By Kevin Lange, Student Writer
Boyne Falls High School
After reading the “Winging It” article in the new Sports Illustrated issue, something sparked in my head as an idea to discuss the differentiation between good quarterbacks great, championship-winning quarterbacks. In the article, it basically covered how Matt Ryan, who has individually done everything but fly under the radar, has subsequently led his team a mile short of expectations through his first four years.
After a couple spectacular games to bust into his fifth campaign with Atlanta, Matt Ryan’s started to turn heads. Ryan’s rank as the 8th highest quarterback rating of 2011 speaks for itself. But to make a huge jump from that? Now leading the leading the league in quarterback rating (117.6) and TD passes (5) through the first two weeks out of the gate, it leaves us with the one and only deficiency in him and reason for writing this: ability to pick up big gains. This has, quite frankly, showed on the stat sheet his entire career and even so far in his “breakout” in 2012, as he shows up on paper as the 16th rank in total passing
Big time passing yards equals “W”s. Even if it means breaking out of your comfort zone and trying your luck with the long ball. To add onto that, the statistic that really stuck out to me in the “Winging It” article was that the Falcons had a combined 95 pass plays of 25 yards or longer over the last four seasons, which tied for last in the NFL. Matt Ryan’s tentativeness in his deep-ball accuracy has led Atlanta to an 0-3 playoff record in the past three years of his low-risk, low-reward mentality of passing.
Look at Eli Manning. Best deep-ball thrower in the game right now (highest deep-throw accuracy rating in Madden 13, I might add). Look what his guts to “air it out” has given him: two big, fat chunks of gold on his fingers that weigh down his hand—you thought Eli had a strong throwing arm? Just wait until next year; this off season he’s getting an arm workout every time he lifts his
But my point is that numbers don’t lie, people. Having that deep pass threat in your quarterback’s arsenal and confidence to use it in the clutch is what makes the team win; makes the team win big games. But who knows—maybe Matt Ryan has yet to show off his arm and shake off the tentativeness. We can only sit and hope (or hope it doesn’t) play out.