It would be fair to say that Matt Ryan had a worse year in 2017 than he did during his 2016 MVP campaign, but it’s fair to wonder just how much worse he actually was. Ryan, as we’ve covered in great detail this year, dealt with a lot of unbelievably unlucky interceptions and drops that ensured his numbers looked far worse across the board than they did in 2016. In terms of actual performance, I think the regression was much more mild.
That brings us to today’s question, though: Will Ryan bounce back, especially statistically, from his lackluster 2017? We posed this to our writers in a classic true (he will) or false (he won’t) format.
Here’s the result of our Twitter poll, which gives you a pretty good sense of how the fanbase is feeling about Ryan’s fortunes. Nearly 90% said they expect him to bounce back, even though my typo in that tweet is really pretty excruciating.
Quick poll to go with a story tomorrow: Will Matt Ryan have a statisticsl bounce back year in 2018?— The Falcoholic (@TheFalcoholic) February 7, 2018
Now, on to the roundtable.
True. Ryan’s 2017 season was marred by a lot of poor luck and some hairy offensive line play, which means his regression was less sharp than the numbers suggest. If the team can add a weapon or two, improve the line, and get more inspired play calling out of Steve Sarkisian and the coaching staff, I think he’ll be great again in 2018.
True. No QB was more unlucky than Matt Ryan in 2017. Drops by his pass catchers directly resulted in seven of Ryan’s 12 interceptions this past season. The law of averages dicates a regression to the mean in that category. I don’t think we’ll see a repeat of Ryan’s 2016 MVP season, but in his second year under Steve Sarkisian, we should definitely see a return to pro bowl form for Ryan next season.
True. There were moments in 2017 where Matt Ryan had that panic-stricken, deer-in-the-headlights look that we’ve become familiar with at times. It was eerily reminiscient of his gaze after many of the series in 2015, where the offense could not seem to settle into any sort of rhythm. I’m predicting stronger play in the upcoming season from the interior line--potentially in the form of an early-round draft pick--and an end to the butterfingers that plagued a traditionally reliable group of receivers. Those factors, along with the expectation that Steve Sarkisian learns to properly utilize his offensive weapons (namely Tevin Coleman), certainly bode well for Matt Ryan’s outlook in 2018.
False. Primarily becasue I don’t think there’s anything for him to bounce back from. Outside of two or three less-than-Mattural performances from Ryan toward the end of the season, his numbers and on-field play were right around his career average. Ryan’s always been Ryan -- whether or not he can bounce back up to where he was in 2016 is another question. That feels dubious without Kyle Shanahan calling the plays -- as great as Ryan is, part of his MVP honors have to be shared with what Shanny was helping the QB do. I’m expecting a more polished offense in 2018, and if Ryan is able to elevate a bit from 2017 because of it, all the better.
False. I’m going to echo Cory’s thoughts on this subject. There were a lot of bad plays and terrible execution that resulted in some good but not great numbers. I think things will settle down and Atlanta will fix a lot of the problems, but Ryan won’t “bounce back.” He will play similar to last year just with some better results.
True. Although I don’t think Ryan had a “bad” season this year, I think he’ll have a much better statistical output in 2018. Ryan must have broken some kind of record for most flukey and unlucky INTs in a single season, which hurt his TD production and the overall production of the offense. Look for Ryan and the offense to move toward the mean, which in this case means an improvement. I also believe the offense, and Sarkisian, will be more comfortable in 2018.
True. It was definitely a season of regression in terms of statistics for one Matt Ryan. Compared to his MVP season in 2016, Ryan threw for 849 less yards, 18 less touchdowns, five more interceptions and his completion percentage dropped roughly 5%. However, if you paid closer attention, you noticed that it was not quite a sign of Ryan getting old or his skills deteriorating right before our eyes but it was the lack of the offense and the offensive coordinator being on one accord for a large part of the season. Can Ryan reach those MVP numbers again? Maybe. But with another offseason of chemistry and the addition of another weapon or two on offense, it is a better bet that Ryan reaches 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns once again.