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 Post subject: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:56 pm 
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http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/80251 ... -next-step


Matt Ryan knows the next step
Making the playoffs is no longer enough -- the Falcons must advance
Originally Published: June 8, 2012
By Ashley Fox | ESPN.com

It is there, and Matt Ryan knows it: that monster bagel on an otherwise impressive four-year résumé he has built, from Day One of his rookie year, in Atlanta. Nothing can hide it, not the 43-19 regular-season record or the 60.9 career completion percentage or the 95 career touchdowns, with half as many interceptions.

Zero playoff wins.

Zero.

Zilch.

Three chances, three losses, no wins. Cliff Lee can't buy a regular-season win for Ryan's beloved Philadelphia Phillies this season. Ryan can't buy one for the Falcons in the postseason.

Ryan owns it but does not dwell on it. He accepts it but does not let past high-profile failures consume him. He is on Twitter. He sees the people flexing their Internet muscles. Ryan knows fans have doubts.

But he also knows this: That zero isn't going to be there forever, not if he can help it. It isn't going to define his career, just as Peyton Manning's 0-4 playoff start certainly hasn't defined his. Manning won a Super Bowl. Ryan is trying to do the same.

The Falcons think he can.

"The arrow, I still believe, for our football team and especially for Matt Ryan, is pointing up," Atlanta coach Mike Smith said.

Smith, of course, is heavily invested in Ryan, 27. In his first season with the Falcons in 2008, Smith drafted Ryan third overall out of Boston College. He had a plan to rebuild a franchise that had been rocked first by a quarterback's crime and then by a coach's abrupt departure.

In Year One and Year Two, the plan was to become a relevant football team, which would mean, as Smith explained it, "being part of the conversation in December and January." From there, become big-time players in the NFL's second season: the playoffs.

Ryan played solidly out of the gate, and the Falcons were able to achieve their initial goals. They won 11 games in Ryan's rookie year and made the playoffs -- ahead of schedule -- but lost to Arizona on the road.

They took a step back in 2009, but in 2010 won the NFC West with a 13-3 record that gave them a first-round playoff bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs -- again, ahead of schedule. Then a hot Green Bay team rolled into town and routed them 48-21. That game changed when Ryan threw an interception that Tramon Williams returned for a touchdown at the end of the first half.

Last season, the Falcons were wildly inconsistent in all three phases of the game. Smith made some risky calls that cost them, and they played their worst game of the year when it mattered most, on the road in the playoffs against the Giants. The offense didn't score a point.

It is true that Ryan has not played particularly well in any of the playoff losses. He has thrown three postseason touchdowns and four interceptions, and he has not thrown for more than 200 yards. Although the loss to the Giants certainly wasn't solely Ryan's fault, he didn't pull his team out of the morass, either. The Falcons had two fourth-and-1 failures, were 4-of-17 on third down and gained only 247 total yards. Ryan was 24-of-41 for 199 yards, a miniscule average of 4.8 yards per pass play.

"That game was a microcosm of our season, magnified by it being the postseason," Smith said. "It was probably one of the worst games of our season."

[+] EnlargeMatt Ryan
AP Photo/David GoldmanMatt Ryan focuses on improving rather than dwelling on his winless playoff record.
"The thing I learned from that game is you have to finish," Ryan told me. "You have to finish drives. You have to finish series and quarters and games. That specific game, the third-down opportunities on the plus side of the 50 and the two four-down situations in the red zone, we didn't convert. Those kinds of plays we have to convert."

There's more to it. The Falcons need to be consistent, week in and week out, on both sides of the ball. They have the offensive weapons in place -- a solid offensive line, reliable running back, speedy receivers and a sure-handed veteran tight end -- and during the offseason they added ball-hawking Asante Samuel to their secondary. Samuel, who has played against Ryan four times, has told the quarterback what he thinks about his game, and how he can be harder to defend.

Ryan also has gone back to a practice he undertook two seasons ago: watching tape of his peers. Aaron Rodgers. Tom Brady. Drew Brees. He has studied them intently. He admires Rodgers' deadly back shoulder fade throw, and Brady's eye manipulation, and Brees' utter confidence to put the ball where only his teammate can reach it no matter the coverage.

Although he wouldn't necessarily call himself "cut up," Ryan also has retooled his body, gaining a few pounds while shedding a few percentage points of body fat. The idea is to hold up better down the stretch of the season, and, again, in the playoffs.

Smith has no doubt that Ryan will. The arrow is pointing up, he said, because Ryan "continues to improve in the areas elite quarterbacks have to," most important his decision-making and accuracy.

But both men know it is one thing to do it in the regular season and quite another to do it in the postseason. The bar has been set. The bagel must go.

"It's something I don't think about all that often," Ryan said of his playoff record. "My thought process is constantly to improve, be better during the regular season, be better during the postseason and be a better football player. Beyond that, if you worry about too many outside things, like what other people are saying, it can consume you, and you can't let that happen."

Ryan won't. He also won't have to live with the bagel much longer.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:40 pm 
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I don't think that Ryan has ever been the problem. I believe that the problem has been what we ask of him, and when we ask it. The offense has never been designed to be Ryan's offense, and that has been a huge mistake. Hopefully Koetter will remedy that.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:32 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
I don't think that Ryan has ever been the problem. I believe that the problem has been what we ask of him, and when we ask it. The offense has never been designed to be Ryan's offense, and that has been a huge mistake. Hopefully Koetter will remedy that.


I fully agree that the offense has been designed poorly for Ryan's skills (I scream it here often.) I also think the OL has played miserably in the postseason.

Even with all that, though, I think Ryan has played worse than he should in the postseason. He keeps averaging under 5ypa. That's abysmal.

I think the way to fix it is alter the offense to fit him, and all the other things, so he has practice in it by the time the postseason comes...but I do think he (like virtually every group on our team) underperformed in the postseason games.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:23 am 
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It seems the more we've put on Matt Ryan (such as postseason) the worse he's done. I think the offense was perfect for a rookie Qb through year 3 --- but yes its time to have a lot of different passes, long, short, screen, everything possible; and let
Matt Ryan sink or swim. A fifth year Qb should be ready to swim!!

With Bart & Chandler we still ran the ball a lot but didn't miss many deep open receivers!! Bart didn't come close to getting it till about year 5 or 6.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:16 am 
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Cyril wrote:
It seems the more we've put on Matt Ryan (such as postseason) the worse he's done. I think the offense was perfect for a rookie Qb through year 3 --- but yes its time to have a lot of different passes, long, short, screen, everything possible; and let
Matt Ryan sink or swim. A fifth year Qb should be ready to swim!!

With Bart & Chandler we still ran the ball a lot but didn't miss many deep open receivers!! Bart didn't come close to getting it till about year 5 or 6.

But even if we put more on Ryan's plate, I still don't think it's conducive to him really excelling at running the offense. It remains to be seen if Mike Smith is really willing to hand the keys over to Matt Ryan, or is he going to continue to piggy back on the running game like he did against the Giants. And if they do, do they even have the personnel to let Ryan flourish with just 3 WRs and a 1 TE. The Falcons are a sprained knee or broken ankle from being right back to the style of offense they were in 2010 and before.

Let's hope this year is the transition year that 2011 should have been. And next year in 2013, they will start to get Ryan the weapons he needs to swim. There's a difference between being a 95-rated passer because you can manage a game better than most (see Ryan), and being a 95-rated passer because you have to make plays with your arm (see Eli Manning). The Falcons can't be afraid of turnovers because only through having that sort of adversity will we be able to see Matt Ryan grow as a QB. And they cannot stress being "balanced" or at least in the form of balance they are talking about which doesn't involve throwing the ball overwhelming through 3 quarters and then running in the 4th when you have a large lead.

And I'm not optimistic one bit that these conditions will ever exist in Atlanta under Mike Smith even with Dirk Koetter running things. If the Falcons want to maintain the offensive identity that they established pre-2011 here in Atlanta, or Koetter/Smith had in J-ville in '07, or SMith in Baltimore in 2000, then Thomas Dimitroff is failing this team.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:58 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
It is true that Ryan has not played particularly well in any of the playoff losses. He has thrown three postseason touchdowns and four interceptions, and he has not thrown for more than 200 yards. Although the loss to the Giants certainly wasn't solely Ryan's fault, he didn't pull his team out of the morass, either. The Falcons had two fourth-and-1 failures, were 4-of-17 on third down and gained only 247 total yards. Ryan was 24-of-41 for 199 yards, a miniscule average of 4.8 yards per pass play.

""The thing I learned from that game is you have to finish," Ryan told me. "You have to finish drives. You have to finish series and quarters and games. That specific game, the third-down opportunities on the plus side of the 50 and the two four-down situations in the red zone, we didn't convert. Those kinds of plays we have to convert."

There's more to it. The Falcons need to be consistent, week in and week out, on both sides of the ball. They have the offensive weapons in place -- a solid offensive line, reliable running back, speedy receivers and a sure-handed veteran tight end -- and during the offseason they added ball-hawking Asante Samuel to their secondary. Samuel, who has played against Ryan four times, has told the quarterback what he thinks about his game, and how he can be harder to defend.

Ryan also has gone back to a practice he undertook two seasons ago: watching tape of his peers. Aaron Rodgers. Tom Brady. Drew Brees. He has studied them intently. He admires Rodgers' deadly back shoulder fade throw, and Brady's eye manipulation, and Brees' utter confidence to put the ball where only his teammate can reach it no matter the coverage.

Although he wouldn't necessarily call himself "cut up," Ryan also has retooled his body, gaining a few pounds while shedding a few percentage points of body fat. The idea is to hold up better down the stretch of the season, and, again, in the playoffs.

Smith has no doubt that Ryan will. The arrow is pointing up, he said, because Ryan "continues to improve in the areas elite quarterbacks have to," most important his decision-making and accuracy.

But both men know it is one thing to do it in the regular season and quite another to do it in the postseason. The bar has been set. The bagel must go.

"It's something I don't think about all that often," Ryan said of his playoff record. "My thought process is constantly to improve, be better during the regular season, be better during the postseason and be a better football player. Beyond that, if you worry about too many outside things, like what other people are saying, it can consume you, and you can't let that happen."

Ryan won't. He also won't have to live with the bagel much longer.


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Good F*cking Grief. :doh:

Look, I dont wanna be a negative Nancy here, but WTF? A solid OLine? Compared to who? Spelman?!

What have we 'done' to address the most glaring weakness from last season? We brought in an injured guy who hasn't played in a year, and drafted the best center we could: and were going to 'cross train him at guard'?! Then we get an OT that's already injured and will miss minicamp, we put bustable Sam Baker the Sack Maker there without any competition..and we brought in a guy from that powerhouse Fresno State to whip em into shape. ! Whoopeefreekindo!


This crap works in Hollywood, but not in real life.

Our 'reliable' running back is so reliable, he has to go on a 'pitch count'!

Im so glad Ryan is lifting weights and watching film of other QB's: because that is exactly what they said after each of his successive playoff losses.

Ryan has regressed in each playoff loss. Think about it: and you know Im right. The last fiasco in New Jersey was a pathetic display of pussified Quarterbacking I have not seen since the days of Joey Piano Man Harrington. Our defense kept us in the game for a half, and Ryan didn't do diddlysquat. I can accept that Eli and his team was better then us. I cannot accept that Ryan checked himself out of the last playoff game.

And I dont believe it's all about Ryan pumping iron and learning through osmosis: becuase I remember the days when Ryan had that fire, that drive and the will to put this team on his shoulders...And I did not see that in the last game of last year, the most important game of the year for us.

The thing that disturbs me the most is that even if we take a major step backwards ( barring injury) there are still going to be folks making lame excuses for TD, Smith AND Ryan, and next season aren't we going to be resigning Ryan to a big a$$ contract? 'But look at what they have done since 2007! '

Sorry, Im fresh out of excuses for the obvious. My leg is warm and wet and the sun is shining. This awful article is the most deluded piece of fanboy jockriding claptrap that even Daniel Cox and DOL could not aspire to.

:beef:

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:51 pm 
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Well, I'll agree to disagree on Ryan, Fun Gus. I firmly believe that Ryan can be one of the best QBs out there. I think his problem is the conservative offense that we have been running. Ryan will be at his best in a WCO, or other offense where the short to mid range passing game is the primary focus.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:04 pm 
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Although I have been down on Ryan during the season I understand that about the 5th year a Qb should see things differently.

I've never expected a Brady offense but I think our line was really bad last year and Ryan did improve. I agree he played
pussy football against the Giants....... I agree Koetter will help Ryan get better; and I think Mike Smith knows the Michael
Turner story is over; I can only guess Turner is Smith's security blanket.....

Coach Mike Smith knows its time for this team to turn a corner.,..... Now maybe he thinks he'll have a Baltimore type defense
but he'd be the only one......

Some Qbs by their 5th year have been hurt, scared many times; and already traded!! If Matt improves with his chemistry with
Julio then I'll believe in Ryan. I do believe in Ryan except I've thought he was not ready for more involvement. Most "special"
Qbs play good in big games, and I believe we'll find out one way or another if Matt Ryan has what it takes to be special this
year!!

We'll also find out if Mike Smith can take this team forward or not!! Thomas D. is the best Gm we've ever had; but I think this organization can make changes now if Blank wants them and replace them with good people; and you couldn't say that 5 years ago!!

I won't make excuses for anyone this year; everybody is kinda in the "show me boat". Especially Coach Smith and Matt Ryan!!

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:03 am 
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Cyril wrote:
Most "special" Qbs play good in big games,

But that doesn't happen in a vacuum. Most "special" QBs have a structure/platform around them that is built to allow them to have success. That has yet to really be the case here in Atlanta. That's not to say that all of Ryan's problems rest on the coaching staff. He certainly has his fair share of limitations. But they are conquerable given the right system around him. I do not believe that is currently the case in Atlanta, nor do I suspect it will ever be as long as Mike Smith is the head coach. But of course that remains to be seen.

The two issues work hand in hand, and unfortunately we're going to be at a point in the very near future where people will have to draw lines in the sand and heap all the shortcomings of this team either on the quarterback or the coach.

And I already know a sizeable part (whether a majority or minority remains to be seen) of the Falcon fan base will choose the side of the coach because as fun gus so eloquently put it, their accomplishments will always be measured against/compared to the likes of Bobby Petrino and Jim Mora, while Matt Ryan's accomplishments will always be measured against Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, etc. And there is the inherent flaw in the system. Just like Eli Manning before him, Matt Ryan always will be stacked up against HOFers and found wanting for the most part.

The good thing for Eli is that he now has 2 rings and that monkey is probably permanently off his back. Unfortunately for Matt Ryan, I don't think he'll get 2 rings let alone 1 ring. At least I don't think it's on the immediate horizon (say next 3 or so years). And if that is the case, if he's in a position where 4-6 years from now he's in a position to finally win a ring, the fan base in Atlanta will have probably run him out of town.

Mark my words, that day is coming very, very soon. The only thing that will stem that tide is winning a playoff game this year and at the very least going down to the wire in another.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:45 am 
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Here's a scenario I could see playing out... The Falcons do not change their scheme to suit Ryan. When Ryan's contract is up, a team like the Saints swoops in and takes him, and proceeds to dominate the league for the next 10 years with the combo of Sean Payton and Matt Ryan.

I hope that this scenario doesn't play out. But I'm pretty darn confident that if we let Matt Ryan walk, a team that knows a thing or two about QBs is going to snatch him up and turn him into a super star.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:24 am 
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RobertAP wrote:
Here's a scenario I could see playing out... The Falcons do not change their scheme to suit Ryan. When Ryan's contract is up, a team like the Saints swoops in and takes him, and proceeds to dominate the league for the next 10 years with the combo of Sean Payton and Matt Ryan.

I hope that this scenario doesn't play out. But I'm pretty darn confident that if we let Matt Ryan walk, a team that knows a thing or two about QBs is going to snatch him up and turn him into a super star.



Or, Ryan ends up Like Carson Palmer, a once great prospect ruined by awful coaching. I have lost faith in 'Matty Ice'. I dont feel he has the drive and desire to 'put it all out there' like in tha past. Now whether that is a result of coaching, or personal, doesn really matter at the end of the day.

Ryan is in his fifth year. Next year is a contract year. At some point, a 5th year franchise QB that has had 3 playoff losses ( and the last one being HORRIBLE ) has to go to his coach and demand that staus quo be changed. It's on Ryan. If Ryan wants more freedom at the line, he needs to ask for it. If he wants more deep throws, he has to execute it. We are well past the 'just keep the boat afloat' thinking from 2008. Now, Ryan has to DRIVE that boat.

What I saw in January was Ryan not driving the boat, but putting on his life jacket. That has to be the 1st thing to change if this team is going to get a Lombardi.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:44 am 
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What I saw in January was Ryan not driving the boat, but putting on his life jacket. That has to be the 1st thing to change if this team is going to get a Lombardi.



We all agree that Ryan did not play well against the G-men....but the O-line played worse. Anyone QB playing that day would have had "happy feet', not just Ryan.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:23 am 
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AngryJohnny51 wrote:
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What I saw in January was Ryan not driving the boat, but putting on his life jacket. That has to be the 1st thing to change if this team is going to get a Lombardi.



We all agree that Ryan did not play well against the G-men....but the O-line played worse. Anyone QB playing that day would have had "happy feet', not just Ryan.



ummm...not so much. That's what you call a grade A 'excuse'.

Did the Oline play badly? Of course. But I can think of 5 QB's off the top of my head you can put behind that sh*tty OL and they would have at least put points on the board. They would not have won, but they would not get skunked.

When you cant even score in garbage time, you've 'checked out'. Hell this is not endemic to Matt Ryan. We've seen this movie before.

Ookie checked out the same way. Folks that went to the game live ( ask Emmitt) will tell you that on the sidelines there was no 'fire' no 'sense of urgency' at least on the Offense. The D WAS fired up until they realized Matt had checked out..

In the Arizona loss, they showed Ryan walking the bench, gettin guys faces, trying to 'rally the troops'..Didnt see that in N Jersey,

Im going to go one step further, and Im gonna postulate that the coordinators checked out as well. And for all the crap put on BVG, his defense made a game of it for a half.

But it begins and ends with Matt Ryan. He has to show me he can get back what he had from 2008-2010.

No mnore 'excuses' :snooty:

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