Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan worked his butt off last season. Heck, he’s worked his butt off every day since the Falcons drafted him in 2008. But last season, with a competent offensive line and talented skill players all around him, the stars aligned perfectly for Ryan and he enjoyed his best season yet.
It sometimes feels like we take Ryan for granted. A shaky history in playoff games inexplicably tarnished his league-wide reputation. But his critics have historically disregarded the impact of playing opposite some truly bad defenses.
- 21st in 1st downs allowed— Vienna Falcons (@ViennaFalcons) July 16, 2017
- 27th in yards per carry allowed
- 26th in rushing TDs allowed
- 29th in total yrds allowed
But now everything is different. In just two seasons, Quinn has managed to completely revamp the Falcons’ defense. The front office signed Dontari Poe during free agency and drafted dynamic pass rusher Takk McKinley. The secondary is among the best in the league and Quinn has several fast/physical linebackers at his disposal. In short, if you’re a betting man, bet on the Falcons defense turning some heads this season.
So where does that leave Ryan? He’s played his entire career trying to overcome the defense’s failings. He’s used to putting up 20+ points a game, because he has to, if he wants to win. That won’t necessarily be the case in 2017.
So what say you? How will a vastly improved defense impact Ryan’s play in 2017?