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Coach: QB Matt Ryan's Slump Due To 'Nagging Injuries'

It's a throwaway quote in an article that's not directly about Matt Ryan, but considering the source it might explain a lot about what happened Ryan midway through the season.

We already knew about the toe injury that knocked him out for two weeks and made him a more tentative passer when he returned, so that's not my focus. It's also not the focus of Bill Musgrave, recently promoted to assistant head coach and the guy who works most closely with Ryan throughout the season. Instead, he points to a period around mid-season where nagging injuries, "both upper body and lower body ones," slowed Ryan down. Musgrave went on to say that Ryan worked through them and they're excited that he's returning healthy to carve up the rest of the league like he's attacking a Thanksgiving turkey with a chainsaw.

After reviewing the 2009 game logs, the period Musgrave has to be talking about lasted from roughly Week 6 to Week 10. Over that time, Ryan completed an average of 56% of his passes, threw 7 touchdowns against 10 interceptions and was sacked 10 times. Take out a nice game against Washington's lackluster defense and those numbers jump downward further. You could also argue that the Giants game in Week 11 should be included, because despite two touchdown passes Ryan's completion percentage was hovering down around 56% again.

Obviously, this would tie everything up in a nice little bow. It's a concern that Ryan is prone to small injuries and that they affect his game, but in a lot of ways it's a more comfortable thought than our star quarterback just not hacking it against a mix of defenses. There's no particular reason to doubt Musgrave, who worked directly with Ryan throughout his second-year campaign, which wasn't an abomination to begin with.

So let's assume, for the sake of discussion, that Ryan is completely healthy and injuries wrecked his effectiveness over those five games and the two games immediately following his return from a toe injury (which caused him to miss two games on its own), leaving us with a total of nine games where he wasn't operating at full strength or playing at all. Assuming he's on his feet and healthy, would it be reasonable to expect a huge breakthrough season from Ryan?

I'm beginning to think so.


Do you believe nagging injuries sapped Matt Ryan's effectiveness in 2009?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Yes, Bill Musgrave is a truth-sayer
    (192 votes)
  • 21%
    No, I think it's more of a sophomore slump
    (82 votes)
  • 19%
    I think 2009 was a pretty good season
    (74 votes)
  • 9%
    I don't know what to believe anymore!
    (38 votes)
386 votes total Vote Now