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The Stataholic: Matt Ryan Is Better Than You Think He Is


Matty Ice sliced opposing defenses apart in 2012
Matty Ice sliced opposing defenses apart in 2012

Matt Ryan is a good quarterback that is about to get paid a lot money.

The above statement pretty much encapsulates the extent that ESPN discusses Atlanta's star quarterback. Whether he deserves more credit is up to you, but statistically speaking, Ryan could be considered an underrated signal-caller.

"Embrace Debate" will tell you that only a few things matter when it comes to comparing quarterbacks. Winning percentage, Superbowl rings, maybe passer rating and of course "leadership skills" are usually the main talking points thrown around when you read articles that rank the NFL's starting quarterbacks.

But we here at the Falcoholic offer some of the more unconventional stats that the quarterback-obsessed can freely sink their teeth into. We're chill like that. First up, the now widely-recognized Total QBR (yes, I'll admit it is probably the coolest thing ESPN has come up with in a long time).

In 2012, Ryan actually ranked fourth in the league at 74.5, ahead of some talented quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.

His passing EPA (Expected Points Added) was first in the entire league at 122.2, and his running EPA (which measures points added on the ground) was surprisingly 10th-best, just below Griffin III. What's next, a Matt Ryan option offense? (Please Dirk, don't do it).

And though it was Joe Flacco who walked home with the Lombardi Trophy in February, Ryan had the top Total QBR among all postseason quarterbacks with an 86.6 rating.

But let's dig deeper and look at DVOA, which for quarterbacks measures value per play, and DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement), which measures total value above or below the average.

Ryan ranks fifth in DYAR at 1216, well ahead of guys like Flacco, Griffin and Roethlisberger. In terms of DVOA, he's still considered a top-10 signal-caller at 17.0% above average (seventh in the NFL).

Also of interest is the fact that Ryan's 5131 effective yards for 2012, which measures DVOA per play and converts it into a yardage total, implies that No. 2 played better than traditional stats such as passing yards (4502) would indicate.

Additionally, his WPA (Win Probability Added) ranked second in the league at 5.34, only behind Rodgers, and his success rate - measured in terms of positive plays per attempt rather than simply competion - also ranked second in the league at 55.4%.

So maybe now we can revise that first generalization into something a little more accurate. Something like:

While he has yet to bring a championship home to Atlanta, Matt Ryan is an excellent quarterback that deserves to be paid a lot of money.