Atlanta Falcons: 2017 Will Determine If Matt Ryan Is “Elite”

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Matt Ryan /

The 2017 Atlanta Falcons are gearing up for camp and fall practice. What they do this season will go a long way to determining Matt Ryan’s NFL legacy.

There will be a lot of “frankly’s” coming. Frankly, I’m not ready to write about the Atlanta Falcons. It still hurts too much. Frankly, I don’t have a choice. The football season is upon us. Frankly, I am sick of the, “Is Matt Ryan an elite QB” conversation that seems evergreen. And by evergreen, I don’t mean like in an “always relevant and sustainable” way. I mean evergreen in like the recurring STD way.

Frankly, it’s a stupid conversation that tongue-waggers and teeth-clackers on TV have to talk about when there is nothing else. Who is to say what is “elite”? I’ve still yet to hear a quantitative explanation.

But as my colleague, Kit Anderson, wrote here, 2017 for our beloved Atlanta Falcons will be about overcoming mental hurdles as much as anything physical that the season will bring. Hopefully, their bodies will be healthy on Week 1. But what about their minds? No way to know that.

And that gets us to Matt Ryan. Dude has played at a very high level for a very long time. Yes, his INTs are an issue, as his propensity for giving up untimely sacks. But overall his play is elevated above most other 32 starting QBs in the NFL.

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With a career stat line of 64.9% Comp., 37,701 YDS, 240 TD, 114 INT, and a QBR of 93.6, Ryan is close to whatever some may think of as “elite”. 2017, however, will tell the tale.

What I mean by that is this: If Matt Ryan can shake the funk of the worst Super Bowl meltdown in history, and lead his team to continued relevancy, and playoff runs, he will be elite. Atlanta doesn’t even need to win the Super Bowl. Although, that would forever quiet this pedantic and pedestrian argument, it isn’t necessary.

Matt Ryan just needs to continue to forge a path where the perennially irrelevant Falcons remain relevant. In doing so, he would have helped change the culture and course of a once flailing franchise. One has to assume, that if this were become reality, his numbers would continue to grow.

The 2017 Atlanta Falcons have as talented a roster as we’ve ever seen in an a Falcons uniform. The coaching staff is better than any we’ve ever had. The pieces are there.

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Matt Ryan in 2017 won’t just be trying to shake demons from the recent past. He’ll also be defining the future of his legacy.