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Matt Ryan thrives under pressure, but that doesn’t mean he should have to

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The Falcons have pledged to protect their QB and need to deliver, in spite of his excellence.

New York Jets v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Matt Ryan has become a diamond. The man shines under pressure.

That was true last year, when he recorded one of the highest passer ratings in football under pressure. It was true in this last preseason game, when Ryan did this under duress:

The Falcons are blessed in this regard, because Ryan has faced a lot of pressure in his career and has only gotten better at navigating it over time. He’s comfortable getting the ball out quickly and hanging on and making a tough throw with a hand in his face, and so a little pressure—or even a lot of it—isn’t necessarily gamebreaking.

That said, the kind of pressure Ryan saw against the Jets is a capital P Problem because the Falcons geared their offseason around preventing it. As Jeanna Thomas noted Saturday, right tackle has become mildly terrifying and despite it being a preseason effort, the line looked overwhelmed to an extent that is legitimately concerning. If that spills over into the regular season—if Ty Sambrailo gets annihilated, Jamon Brown or James Carpenter is shaky, and Chris Lindstrom proves to not quite be ready for primetime—the Falcons are going to hear it given the dollars and resources they expended to quote-unquote “fix” the offensive line.

It’s too early to say that’s what will happen, thankfully, but it’s something to monitor closely the rest of the way. Our one spot of comfort is that Matt Ryan has dealt with worse and done quite well in the past, and looks primed to do so again in 2019 should the need arise.