Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is struggling. And it’s not clear why.
“I just don’t think he looks as comfortable back there,” Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway recently told PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. “I think Ryan just looks a little uncomfortable. I don’t know if it’s protections or just the throws or routes that they’re throwing into but he just hasn’t looked as comfortable to me the last few weeks when we were watching the most previous games.”
So why is he uncomfortable? Some would pin it at least in part on the decision of receiver Roddy White to complain about his role in the offense after a 4-0 start. Although the Falcons won their fifth game, Ryan’s passer rating against Washington plummeted from 112.6 to 55.1.
In the first four games, Ryan had six touchdown passes and two interceptions. In the seven since then, Ryan has 10 and 10.
Here’s a possible explanation. Whenever a young quarterback gets his first shot at playing in the NFL, opposing defenses develop after several weeks enough game film to allow them to crack the code, figuring out what the quarterback does well, what he doesn’t do well, what he likes to do, and what he doesn’t like to do. They also can spot tendencies and tells, which make it easier to determine what will happen after the ball is snapped.
While Ryan isn’t a new quarterback, he’s in a new offense, run by Kyle Shanahan. And it’s possible that things that worked early in the year simply aren’t working now, with defenses available to either take them away or see them coming.
Regardless of what’s happening with Ryan, he has shown in the past that he has the ability to play at a high level. And the Falcons are confident he’ll turn it around, and that he’ll be the team’s quarterback for years to come.
Besides, if they give up on Ryan, what are they going to do at the quarterback position?