Between Jeff Schultz's ominous article about perception of Matt Ryan's play in the building, the numerous calls for his head from the fanbase, and some legitimately bewildering throws and decisions from the franchise quarterback, it's never been a worse time to be #2. For all that, though, we should probably make something clear about Matt Ryan being benched, because there are two scenarios in which that would happen:
- Matt Ryan is injured
- Sean Renfree drinks Tom Brady's blood, gains his powers, and forces his way into the lineup en route to a Super Bowl win
It's not going to happen, in other words, save for an ailment that knocks him out of the game. Roddy White got at this in comments to Vaughn McClure:
"Who else we going to put in there? That’s going to be our quarterback forever," White said. "[Benching Ryan] isn’t going to ever happen. All that speculation, you might want to kill that. We’re going to play better. So let’s nip that in the bud."
It's tempting to think sitting him down would lead to a Renfree renaissance or clear his head, but there's no reason to think that's the case. Renfree is not going to fare better with Julio Jones and a grab bag of merely okay wide receivers, and Ryan can't iron out his issues parked on the pine. The margin between "Ryan had a pretty solid game!" and "Ryan sucks and needs to be benched!" has consistently been two throws these last five or six weeks, and nothing but time in the film room and better decisions in game situations is going to fix what ails him. It's unsatisfying, but Ryan's only going to get better by playing better, because the two picks on Sunday were emblematic of his struggles of late, and those throws are entirely on him.
There's also the little matter that the team is committed to Ryan as their franchise quarterback, which means a benching creates a rift between the quarterback and coaching staff that could lead to bigger headaches down the line, even if Ryan's not exactly an enthusiast for the new scheme. If you're in the trade Ryan camp, you can't possibly be in favor of sitting him, either, given that it will further torpedo his value.
Bottom line: I'm sure the team isn't happy with his decisions, I know the fans aren't, but the players are in his corner and the Falcons are going to let him work this out. We just have to hope he can stop making these lousy throws before the 2015 season is over. The Falcons will make a lot of changes to the offense this coming offseason, but ridding themselves of Ryan or parking him on the bench is extremely unlikely to be one of them.