What Is In An Arm ?
By tophatal ……..
I have been reading with a great deal of interest as to who has been the most successful quarterbacks in the NFL over the past four seasons . In reeling off my own list of names , it was reasonable to assume that Drew Brees , Tom Brady , Peyton Manning , Eli Manning , Ben Roethlisberger and Tony Romo would be amongst that list . In addition, yes they were , but the real criteria set , were in terms of regular season wins by a quarterback . A great statistic no doubt alongside that of comebacks and game winning drives , that would be a great way to judge a quarterback’s abilities . Far too much is placed upon the quarterback ratings’ system and pass completion percentages but it appears these are the statistics that said to work best for the analysts and NFL coaches and their respective staffs . .
Slide show gallery .
The one name that I overlooked was that of Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan . A tremendously gifted player , the “ knock” against Ryan is that he has never been able to lead the Falcons deep into the playoffs . Ryan has amassed a 43-19 record in regular season games since 2008, which amongst the tops of starting quarterbacks over the past four seasons . For his part though , Ryan has to contend and play in one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL where the Falcons resides , that has four equally compelling teams that will be looking to play themselves into contention this upcoming season . The NFC South is home to the Falcons as well as the Carolina Panthers , Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the much maligned New Orleans Saints . Moreover, the quarterbacks to be found within the division are not too shabby when playing at their very best .
Drew Brees along with Matt Ryan , Cam Newton and Josh Freeman have their own strengths and weaknesses as players . It bodes well this season for Falcons’ head coach Mike Smith , as the team has to be viewed as the prohibitive favorites within the NFC South for the upcoming season . Smith , team owner Arthur Blank , GM Thomas Dimitroff and President /CEO Rich McKay have been prudent and fortuitous in their personnel decisions in the aftermath of the Michael Vick “ scandal “ , which essentially saw the franchise’s fall from grace and the less than honorable departure of Bobby Petrino in the wake of the scandal . Matt Ryan , who was a first round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft was taken third overall by organization . The player became a starter that season for the team , with the franchise going 11-5 within the NFL (8-4 /CONF & 3-1 non-conference). The young quarterback in his rookie season was steady but not spectacular. By comparison to his peers that season , one could attest to the fact that Mike Smith was happy with he witnessed from the young player in his first year within the NFL .
The 2012 NFL Draft for the Atlanta Falcons was built around the prerequisite needs of the team , namely a guard , tackle and nose tackle and running back . Moreover, this was borne out in the choices made by Mike Smith and the coaching staff in conjunction with Thomas Dimitroff. Peter Konz , Lamar Holmes , Bradie Ewing and Johnathan Massaquoi were the first four players taken by team in rounds , two through five . If the Falcons can improve upon last season by way of their overall statistics then it , and where they ranked defensively and on offense would be a boost for the coaching and the young players hoping to make a solid contribution for the franchise this season .
Am I convinced that Matt Ryan can join the elite quarterbacks within the NFL ? Well that would be dependent as what one constitutes as being amongst the “elite” ? The Falcons’ quarterback has proven that he is capable of leading a team but it is being able to get over that final obstacle of getting a franchise deep into the playoffs is how now adjudge the greatness of a player and that intent is to win the game’s biggest prize the ……………. Superbowl .
The Michael Vick years as we know , showed him to be a phenomenal athlete who was able to light up a game with some “ exhilarating plays “ . Vick’s on the field performances notwithstanding , it was the player’s off field issues that gained some unwarranted attention and notoriety. His lying to federal investigators and to the ownership of the Atlanta Falcons showed that the naiveté of Michael Vick as well as his lack of maturity . Vick a great deal of wealth and notoriety at a young age, and not being able to handle the public attention , as well as the praise tends to be one of the many reasons that an athlete feels that they are above the law , while feeling that they will have the backing of their entourage or the press in some instances plays into an athlete’s mindset . We have seen these scenarios played out far too often within the public arena , with many of the fans either siding with the athlete or decrying their actions , no matter how heinous their actions are said to be.
The seasoned veteran is now with the Philadelphia Eagles , where their 2011 schedule simply imploded due to their lack of real commitment and the apparent lack of ingenuity coming from head coach Andy Reid and his coaching staff . An 8-8 season led to the Eagles missing the postseason . Moreover , questions were asked as to why this team failed so miserably , in spite of the apparent talent at Reid’s disposal. The Eagles’ front office led by team owner Jeffrey Lurie , GM Howie Roseman and senior consultant Joe Banner had eschewed the idea of firing the head coach after last season’s malaise . Reid’s tenure has been filled with highs and lows , and in recent years, one could attest to the fact that it was more of the latter .
In 2012 if the Philadelphia Eagles are unable to have a successful sojourn through their schedule , then we may well see the head coach being shown the door . I am not about to suggest that the Vick “experiment” in Philadelphia has been a distinct failure but the rhetorical excuses being served up by the player and the coaching staff might just be the most asinine of the premises that best describes why this organization can be considered a joke ! That notwithstanding , the supercilious attempts by the NFL analysts to consider both the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys as being repeatedly favorites within the NFC , has to be looked upon as being rather redundant. The fact that both teams reside within the NFC East indicates how mundane that the division a has become with the ascendancy of the New York Giants in recent years and their playoff history . Do you get the feeling that the Cowboys and Eagles are envious of the Giants and their success ?
Whatever the season now holds for the Atlanta Falcons and the aforementioned teams as they embark on their respective schedules . We can only speculate on what is likely or not likely to happen concerning those franchises . As the defending Superbowl champions , the New York Giants will be the team with a bulls’ eye on their backs . Everyone will be out to take the Giants down , and I am sure that Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning will be out to prove their detractors wrong .
Picture gallery .
The NFL preseason should prove to be interesting as we get the first glimpse of the rookies taken in the Draft and see what their aspirations may well be . If at all interested in the subject matter simply leave a comment as you see fit .
Picture and slide show details .
(1) Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan takes part in football mini camp Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in Flowery Branch, Ga. AP Photo/David Goldman …
(2) Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham takes part in NFL football practice, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Flowery Branch, Ga. For much of the free agency period , it appeared likely the Falcons would lose Abraham, the team’s top pass rusher. Instead Abraham has returned to find his new defensive coordinator is Mike Nolan , who was the Jets’ defensive coordinator for his 2000 rookie season. Abraham says it’s a perfect fit. AP Photo/David Goldman ..
(3) Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith conducts NFL football mini-camp, Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in Flowery Branch, Ga. AP Photo/David Goldman ….
(4) Tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) of the Atlanta Falcons breaks a tackle during the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America …..
(5) Matt Ryan (2) of the Atlanta Falcons heads off the field after the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Georgia Dome on September 18, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Scott Cunningham / Getty Images North America …
(6) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles talks with head coach Andy Reid before the start of the Eagles game against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. …………