Walker: The Ice Is Nice
In the last of my position breakdowns for the Atlanta Falcons, I will address the Quarterback situation. Since 2008, there has not been any question as to who the signal caller is for the “Dirty Birds” in Matt Ryan. Ryan, took his game to another level in 2012, with highs in several statistical categories including passing attempts, completions, yards, and passer rating. The eye test was even greater in that visually you saw Ryan taking full command of this offense and tailoring it to his own style, even if it was in its 1st year under Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter. Players, critics, and fans alike felt good about the chances of a Falcon victory, especially in crucial situations with Matt Ryan behind center. Ryan has always been solid but in 2012 he showed flashes of what heights he could take this offense especially in its big play ability. One of the heavy criticisms of him was that he could not throw the deep ball well, so in the previous off-season he put on weight so that he could both take on the added punishment he would receive with throwing the ball more but also to add velocity in assisting with his downfield passing. Matt Ryan also took more risks last season as a passer. Where in the past Ryan would prevent from making the big mistake or costly interception primarily by taking the underneath and intermediate routes but in 2012 he showed confidence in taking the risk and reaping the benefits, even in the event of an incompletion which made teams at least consider the deep threat.
Matt Ryan, has more than proven his worth to the Atlanta Falcons Franchise but there are still some things in his game that he could stand to improve upon. I mentioned earlier that in 2012 Ryan took more chances downfield in the passing game but his completions in the greater than 20 yard to 40 yard range was 46 in comparison to the SuperBowl Champion Baltimore Ravens’ Quarterback Joe Flacco who had 60 in that same yardage range. Comparing those two in another statistic, whenever the game was on the line in the 4th Quarter it is definitely practical to trust Matt Ryan to finish the job but in all actuality Joe Flacco has the better passer rating with a 112.0 compared to Ryan’s 91.4 thus maybe not needing to make the miracle comeback. Regardless, Matt Ryan is the trusted commodity for the Atlanta Falcons and this offense should soar to greater heights in year two under the Dirk Koetter offensive regime. Backing up Ryan this season appears to be second year player Dominique Davis out of East Carolina. He showed great athletic ability and pocket presence in mini-camp but is still raw as a player and will need to take steps to prove he can come in and win ball games in back up duties in case of injury. Also, taking reps at quarterback is Sean Renfree, who was drafted out of Duke in the 7th Round and Seth Doege out of Texas Tech was picked up as a free agent.
Jamie Walker is a Producer and the Atlanta Falcons Blogger for Sports Radio 92.9 The Game. He can be followed on Twitter @coachjdub21 and reached through email at Jamie.Walker@cbsradio.com.