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Atlanta Falcons: The weight of the franchise is on Matt Ryan’s shoulders


The Atlanta Falcons must make a move or else. Or else someone or someone’s need to go and now that someone may be QB Matt Ryan. You may ask yourself how can the Falcons get rid of their franchise player? Easy. He was brought in to produce, to win and so far he has done neither and the way the NFL is set up, it’s a what have you done for me lately league and Ryan has failed.

He has produced stat wise but wins are what matter most in this league and while Ryan has a career 74-52 record as a starter he has only one playoff win under his belt. He has reached 4000+ passing yards in 5 consecutive seasons but has also thrown double-digit INT in 7 of his 8 seasons. But what remains to be answered is who’s to blame, if anyone?

Even with different coaches Ryan still has put up respectable numbers along the way. His offensive weapons may have changed over the years with players like Roddy White, Steven Jackson, Tony Gonzalez and now he has younger, faster and better playmakers surrounding him with Devonta Freeman, Mohamed Sanu and arguably the best WR in the NFL, Julio Jones. But what does that mean for the Falcons in 2016?

 

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To be honest, they had this talent last year and the year before but managed only 14 wins combined, so you can see where the comparisons to Michael Vick begin to set in. Vick had the talent and the weapons around him but winning alluded him just as he did defenses. Vick himself was not much of a franchise leader in terms of winning as he finished his Falcons career with a 38-28 record and only 2 playoff wins. Ryan, much like Vick before him continues to be haunted by playoffs failures.

How can a team that was due to make a  Super Bowl run in 2014 finish the last two season 6-10, 8-8 respectively? How can you have a 4500+ yards passer, a 1000+ yard rusher and a receiver with over 1800+ yards and still not win what was being called an inferior division? The NFC South was theirs for the taking but somehow they managed to let a 7-8-1 Carolina Panthers team win out and push them out the playoffs in 2014. There was not a thing they could do about Cam Newton in 2015 but to watch a 5-0 start just vanish with losses against the New Orleans Saints (2), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2) and San Francisco 49ers. Ryan and Co must prove they are more than Jones highlights.

The Falcons offense ranked 7th in yards but yet 21st in points scored in 2015. The ball can be moved but they falter when it matters most and that ladies and gentleman falls on the shoulders of the QB. It’s up to Ryan to make the necessary adjustment and with defenses hip to the fact that Jones is the primary target, it was made a bit easier to shut everyone else down. But now with Sanu signed and the emergence of Freeman there is hope.

2016 will not be a make or break year for Ryan in terms of contract talk but he must take the Falcons to the playoffs or Matty Ice may just be put on ice.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]