Tony Gonzalez: “It’s not a matter of if” Matt Ryan becomes elite

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Last week, Tony Gonzalez created stirs on a pair of fronts with comments in an interview with Seth Wickersham for ESPN The Magazine.

Gonzalez made a comment about returning to play next season if the Falcons were looking like a Super Bowl contender and he also said he thought quarterback Matt Ryan was excellent but not elite. On Friday, we brought you some further comments from Gonzalez on the possibility of a comeback from an interview with Doug Gottlieb of CBS Sports Radio but he revisited the Ryan issue as well.

“It’s not a matter of if [Ryan becomes an elite quarterback], it’s just a matter of when and I said that from the first time I saw him throw a football,” Gonzalez said. “He is an unbelievable talent. He has unbelievable skill. And the thing that really separates him is his work ethic, and I mention that in the article. There was no stopping him. There was no stopping him.”

Gonzalez held the same view during a Monday chat with Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio. Gonzalez he didn’t mean it as a slight to rank Ryan below Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, just as he means no slight to Ben Roethlisberger or Eli Manning to rank them alongside Ryan. 

It’s hard to quibble with that breakdown of the NFL’s current quarterbacks, although there’s sure to be a wider range of opinions about Gonzalez’s feeling that it’s just a matter of when Ryan joins the four quarterbacks he listed as elite. 

34 responses to “Tony Gonzalez: “It’s not a matter of if” Matt Ryan becomes elite

  1. I think to be elite you need to make the players around you better… such as Brady, Manning, Brees or Rodgers.

    There is no doubt the guy is talented, but I wonder if the receivers make him look better than he is (Stafford/Megatron Schaub/Johnson).

    With all the injuries last season he seemed to struggle. So I guess fans will need to wait and see if he can unlock his potential or not.

  2. How is he back tracking? He said this exact thing from the beginning. The media just made it seem worse.

    The dude pretty much said Ryan is a Top 5 QB BUT not elite like Peyton, Brees, Rodgers, Brady and the media says “Gonzalez slights Ryan”. Haha

  3. I wish the word “elite” could be stricken from the English language. If you listen to the hype, you would think there were ten elite Qbs in the NFL, which kills the word elite. Since 2008, Matt Ryan has more 4th quarter ints than Tony Romo and no one is calling Tony elite. Just stop it.

  4. Falcons weren’t 4-12 because of Ryan

    One of the worst defenses in the NFL, the worst running game, one of the worst pass run blocking olines. Both his left and right tackle were on IR. One of the best WR in the NFL on IR. One of the most consistent WR was injured until the last 2 games. Dude made Harry Douglas into a 1000 yard receiver.

    People compare the falcons injuries to what the Pats dealt with but Brady actually had an offensive line, a decent defense and a good coach.

    Ryan is definitely capable of winning a SB but he needs team around him.

  5. Has there ever been a more long-winded and tiresome topic than which NFL QB’s are ‘elite’?

  6. Tony Gonzalez is a future HOFer TE. But, he sounds really desprate for that Super Bowl ring. Who can blame him. He’s getting up there where age really matters. Just like P.Manning. At least P.Manning got one Super Bowl ring. I think Gonzalaes will be pulling a Brett Favre.

  7. I wouldn’t include Peyton either, not after that SB. Ryan would have played better in that game, heck even Flacco would have.

  8. It’s not a back pedal, if anybody actually READ the original statement then they’d know that was what we was getting at. Ahem, “He’s this close. He’ll get there, but he has some learning to do.”

    He’s saying the same thing, some people need to learn their the definition of the terminology they use.

  9. Matt Ryan does NOT play well in the playoffs…….pressure…..pressure……pressure

    See Matt Schaub…….Andy Dalton……

  10. Russell Wilson is only in his 2nd year and he’s already elite. Elite, in my opnion, means the QB can produce result in clutch situation and Wilson always did that. This kid is a winner!

  11. Russell Wilson beat Peyton Manning, Rodgers, Brees (twice), Brady, Ryan, Newton, Kaepernick. If he’s not elite, I don’t know who is. THIS GUY IS A WINNER!!!

  12. I don’t like the term “elite”. It’s the new word. Does anyone really believe that Ryan is as good as Manning, Brady, Rodgers, or Brees? How many can be “elite”? To me, when you talk elite, you refer to “he already has HOF credentials”. Matt Ryan isn’t even close.

  13. In no particular order, there’s Breesus, The Forehead, The Dreamboat, and Discount Double-Check.

    It’s amazing how much oxygen is wasted trying to put any other face on that Mt. Rushmore.

  14. steelerdeathstar says:
    Feb 10, 2014 3:23 PM

    Has there ever been a more long-winded and tiresome topic than which NFL QB’s are ‘elite’?

    Michael Sam.. at least the QB convo, is about football.

  15. I am with Shaggytoodle, I am kind of beginning to wonder that as well. When Julio Jones went down, they struggled more. If not for Tony Gonzalez, I doubt Atl would of even won more than 10 games the past few years. I could always see this Falcons team was nothing but overachievers, the problem was they just never proved me right until this season, their team is full of players who show flash and thats it, no depth on that roster. Roddy White who was suppose to be one of the top WR’s in the NFL has always been a guy who might show up 5-6 games out of the year and I believe the medias hype of White is why teams even remotely believe he was ever a threat which then allowed Gonzalez to get his share of the catches, Julio Jones while hes got the tools to be Jerry Rice elite, wont unless he has a QB that can get him the ball, which Ryan will not do unless Jones is 20 yards ahead of the nearest defender. This team is nothing more than a carbon copy version of the Cowboys.

  16. HE is Not in the class of Any of those QBs.. not Brady, The Mannings… Peyton or Eli, Rodgers, Brees, Roethlisberger, none of them… Matt Ryan is Tony Romo, until he proves otherwise.. The Work all those other QBs have put in in the Playoffs, Big regular season Games AND Championships… Gimme a Break, Ryan Cant Sniff ANY of them… not yet anyways.

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