn't ask me to make a reason why Matt Ryan
didn't make the playoffs more!!

i'M GLAD TO KNOW you think Matt Ryan is the best success we could expect from a Qb drafted in the first round. Matt Ryan is above average,
but he's nothing to get excited about!!

This years team is a perfect example, really good Qbs would take this team to the playoffs, Matt Ryan won't.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan = Prototype Development for QB
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:47 pm 
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Just how good is Ryan?? He's taken us to the playoffs 4 times and we've won one so we've played 5 games..... He has 7 interceptions all in crucial
parts of the game.

You've written about him endlessly and you've never mention you thought
he was excellent. I've said he's an above average Qb and that's about what you've said!!

Did I miss something? Do you think Ryan is really special?

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan = Prototype Development for QB
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:46 am 
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Again, these debates are fairly pointless.

If your point is to say Matt Ryan is not Tom Brady, then the answer is yes, I agree.

Brady is in the conversation for one of the 3-5 greatest QBs of all time. Matt Ryan will NEVER be in that conversation.

If your point is to say that Matt Ryan is incapable of winning a SUper Bowl, then I disagree with that. He's no less capable than Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Brad Johnson, Matt Hasselbeck, Kurt Warner, etc. In most of those cases, he's a much better QB pound for pound than any of them. Unfortunately, his team hasn't been nearly as good as the teams most of those guys played on when they went to the Big game.

Can he carry this team to a Super Bowl? No. But very few QBs can (not even Brady has been able to do that). He needs help, and he certainly needs more help than a QB like Brady. Like most 2nd tier QBs he needs a competent running game (at the least) and a competent to good defense (at the least).

Matt Ryan has never played in a playoff game with anything more than an average defense. Defense and QB play are what win in the playoffs. Ryan's QB play hasn't been perfect (note the turnovers), but he's played well in a number of those games for chunks of those games. Last year's playoffs, besides the botched snap and the Earl Thomas INT, there really is nothing to complain about RYan's play. And frankly, if the Falcons had a good defense, those errors wouldn't have been as costly as they've been.

Look there are 3 main issues that are going to prevent these Falcon teams from achieving at the highest level (i.e. winning championships). They are in no particular order:

1. Matt Ryan's unwillingness to pull the trigger in tight windows downfield. Of the top 16-18 Qbs in the league, Matt Ryan is at the BOTTOM (with only possibly Alex Smith being worse) in terms of TESTICULAR FORTITUDE. That doesn't keep him from being a good QB, but it does prevent him from being a great QB. Ryan shows more testicular fortitude when he trusts his WR (i.e. Julio, Roddy, Tony). To help in this regard, the FRONT OFFICE must upgrade the caliber and type of WRs that Ryan has. This WILL NOT FIX the problem, but it will help.

2. Mike Smith's conservative coaching style. While SMitty is relatively aggressive in 4th down decision making, his overall approach is very conservative. This was fully on display last year where teh Falcons without their primary weapons in the middle of the season became the MOST VANILLA offense they've ever been. Criticize Mike Mularkey all you want, but he generally called better games than Koetter did between Weeks 8-11. The Falcons, FEARING sacks and turnovers stopped taking any chances offensively, and it led to this team getting blown out in 3 out of 4 games.

3. Poor personnel decisions by the front office. This team needs to use more early-round picks in the trenches, particularly with OL and pass-rushers. And when they have, most of them have failed miserably (e.g. Peter Konz, Peria Jerry). That has to change. And that coupled with this team's ability to make better use of late-round picks. Instead of drafting career backups (e.g. Charles Mitchell, Kerry Meier, Prince Shembo, etc.), this team needs to find the occasional player with starters' upside in the last 3-4 rounds of the draft. But because of their need-based strategy, they have a tendency to take backup-caliber talent at "need" positions just for the sake of adding a body.

In reality, Ryan is what he is, and probably can't be changed. So until you find a better QB, you're probably stuck with him for the next 5-7 years, which frankly is NOT a bad thing.

The same probably applies to Mike Smith. His conservative style isn't keeping the team from winning in the regular season and potentially has the ability to win in the postseason if the personnel was better. If the team had a strong running game and a good defense, coupled with solid to good QB play, there's no reason to think that Smitty's style is the main issue.

Which leaves the problem of personnel. The Falcons just simply haven't been a good personnel team for the past 3-5 years. They've been adequate enough to tread water for most of that time, thanks to disciplined football, good QB play which led to them winning a lot of close games that they had no real business winning, particularly against lesser teams (e.g. 2012 Raiders, 2012 Panthers, 2012 Cardinals, 2010 49ers, etc.), inflating what the expectations should be for this team. And that's why this team has been so thoroughly outclassed in nearly all of their playoff games. They are an 8-8 or 9-7 team that basically manages to win 10-13 games a year that makes them look better than they are.

If/when this front office/coaching staff are fired in the next 1-3 years, hopefully the next group will better, although the odds are high that they won't be. And thus, it'll be another 15-20 years before the Falcons have another legitimate chance at winning a title. :down:

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan = Prototype Development for QB
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:02 pm 
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Best post of the summer, Pudge.


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