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One Falcon Watched: Matt Ryan

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ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 07:  Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons looks to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on November 7 2010 in Atlanta Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 07: Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons looks to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on November 7 2010 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Every week, The Falcoholic picks one player to watch in the game ahead. Starting this week, The Falcoholic is also going to see whether or not the player they picked was worth watching.

I'd say Matt Ryan was worth keeping an eye on.

His final stat line—24/36, 235 yards, one touchdown—is quality. It's workmanlike. It's just not going to jump off the page at you, which is a good thing. If the numbers revolt, we're all doomed.

Frankly, I wanted to see Ryan continue to mature as a quarterback, and I saw it. He didn't turn the ball over, and at least half of his missed passes came on those drives where the Falcons pretty clearly had to pass, like before the half and toward the end of the game. He took advantage of a good ground game, good pass protection and managed to put together a fine effort missing Roddy White for a large portion of the game. With good protection and Given the quality of the Buccaneers secondary, that's nothing to sneeze at.

Obviously I'd be delighted if he takes some grand leap, but it's probably time to recognize that our expectations for Ryan should be in this range. He'll take over a handful of games by himself, but by and large he'll limit mistakes, make nice throws and manage the game well. With a quality Falcons team around him, that's going to win our favorite squad a hell of a lot of games.

I'd say this wasn't a terrible pick, even though Michael Turner absolutely dominated for long stretches. What say you?