You know what’s great about the internet? Almost nothing. But one of the worst things about the online experience is the exposure we face to so many terrible takes about NFL quarterbacks.
Our staff has spent a fair amount of time venting about this to each other, and we decided to take the conversation to our friends and readers here at The Falcoholic so you can all join in the debate in the comments.
Horrible Hot Take: Carson Wentz is better than Matt Ryan
No disrespect intended to Wentz, a very good young quarterback with a bright future who may well belong among the top five in the NFL in short order. It’s just that we shouldn’t be ranking him above Matt Ryan just yet, and yet I keep seeing this take pop up at random across the NFL landscape.
The problem is that it’s far too early to be doing this, and we all really should know better.
You need look no further than Wentz and fellow 2016 rookie Jared Goff for proof. Wentz was mediocre through large stretches of 2016 and Goff just looked abysmal, causing many to give up on one or either ever becoming a good quarterback. A year later, Wentz is top five with just 29 games played, ahead of (depending on your ranking) Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, and maybe even Russell Wilson? That seems borderline irresponsible to me, if we’re being honest.
It won’t kill anyone to wait a little bit before they start lobbing second or third year quarterbacks past some of the NFL’s best.
Horrible Hot Take: Ryan’s only good season was 2016
To be fair, I don’t see this opinion often from reasonable sports writers. This one often comes from the lesser writers or those looking to get a reaction out of Falcons fans. That said, it’s still an absolutely garbage opinion that needs to be incinerated.
The implication here is that Ryan was only a good QB when he had a great coordinator. It conveniently ignores the fact that Kyle Shanahan never had an offense anywhere near as good as the Falcons 2016 unit. That’s not to say he didn’t deserve credit, but let’s not pretend he’s been the QB whisperer over the years either.
This take also ignores most of Ryan’s career, his consistent placement at the top of advance stats charts and his actual play vs the score box (2017, I’m looking at you). To be honest, people who throw this hot take around usually only reference the 2013-2015 seasons, and even then, have to ignore many of the factors that were working against Ryan during those years.
So let’s put this hot take out to pasture. It never should have been said, and whoever did say it honestly needs to be set on fire.
Horrible hot take: I’m exhausted seeing young quarterbacks with one good season listed as elite players.
Can this please end? Every year we see some young or rookie quarterback anointed as one of the best in the league. Last offseason it was Dak Prescott. The year before Derek Carr was in the race for MVP. Jameis Winston was on the rise after his rookie season. Andrew Luck was considered a Hall of Famer before he was even drafted. Heck, even Joe Flacco was called elite for a short stretch in 2013.
This year, I’m seeing Jimmy Garoppolo and Carson Wentz mentioned in top 10, if not top 5 discussions after impressive partial seasons. No question these guys have talent, but why does everyone have to lose their mind every year and ignore the very basics of the position? It is the most complicated position in the league, and it is notoriously difficult to maintain elite play after defenses pick up tendencies. These players need 3 to 5 years to realistically know where they are, and the offseason madness always, always, always looks stupid by midseason. The Russell Wilson types have proven to be the exception to the rule, so lets stop pretending the opposite is true.
Horrible hot take: The Falcons didn’t need to pay Matt Ryan because the team can find a brand new franchise quarterback any old time it likes.
Here’s the thing: No. You can’t just replace a player like Matt Ryan. This take is wrong and bad, and it willfully overlooks the fact that Ryan has been a key factor in every ounce of success this team has experienced since 2008. How many years did we watch him carry a team with a middling-to-poor defense to the postseason? How many times did we watch him somehow get up and hang in there after taking sack after sack thanks to a combination of factors, like the team deciding Mike Person was a reasonable choice at center for some reason?
Matt Ryan has been the undisputed leader of this team and consistently puts up top-10 numbers. He was the force behind the Falcons winning 11 games and actually making the playoffs in his rookie season after a tragic and abysmal 2007 when we had to watch Joey Harrington, Chris Redman, and Byron Leftwich all fail at being viable starters. Matt Ryan threw for 4,515 yards and 26 touchdowns with Harry Douglas as his top receiver in 2013. Harry Freakin’ Douglas.
And don’t get me started on the folks who inevitably start clamoring for Matt Schaub to start after Ryan throws an interception in a meaningless preseason game or something. Schaub last started back in 2015, when the Ravens threw him into a couple of games. He finished those games with three touchdowns and four picks. You’d rather have Matt Schaub than the guy who won MVP in 2016? No thank you, please.
Ryan is a very good quarterback. He wouldn’t just be difficult to replace. He’d be damn near impossible. This take is as hot as an actual flaming dumpster.
Horrible hot take: Cam Newton is better than Matt Ryan
In the discussion of the NFC South divisional QB hierarchy I can feasibly and objectively understand those who debate that Drew Brees is at the top of the list and ahead of Matt Ryan (it’s absolutely not a foregone conclusion, but I can respect the debate). Those that say that Cam Newton is also better than Ryan, however, are either: Ryan haters, completely bias toward Newton or just out of their minds.
Newton was a better QB in 2015, when he won the MVP award, but that was two seasons ago, and Ryan even won an MVP award more recently. I’ve seen Panthers fans use Cam’s 2015 MVP award as a basis for their ranking while discount Ryan’s 2016 MVP award because “Ryan had better weapons.” It’s the ultimate example of grasping at straws.
In truth, Newton is a gifted athlete whose lack of fundamentals and mental toughness puts a cap on his potential ceiling as a quarterback.
He’s cracked 4000 passing yards in a season just once in his career (his rookie year), while Ryan has done it for the past seven seasons in a row. Ryan beats Newton out in career yards per attempt (7.5 vs. 7.3), career air yards per attempt (7.4 vs. 7.0) and passer rating (93.4 vs. 85.3) among other things. His 20/7 career TD/INT ratio in the playoffs also destroys Newton’s 10/7 TD/INT ratio in the playoffs. In fact, Ryan has better playoff numbers across the board. Barring that one anomaly 2015 season, Cam Newton has never been better than Matt Ryan, nor will he ever be.
(Bonus hot take: Derek Carr is the most overrated QB in the NFL, and this is a hill I’m willing to die on).
Horrible hot take: Matt Ryan isn’t a top five quarterback.
There’s this desire to keep Matt Ryan out of a list of the league’s top five quarterbacks and frankly it’s pretty bogus.
Here’s the thing: No, a quarterback who had a good outing in his second year is not better than Ryan (Carson Wentz). No, a quarterback who completed 52.9 percent of his passes in 2016 is not better than Ryan (Cam Newton). No, a quarterback who has consistently underachieved even while having a near-literal Transformer to throw to ball to is not better than Ryan (Matthew Stafford). No, a quarterback who has seven total starts is not better than Ryan (Jimmy Grappolo).
Let’s just cut the crap.