The Falcoholic staff will be presenting you reveiws of all the team's position groups during the bye week, starting with me bringing you the ever scrutinized Matt Ryan and preseason warrior Sean Renfree. Prepare yourselves, folks, we're all pretty sad. Let's dive into it.
Matt Ryan, 1st team Quarterback, All around golden boy
I know many of us are disappointed in Matt's play the last several weeks, and rightfully so. Overthrown, off-target, and inaccurate passes have plagued this offense dating back to Week 5 against Washington. The fans have a right to be angry, but the extent of the anger has gotten a bit exaggerated.
Like I've preached in previous articles, the offense as a whole is in a sort of learning curve here. This is the first time playing in Shanahan's offense for Matt Ryan, and many new faces can be found around the 1st team offense as well. The fact that the offense was so productive during the first month was pretty unexpected, and may have bloated expectations for us the rest of the way. Now, this transition to an unfamiliar scheme and receivers does not take the complete blame for Ryan's play here, but it should at least warrant some slimmed down expectations; Matt's earned that from us.
We can look towards other things as well. The play from Mike Person has been very solid in pass protection, but he's left a lot to be desired in terms of snapping and ball security. To be fair, Person was a quiet signing who's only expectations were to be a warm body on the roster. He's exceeded those expectations, but the mishandling of the ball must be shored up if Matt is to get this offense where it needs to be. Fearing that the ball won't reach your hands should be the last thing the Quarterback has worry about going into a play. The amount of bad snaps he's dealt with thus far is inexcusable and has played a key role in this anemic offense.
As our very own Allen Strk has asserted in his tweets and articles, the absence of Leonard Hankerson has led to a sort of predictability for the Falcons' offense. Hankerson, being the only thing resembling a downfield threat outside of Julio, has missed time nursing a hamstring injury that he suffered against Tennessee. This has quietly hindered Matt and Shanahan, and allows opposing defenses to focus solely on Jones as the downfield target. We know Roddy can't provide that threat anymore, and guys like Hardy and Williams simply don't possess the jump ability. Getting a 6'2", 4.4 running Hankerson back will open up the offense for Ryan more than we may realize.
Overall, the criticisms of Ryan being a mid-tier quarterback that deserves to be benched or traded are pure lazy. Yes, he's forced passes, turned the ball over, and missed receivers, but these hiccups are to be expected with such major change around the organization. Matt is still the face of the franchise, and regardless of what some fans are saying, will not be going anywhere for a very long time. However, these excuses do not take the complete fall, and if I'm giving out a grade for his play thus far, it'd be a strong, but fair C+.
Sean Renfree, 2nd team Quarterback, Our favorite clip board competitor
Sean has done exactly what we've wanted from him this season, and that's sit on the sideline providing endless emotional support. As always, Renfree played better than the other options we fielded at backup quarterback this past preseason, so at least we can sleep comfortably knowing that there's a guy capable of throwing a football in the horrific event that Matt Ryan cannot play. Sean, keep doing your thing man. A+.
Opinions on Ryan's play or how it could improve? Be sure to voice them below.