For the second year in a row, top NFL analyst for ESPN and previous NFL quarterback, Ron Jaworski (known to many as “Jaws”), released his QB countdown in which he ranks the 32 probably-starting quarterbacks during three-minute segments on Sportscenter and NFL Live.
Coming in at number five in Jaws’ countdown is none other than Atlanta Falcons starting QB Matt Ryan. This ranking puts Ryan ahead of Super Bowl champion quarterbacks like Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees as well as young phenoms Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson. The four quarterbacks whom Jaws believes to be better than Matt Ryan are Super Bowl-winning QB Aaron Rodgers, reigning Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, and finally future Hall of Famers Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
Oh yeah, those guys.
Not only did Ryan beat out some high-caliber quarterbacks, but he also jumped six spots after he was ranked eleventh in last year’s QB Countdown. Matty Ice threw for more than 4,000 yards in the 2012 regular season with a QB rating of 74.5, both of which were career highs. Not only did Ryan put up outstanding stats, but he also won his first career playoff game in exciting fashion by fending off a triumphant comeback effort by the red-hot Seattle Seahawks.
More importantly, Matt Ryan’s talent has increased every year. He has won 72 percent of his regular season starts and with the introduction of new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter before the 2012 season Ryan had his best performance yet. Koetter allowed Ryan to take over the offense by reconstructing play calls to feature the starting QB more effectively. He introduced more aggressive play calling as well as diverse screen plays that highlighted the abilities of WR Julio Jones and RB Jacquizz Rodgers.
This aggressive change in play calling was no trouble for Ryan as pressure situations are familiar territory for him. Matty Ice has definitely lived up to the nickname with twenty-three-career game-winning drives and 16 fourth quarter comebacks in his five-year professional career with the Atlanta Falcons. According to Jaws, the key to Ryan’s success is his ability to anticipate. “There are few better anticipation throwers in the league,” argues Jaws. Ryan has the ability to pull the trigger before all-star wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White as well as superstar TE Tony Gonzalez even begin to make their breaks.
In an earlier article, I discussed the likelihood of a contract extension for Ryan before the 2013 season. Coming in at number five on Ron Jaworski’s QB Countdown certainly improves Ryan’s case in asking for a wealthy extension. Quarterbacks ranked lower than Ryan on Jaws’ countdown are already receiving more money than Ryan with equal or lower production value (ex. Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Drew Brees). Stay tuned for more information regarding money talks between the fifth-best QB in the league and the Atlanta Falcons organization as negotiations have begun to heat up.
The only thing standing in the way of Ryan and the quarterbacks ranked higher on Jaws’ QB Countdown is something on every Falcons fan’s mind: that elusive Super Bowl victory. With the offseason pick ups of defensive back Osi Umenyiora, RB Steven Jackson, and rookie Desmond Trufant along with the triumphant return of TE Tony Gonzalez for one more season, things are looking good as long as Ryan continues to live up to the hype.
What do you think? Did Jaws rank QB Matt Ryan accurately or did he deserve to be higher/lower? Voice your thoughts in the comment section below.