So there's this Ray Edwards article I saw recently: We clearly haven't talked about it twice already, so let's open up discussion for it. Ray Edwards has declared himself totally healthy.
One of the things that puzzles me is that how experts are just convinced Matt Ryan needs to take "the next step" in order for us to succeed. How many steps has Mark Sanchez taken? Joe Flacco? I'd rather have Matt than either of those two and they both have had more playoff "success" (if you wish to call it that, in certain cases) than Matty.
I'm sure if you asked fans of either of those teams, they'd tell you that they'd want the QB they have over Matty. That's fine. This is not a QB debate.
I can't sit here and pretend that I'm some NFL expert (I will be someday!) but part of what makes Rodgers, Brees, and Brady so great is that not only are they talented, but their offensive coordinators/playcallers are also very bright people. Sean Payton and Brees have been together from the beginning of both of their Saints tenures and have been lighting it up ever since. Same goes for McCarthy and Rodgers. The anomaly is Brady, but it stands to reason that the Pats know what kind of OC they want and then they go sign him. Plus, you know, Brady is a damn good QB.
I'm not convinced Matt needs to take any steps forward to succeed in the playoffs. He has the skillset, he has the intelligence; he just needs the right person pulling the strings. Clearly, Mularkey was not the right man for the job, else we wouldn't be here talking about this.
Another point that experts seem to recognize a bit less is that the Falcons O-line, as a whole, was god awful at times last year. I watch Brady make tea and crumpets behind his offensive line, and I watch Rodgers and Brees move around with their (admittedly) superior mobility to Matty, so even if their lines break down, they have a better chance of making something happen.
Arm strength isn't an issue either. Chad Pennington has the highest career completion percentage of any QB, ever, with a minimum of 1,000 attempts. That doesn't sound like much, but he's only 29 attempts away from being the highest completion percentage with 2,500 attempts (that belongs to Brees, whose percentage is just slightly lower).
Pennington was never, ever known for his arm strength, yet he had a 66% completion percentage. Complain about "all he threw was short throws" all you want, but there are so many moving parts to an NFL pass of 5 yards, I consider completing one of them an accomplishment. Also, Pennington has a career YPA of 7.2. For comparison, Brady's is 7.5, Brees's is 7.4, though lately both Brady and Brees have been closer to 8. Still, .8 of a yard isn't a huge difference, despite what statisticians want you to believe.
You don't need a cannon to win playoff games.
What Matt Ryan needs is some OL protection and a little dose of the Killer Koetter no-huddle offense, and those very same experts will be calling Matt Ryan elite.
The very same elite Matt Ryan we've already had.