Nobody could argue with the results of rookie quarterback Matt Ryan in 2008. He threw for more than 3,400 yards and led the Atlanta Falcons to the playoffs with an 11-5 record. There, they lost to the Arizona Cardinals, but the new face of the franchise clearly got off on the right foot.
With such a pleasant start, however, come higher expectations. Though Ryan’s numbers didn’t diminish greatly in 2009, they did wane a bit as the Falcons went 9-7 but missed out on the postseason.
Ryan may have Atlanta headed back to the playoffs in 2010 in his third year, but it’s a bit tough to tell, at least by the numbers, how he is progressing. His completion percentage is up, but so are his sack totals and his quarterback rating is sitting right about on its average during his short career. Then again, he is 3-1, giving him an impressive 23-13 record. However, two of those three victories have come against unimpressive teams in Arizona and San Francisco and Ryan was bailed out in a victory against the 49ers this weekend by Nate Clements.
I’m not sure exactly what it all means, but you’ve got to imagine the Falcons would like to see improvements statistically as Ryan’s career continues.
Matt Ryan joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss his favorite baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies, his reaction to the drama surrounding his former favorite NFL team in Philly, whether he thought he had thrown the game away when he threw the interception to Nate Clements on Sunday, the emotions of then leading a game-winning drive and what he’s doing better now than he did as a rookie.
On the Phillies’ in the postseason:
“I’m pretty confident. They looked pretty good here at the end of the season.” Will you wear a Phillies hat in Atlanta?: “I will not. I will not wear a Phillies hat here in Atlanta.”
On his reaction to the Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick drama surrounding his former favorite NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles:
“I thought it was great for Donovan to get back there. It sounded like, from what I saw, he got a warm reception from the fans. That’s not always the easiest place to go back and play, but I was happy that he got a warm reception and went up there and played well.”
On whether he thought, at first, that he’d thrown the game away when San Francisco’s Nate Clements picked him off:
“When the ball leaves your hand and you see it get picked, you don’t think there’s much of a chance because he’s returning it. But Roddy [White] makes a great play and then we have a second chance. While you’re trying to chase him and bring him down, you’re frustrated, but you never know what’s going to happen.”
On the emotions after then turning around and leading a game-winning drive:
“It’s a great feeling at the end. On every second opportunity to go out there and to change the outcome of the game and you take advantage of it, it’s a great feeling at the end of the game. Certainly there’s a lot of things that we need to improve on and I need to improve on down the stretch, but we made the plays on that last drive and we were excited with the win.”
On what he’s doing better now than when he was a rookie in 2008:
“I think it’s responding to adverse situations. As was evidenced with last week, I think you do something poorly, you have to understand that you’re going to make some mistakes throughout the year and throughout the game. It’s how you respond to those things, and I think I do a lot better job of that in Year 3 than in Year 1.”