clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan could be Kyle Shanahan's savior

Fact: Kyle Shanahan grows and cans his own yams

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan isn't going to win a popularity contest anytime soon. The fan base is frustrated and they're not inclined to hide it. It's a frustration that stems from both his work product and his public discussion of the offense's failures. If I had to attribute it to a single annoyance, it's his arrogance. But that's just who he is, that's just how he handles himself.

2016 will be an interesting year in the Shanahan odyssey. If the offense clicks and we're winning games, his past misdeeds will be easily forgiven. And like it or not, that falls squarely on Matt Ryan's veteran shoulders. While Ryan can't do it all on his own, he can certainly advance Shanahan's cause. If he shows the world that Shanahan's system can work, everything changes. That means Ryan has to step up in a big way.

Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. I am perhaps one of Ryan's biggest fans. I regularly get into heated arguments with fans of other teams that refuse to call Ryan elite. Ryan can't be faulted for what happened last season. He was overwhelmed by the new system and his supporting cast let him down. Shanahan didn't publicly own that failure and that's on him. But Ryan isn't a young man anymore. He's more important to the franchise now than he's ever been. He may not want to be Shanahan's savior, but he really needs to be.

Imagine a scenario where Shanahan fails. That means Ryan and the rest of the offense have to learn yet another system. Ryan doesn't want that, we don't want that, nobody wants that. Ultimately Shanahan's legacy remains to be seen. For what it's worth, Ryan has said some very positive things about the offense lately. You wouldn't expect anything less, but for Shanahan's sake, and ultimately for Ryan's sake, let's hope he's not exaggerating.

Your thoughts?