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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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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:46 am 
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Well, my excuse was always Mularkey. I have also had negative things to say about our line. Matt has dodged criticism from me thus far. If I see the changes in the offense this year, Matt will no longer get a free ride from me. But I suspect that if we change our offensive scheme to suit Ryan, I won't have to worry about that.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:52 am 
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Quote:
That's what you call a grade A 'excuse'.


It wasn't an excuse, just an observation 6 months removed from the fact. There was plenty of blame to go around for that game.....right or wrong, QB's get too much credit for wins and too much credit for losses.

Not an excuse, just a fact.

I agree, Ryan needs to play better in the post season. No one here is arguing that fact. But if you can look past Ryan's performance, you see a team that wasn't prepared mentally or wasn't prepared game plan wise.

I still hold out hope for Ryan, as I haven't given up on him as many have. As long as he keeps getting us to the post season, there will always be a chance to make a run, but for that to happen, many of the players have to bring their "A" game, including Matt Ryan.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:18 pm 
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AngryJohnny51 wrote:
I agree, Ryan needs to play better in the post season. No one here is arguing that fact. But if you can look past Ryan's performance, you see a team that wasn't prepared mentally or wasn't prepared game plan wise.

I still hold out hope for Ryan, as I haven't given up on him as many have. As long as he keeps getting us to the post season, there will always be a chance to make a run, but for that to happen, many of the players have to bring their "A" game, including Matt Ryan.



see right there is what I am talking about. Didn't I say our defense kept us in the game for a half? Our Defense WAS prepared for this game...They kept us in it. They scored the only points that day. Until it was obvious Ryan had checked out, then it was all over.

So I have 'looked past' Matt Ryan. But, it still doesn't merit these excuses. Why wasnt Matt kicking up dirt on the sidelines, spitting and frothing like he did vs Arizona? Jan 3rd 2009. Earlt in the 4th qtr, the score is Arizona 30, us 17.


Ryan gets sacked in the endzone for a safety.

Immediately after they came back from commercial, they showed Matt Ryan eating the a$$ out of the OLine on the bench. I mean, f*cking MAD.

The next drive, we scored to close to 30-24.

That is the Matt Ryan I am talking about.

Hell, even vs the Packers at home, I dont think he mailed it in. But I think in THAT case our D played awful: they couldnt force a punt at home!

But what I 'saw' and what I take away from the Giant Fiasco is that Matt Ryan pussied out. Period! Sure, theres blame to go around...But it starts and ends with the QB.

Now, y'all can continue the excuse train all you want, but Im off. Matt Ryan has to prove to me he still has the fire.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:34 pm 
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fun gus wrote:
AngryJohnny51 wrote:
I agree, Ryan needs to play better in the post season. No one here is arguing that fact. But if you can look past Ryan's performance, you see a team that wasn't prepared mentally or wasn't prepared game plan wise.

I still hold out hope for Ryan, as I haven't given up on him as many have. As long as he keeps getting us to the post season, there will always be a chance to make a run, but for that to happen, many of the players have to bring their "A" game, including Matt Ryan.



see right there is what I am talking about. Didn't I say our defense kept us in the game for a half? Our Defense WAS prepared for this game...They kept us in it. They scored the only points that day. Until it was obvious Ryan had checked out, then it was all over.

So I have 'looked past' Matt Ryan. But, it still doesn't merit these excuses. Why wasnt Matt kicking up dirt on the sidelines, spitting and frothing like he did vs Arizona? Jan 3rd 2009. Earlt in the 4th qtr, the score is Arizona 30, us 17.


Ryan gets sacked in the endzone for a safety.

Immediately after they came back from commercial, they showed Matt Ryan eating the a$$ out of the OLine on the bench. I mean, f*cking MAD.

The next drive, we scored to close to 30-24.

That is the Matt Ryan I am talking about.

Hell, even vs the Packers at home, I dont think he mailed it in. But I think in THAT case our D played awful: they couldnt force a punt at home!

But what I 'saw' and what I take away from the Giant Fiasco is that Matt Ryan pussied out. Period! Sure, theres blame to go around...But it starts and ends with the QB.

Now, y'all can continue the excuse train all you want, but Im off. Matt Ryan has to prove to me he still has the fire.

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Maybe Ryan was concussed due the the beating he took thanks to his great protection? :ninja:
Now THAT'S an excuse!

I see your points FG, and respect your opinion. I just happen to disagree on this one.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:45 pm 
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Yep, this thread is exactly what I'm talking about. People have already drawn their lines in the sand.

And fun gus, I disagree. It starts with Mike Smith, and then ends with Matt Ryan. Quarterbacks don't overcome coaches. But coaches definitely can overcome quarterbacks. Don't believe me, just look at the San Francisco 49ers last year. Or look at the New York Giants, where the majority of the world has said for most of Eli's career, he didn't have "it" to be a great quarterback yet Tom Coughlin has managed to pull Super Bowl wins from his butt.

As I've said numerous times before, the myth/perception out there is that great quarterbacks develop in the aether and/or vacuum. That is not the case. Great coaching and quarterbacking go hand in hand. Just go through your head over all of the really good to great QBs that have played over the past 20 years, and you know I'm right.

The truth should be that if/when things break down in Atlanta, both Matt Ryan and Mike Smith should share the blame. But as I said earlier, that won't be the case. People will throw it all on one side or the other. Because of the false perception that the two issues aren't linked. Carson Palmer failed in Cincinnati, not for lack of ability, but as fun gus indicated injuries, poor coaching and even worse management of the team. Like Palmer, Ryan has ability. Is he going to be on par with Brees or Brady? No, probably not. But he has more than enough ability to win at a high level. And IMHO, if the Falcons can't win a playoff game with a quarterback of Ryan's skill, that's a failure on coaching. Just like on the opposite side of the coin, it's an indicator of good coaching that Jim Harbaugh could pull off a playoff win with Alex Smith.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:39 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
Yep, this thread is exactly what I'm talking about. People have already drawn their lines in the sand.

And fun gus, I disagree. It starts with Mike Smith, and then ends with Matt Ryan. Quarterbacks don't overcome coaches. But coaches definitely can overcome quarterbacks. Don't believe me, just look at the San Francisco 49ers last year. Or look at the New York Giants, where the majority of the world has said for most of Eli's career, he didn't have "it" to be a great quarterback yet Tom Coughlin has managed to pull Super Bowl wins from his butt.

As I've said numerous times before, the myth/perception out there is that great quarterbacks develop in the aether and/or vacuum. That is not the case. Great coaching and quarterbacking go hand in hand. Just go through your head over all of the really good to great QBs that have played over the past 20 years, and you know I'm right.

The truth should be that if/when things break down in Atlanta, both Matt Ryan and Mike Smith should share the blame. But as I said earlier, that won't be the case. People will throw it all on one side or the other. Because of the false perception that the two issues aren't linked. Carson Palmer failed in Cincinnati, not for lack of ability, but as fun gus indicated injuries, poor coaching and even worse management of the team. Like Palmer, Ryan has ability. Is he going to be on par with Brees or Brady? No, probably not. But he has more than enough ability to win at a high level. And IMHO, if the Falcons can't win a playoff game with a quarterback of Ryan's skill, that's a failure on coaching. Just like on the opposite side of the coin, it's an indicator of good coaching that Jim Harbaugh could pull off a playoff win with Alex Smith.



Okay Pudge I see your point. But: my only rejoinder is if Matt Ryan plays scared and appears to give up, just how much of that does Mike Smith share the blame in? For me, there are few things the QB can do to me that is unforgivable...I can accept if your QB has certain skillsets and flaws. For instance, look back on Vick... It always bugged me that when he decided to run he wouldn't tuck the ball, instead holding it out away from his body, which resulted in it hitting the ground sometimes. But I figured that was more a less a 'technique' issue that with the proper coaching could be worked out ( which it still hasnt to this day ). But what was unforgivable for me was when M Vick would check out of a game. Now, granted we only saw that on precious few occasions, but when it did happen it wasn't 'good'. And thats when my fascination and admiration for Vick started to wane..waaaaay before dogkilling.

Back then when I would post on this the nuthuggers would jump on me with all kinds of 'excuses'. Poorly built OLine. Tiny RB. But to me, that stuff did not matter as much to me as Vick quitting.

I never thought I'd see Matt Ryan 'quit', but that;s exactly what he did vs the Giants..And not just 'Happy Feet'. Im talking taking a safe slide instead of trying to get a first down. Sitting on the sideline looking at polaroids sadly instead of menacing the bench. Thats what Im talking about. The 'fire'.

Now you make the case that Smitty shares the blame in some of that. Im not sure, but I wont dismiss it out of hand. Maybe your onto something.

But I assume that by the time you get to be a 4th year franchise QB in the NFL, those issues should not be there. And I may be wrong, but I find this more of a personal issue then one that can 'coached up' because by then you should never give up. Never. Ever.

Just like with Vick, when I see Ryan pussy out and quit, Im gonna hold Matt Ryan more accountable then whatever coach there is in place. But maybe your right that Smith's coaching has weakened Matt Ryans resolve and thats why he continually regresses with each playoff appearance.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:26 pm 
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I don't believe Ryan quit in the Giants game. I agree, Vick quit/checked out multiple times. Where you saw he was no longer mentally engaged in the game or the team, and you saw it in his efforts.

I don't think that happen with Ryan against the Giants, nor do I think it has ever happened while Ryan has been in a Falcon uniform. What I think what happened in New Jersey this past January was that the moment got too big for Ryan. He had the proverbial deer in the headlights look in that game. I've indicated before I think Mike Smith, the coaches, and their deficient gameplan had a big part in this. It was etched on the faces of all of the players there. When the Falcons running game failed them, it was clear that they had no Plan B to fall back upon to get them back into the game. And thus the entire team (and the defense who had been engaged up to then) checked out. I don't lay that blame at Ryan's feet, I put the bulk of that on the coaching staff. That doesn't mean I'm absolving Ryan of blame for the Giants loss and his part in it (because it was a big part of it), but I do think when you look at the body of work Matt Ryan has done here over the past four seasons, I'm not going to let one bad game with a very bad gameplan overshadow all of that.

I think that is one of the limitations of Matt Ryan. Which is that if you can get after him early and often, then it's very difficult for him to get his feet settled, and he develops happy feet and a very quick trigger. I don't think he's alone in that. I think Tom BRady can be accused of that same trait. As you'll notice if you look at most of the Patriots losses, it has come when teams could pressure him early in games (2010 Jets playoff loss is a prime example). I think that is a trait of Jake Delhomme, and a number of other mid-tier QBs. That is an obstacle that if this team is going to marry itself to Matt Ryan for the forseeable future, will have to overcome. But it's not an insurmountable one, because it just means you have to have a better than normal O-line to protect him, similar to how the Patriots have with Brady. That is something the Falcons ignored or took for granted last year, and deservedly so, they paid for it.

Matt Ryan is an imperfect QB. He's not particularly strong-armed, not overly athletic, and has a conservative streak. He'll favor the "smart" play over the "ballsy" one. That is not everyone's ideal, and certainly isn't the type of QB that is en vogue right now. But I don't think that means that the Falcons have to get rid of him. I think it just means that the Falcons have to work a bit harder to put him in the right environment than say a team that is working with Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, or RG3.

I've seen the Matt Ryan that can rise to the occasion. I just think it's been too few and far between because of the environment he finds himself in. Which is an environment that asks him primarily to manage a game, and then if need be take the bull by the horns in the 4th quarter to win. I don't think that structure is conducive to long-term success (i.e. hard to repeat multiple times) nor is it reliable in the big moments, particularly against stronger competition in the playoffs. It worked in 2010, but forgotten about 2010 is how much luck was involved in our ability to be what amounted to be a 9 or 10-win team that managed to win 13 games. And the problem is the Falcons thought that style of play was sustainable. It works in the regular season when you're playing a bunch of 6 or 7-win teams, but when you get into January and you're playing teams with 11 or 12 wins, is going to be a lot harder to do.

That's the same flawed/overly conservative thinking that I think Mike Smith learned in J-ville under Del Rio where they thought they coudl just bully a finesse team like the Colts. But even in the years where the Jags were good (2004-07), they still sported a poor record against the Colts. They were 2-6 in those years, and lost 5 of those games by 8 points or less. Eerily reminiscent of the Falcons-Saints rivalry under Smith/Payton, right? Even a team that you could argue could play that way over the years like the Ravens, still have a very difficult time beating teams like the Patriots and Colts.

The bottom line is that over the past four years, it has been few and far between instances where the goal of this coaching staff was to get Matt Ryan to play his best football on Sunday. To them, that means Matt going 24 of 28 for 197 yards, and 1 touchdown. But for other teams with the better QBs that often means their QBs are going 21 of 33 for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns. That first one is the stat line Ryan had against the Packers in the Falcons regular season win in 2010, and the latter is the stat line that Eli Manning had in their postseason win over GB this past January.

So for me, I don't heap too much blame on Ryan for not being able to thrive in an environment where he's not really supposed to.

And again, if you can't win a playoff game with a QB of Matt Ryan's skill, and a pair of WRs in Roddy & Julio, then the coach is doing something wrong. If you can't make it so that 90% of NFL teams fear that matchup, then you're doing something wrong. So today, I put more blame on Mike Smith's side of the scale than Matt Ryan's.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:52 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
So for me, I don't heap too much blame on Ryan for not being able to thrive in an environment where he's not really supposed to.

And again, if you can't win a playoff game with a QB of Matt Ryan's skill, and a pair of WRs in Roddy & Julio, then the coach is doing something wrong. If you can't make it so that 90% of NFL teams fear that matchup, then you're doing something wrong. So today, I put more blame on Mike Smith's side of the scale than Matt Ryan's.


Nope. That is the exact point you made for me.

Mike Smith did not make Matt Ryan 'slide', Matt RYAN did that. Mike Smith did not make 'Icee' wimp out ( Im not going to hash this out, but the video and pics speak for themselves) piling into the scrum on the 4th and 1. Mike Smith didn't make Matt Ryan that way.

Mike Smith had something to do with the 'deer in the headlights'? Really? Mike Smith needs to give a guy who excelled at every level ( HS BC NFL ) some sort of 'speech' or guidance? After 2 other playoff games?

No sir, I do not buy it. Look, Im still on board. I 'HOPE' things work out well, but you can pull up all the cute stats, or all the reasons Matt Ryan sucked donkeyballs in jan, but Im gonna stick with the obvious.

your milage may vary

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:37 pm 
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Agree to disagree. No minds are being changed here today.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:52 am 
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fun gus wrote:
Mike Smith had something to do with the 'deer in the headlights'? Really? Mike Smith needs to give a guy who excelled at every level ( HS BC NFL ) some sort of 'speech' or guidance? After 2 other playoff games?

Yes, Mike Smith (and I'm lumping the entire coaching staff in with him) had something to do with the deer in the headlights. It's not about speeches, guidance, and motivation per se. It's about a structure for success. It's analogous to studying/prepping for the big exam/test. The coaches can't give you the answers, but they can prepare you for what types of questions you'll see on the upcoming test.

And what I'm saying is that the Falcons have done a poor job prepping Matt Ryan for the big test. It's like being upset that he didn't get a high SAT score, when they only really prepped him for one portion of the test. As I said back in January, you seem to be overlooking the causality. The Falcons entire gameplan vs. the Giants centered around them winning in the trenches, establishing the run, and keeping the game close until the very end, the classic conservative/Marty Ball philosophy. And so when put in a scenario where you're losing in the trenches, haven't established any run presence, and the game is getting away from you, people are upset with Matt Ryan because he didn't rise above that.

Their entire gameplan was built around Matt Ryan not having a significant presence in the game as far as passing goes. Should we have scored more points even given those circumstances? Absolutely.

But IMO, you're simply looking at the results (of being held scoreless) without really looking at the means. Why were we scoreless in that game? Matt Ryan played like a pussy AND the coaches did a s***ty coaching job. And you seem to be stuck only on the first part, without really appreciating the causality/correlation/linkage of the two parts.

And all I'm saying, first and foremost the coaches have to do a better job. They have to provide the room to grow/excel/succeed, no different than prepping for a test or growing a garden. Then, the players are in a position where they can either blossom or wilt.

And I'm just saying don't be too harsh or negative on Ryan for wilting until he's given that room.




There are 2 ways of winning in January in today's game IMO, evident from the teams that have had the most postseason success over the past 5-7 years:

1) Being able to "out-pass" your opponents
2) Being able to stop your opponents' passing

The Falcons philosophy has geared towards the latter because it tends to be favored by teams with lesser QB play, i.e. the "game manager." Prime examples include: 2007 Giants, 2011 49ers, 2011 Texans, 2008-11 Ravens. This often requires a top-end pass defense, usually highlighted by a top-end front 7 that can control the trenches. Also often needs to be coupled with a top-end O-line that can control the trenches on that side. Obviously, the Falcons lacked this in 2011, and one can argue have lacked this throughout Smith's tenure, thus why they have struggled in January. This is one of the reasons why you don't draft Julio Jones (because he doesn't help you one iota to win in the trenches) and you do go after Mario Williams (because he does). Thus the ire towards Dimitroff for his failures in personnel because he has not provided the necessary pieces to make this work.

The other way is to out-pass your opponents, which typically requires you to have a very pass-centric offense & gameplans throughout the regular season. Because this better preps the QB to be able to elevate his game when the big moment comes. Analogous to giving a guy 16 practice exams before the big one. This is NOT the way the Falcons have approached things. Prime examples include: Patriots (in all years but 2008), Saints, 2010-11 Packers, 2010 Steelers, 2011 Giants, 2008 Cardinals, etc.

IMHO this is the superior method if you have the QB to handle it (i.e. a guy in the Top 10 or 12 QBs). I'm of the opinion Matt Ryan is of that caliber, just has not been given the chance on a consistent basis to showcase. Instead of the 16 practice exams, Ryan is only getting 2 or 3. And thus is part of the reason why he has struggled in January in comparison to QB's of comparable ability because he is far less prepped than they are to succeed. And thus the ire towards Mike Smith for not taking advantage of the few resources that TD has actually provided him with (e.g. Ryan, Julio, Gonzo).

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:43 am 
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I'll just lob in from the cheat seats that nothing hinders your competitive will more than being told to play mistake free.

I'm annoyed with the whole team for the loss, and think Ryan should have done more. But, as Pudge notes, they've never wanted him to do more...or if they have, they certainly haven't designed the offense to accomodate his skills.

If you don't have a great deep arm, and your only chances for chunk plays are outside go routes, but "don't throw it in play, throw it so it can't be an interception" you are set up for failure. The only "big" play allowed in the offense is your exact weakness. Does that make you psyched, or defeated, when the gameplan doesn't work? I never condone quitting, even when you're getting beaten senseless, but I have had a couple of coaches "conservative" me into not being able to play my game, and having the whole team be timid.

This team should have 2 viable TEs, a viable 4th receiver and a back who catches. They should look like the Patriots, GB, or the Saints. Those TEs and tall slot receivers make a huge difference for a QB because he can throw 20 yards and have a deep pass, instead of throwing 40 across the field for the same yardage gain. Further, those players enable the QB to identify mismatches and get the ball out of his hands quickly. Ryan's a distributor, not a deep passer, much like Brady.

If they're not going to do that...they need to have him throw the ball in play to his tall WRs (much like they throw to Fitz, AJ Green, CJ) and let them make plays.

That's some rambling.

Basically, I've known the scheme wasn't good for him, but Ryan still disappointed me. He's gotta throw it up, and they've gotta let him/tell him to.

Imagine you're a drive the basket point guard and your coach tells you he doesn't want to see you getting down in the lane...that's the place for your center and forward. You'll still play, and play hard, but you can't play your game. When it comes time for you to "take over" you're left to rely on your 3 pointer which simply isn't a strength. They're saying "take over the game without doing the thing that lets you take over games." We have a bit of that going on.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan knows the next step
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:08 am 
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"Pudge Wrote"
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And fun gus, I disagree. It starts with Mike Smith, and then ends with Matt Ryan. Quarterbacks don't overcome coaches. But coaches definitely can overcome quarterbacks. Don't believe me, just look at the San Francisco 49ers last year. Or look at the New York Giants, where the majority of the world has said for most of Eli's career, he didn't have "it" to be a great quarterback yet Tom Coughlin has managed to pull Super Bowl wins from his butt.


Pudge I disagree..... Ryan just doesn't have the personality to man up to Mike Smith. Yes perhaps it should be 50-50; but Mike Vick sure ran the show here even under Reeves. Ryan just wouldn't take ideas to Smith IMO. And I think it was Eli that won the Super Bowls not Coughlin. Ryan bails out while Eli hangs in. (Same type personality)

I realize it takes brass balls to talk to your head coach as an equal; but Breeze ain't taking no s*** from S. Payton; the good ones don't let poor coaching brainwash them. As far as Mike Smith -----Blank should tell him to leave the offense to the Offensive Coordinator
and let Smith resign if he doesn't like it.

I understand their are tons of arguments against this; but only a few Qbs have that feeling their suppose to be a great one; while I'm afraid Ryan has already lowered his standards. I mean if Mike Smith wants mistake free football; there are a few Qbs in the last two decades who would say; he's full of s***; and play their game!!

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