MAYOCK: Matt Ryan needs to step it up

Patriots QB Tom Brady chats with Falcons QB Matt Ryan before Tuesday's morning practice between the teams in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Patriots QB Tom Brady chats with Falcons QB Matt Ryan before Tuesday's morning practice between the teams in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has been a big supporter of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

When asked about the top quarterbacks taken in the last four drafts and Andrew Luck, the projected top QB selection for 2012 draft, Mayock had some interesting things to say about Ryan, who’s posted at 43-19 regular-season record to go with an 0-3 playoff mark.

The comparison group includes Ryan (No. 3 overall in 2008), Matthew Stafford (No. 1 overall in 2009), Sam Bradford (No. 1 overall in 2010), Cam Newton (No. 1 overall in 2011) and Luck.

“Matt Ryan needs to take the next step,” Mayock said. “To do that, he needs some offensive line help. Matt Ryan is kind of at point now where he needs to make that next step and win some playoff games and become that next-level quarterback.”

Mayock believes that Stafford and Bradford have displayed NFL talent, but must remain healthy. Stafford, the former Georgia standout, guided the Detroit Lions to the playoffs for the first time since 1999 last season.

“Cam Newton had a year that was mind boggling to me,” Mayock said. “They will continue to build around him. The question is how well NFL defenses will adapt to what Carolina did a year ago and will Cam Newton continue to work as hard as he needs to, to stay ahead of that curve.”

Luck is the son of former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, who played at West Virginia and is now their athletic director. (The elder Luck was a pretty good high school basketball player, too. Saw him lead Cleveland St. Ignatius to the city title over the John Adams Rebels back in the day at old Public Hall.)  

“When you throw Andrew Luck into that grouping, I think he falls — from an intellect and the whole passion for the game of football — somewhere in that kind of Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan mold,” Mayock said. “That’s how much the kid loves it.

“As far as ability, I don’t think he’s quite in the Peyton Manning mold. But I think he’s close. I think he’s got a little more ability than a Matt Ryan when he came out. But, I don’t put him up there as a once in a lifetime guy. I’ve never said that about him. I think he’s in the same category with a Bradford. . . I’m not sitting here telling you that I think he’s going to be Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.”

What about Newton?

“I would probably take him over Cam, yes,” Mayock said.

Luck is not expected to throw passes next week at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. He’ll likely wait until his Pro Day.

“He’s going to win the battle in the board rooms,” Mayock said. “He’s going to sit up with the teams and draw what he knows about the game of football and he will process (the) information from those team and spit it back at them. All of those top teams are going to come away saying ‘wow, I want that guy.’”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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145 comments Add your comment

JSS

February 16th, 2012
5:32 am

I said it before, and I’ll say it again; the six-year $72 million dollar (with that staggering and the equally stifling $34.75 million dollar guarantee) was just mystifying! He was not the number one choice, they had the ceiling for the pick that the Vince Young pick in 2006 set for the No. 3 draft position. That contract was five years and $58 million with $25.75 guaranteed. The idiot Russell contract and Ryan’s set much of the ground work and the animus for the lockout problems dealing with rookie pay.

SO another analyst is saying that the jury and judgement on Ryan is now in question? Well, except for the Deadenders, it’s been that way since the last pass of the first half of the Green Bay playoff game… Wow, just join the line, it now stretches a long way!

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Sterling

February 16th, 2012
6:10 am

@JSS WTF are u talking about??

Laughing out LOUD

February 16th, 2012
7:02 am

Give the guy an offensive line! Failure to provide adequate offensive line play is a traditional Atlanta Falcon’s Achilies Heel.

cedrick

February 16th, 2012
7:03 am

WTH has Mayock been drinking????? We all know Ryan needs to step up and take that next step that’s why Dimitrioff went out and got Julio Jones. But working in that obvious passing down offense did not help to protect the QB. Now, I have to defend Cam Newton here!!!! Even after the amazing year this young man had with all the people doubting his ability Mayock turns right around and does it again. Mayock says “I would probably take him (Andrew Luck) over Cam, yes,” WOW! If Carolina had any defense with a sign of life they would have had a much better year but again let’s take the standard QB (Tall, White) over a guy whose proven now this is just typical!!!! I hope Luck falls on his face like Joey Harrington and Chris Redmon who so many scouts and GMs loved to death coming out of college.

Mr. Panic Button

February 16th, 2012
7:23 am

He does need to step it up! The OL is part to blame, the WRs are part to blame and the coaching staff is MOSTLY to blame for his lack of performance against the top teams in the league–and especially in the playoffs. Coaching needs to have Matt get the ball out of his hands quicker and make better decisions. He’s not as cool in the pocket as his nickname “Ice” would have you to believe. Matt must work on his pocket presence, ball accuracy and timing. Coaching can fix these things. One other thing I never understood with this coaching staff is the inability to make in game adjustments. Never rolled Matt out of the pocket, run more bootlegs, play action and screens to slow down the rush. Hopefully our new coaching staff will be 100% better than those to yahoos that just left.

Blue Fender

February 16th, 2012
7:24 am

@cedrick — Bitter much?

Ackshun

February 16th, 2012
7:29 am

We should just sign Manning to a one year deal and let him show Ryan how to win. BTW The problem is not with the o-line the problem is talent evaluation and coaching. The staff seriously underestimated the value of Harvey Dahl and seriously overestimated the value of Sam Baker. In hindsight they had enough evidence to determine that baker was a bust they should have cut him and kept Dahl. O-line chemistry is important with one player we went from one of the best units in the league to an average at best unit. but I’m serious about Manning. If he wanted to come here and I was TD I would tell Matt to take one for the team and get it done.

Marcus in Ellenwood

February 16th, 2012
7:34 am

Matt does need to step up his game. I am concerned that Author Blank is going re-up Matty Ice to a 5-6 year 100mill deal; leaving us with very solid QB for 10 years. But not a GREAT QB.

Ackshun

February 16th, 2012
7:40 am

PS – Cam Newton is probably in the top five of Quarterbacks who ever came out of College to the NFL for a commentator to say he would choose Luck (who hasn’t taken a single snap in the NFL yet) over a guy who just set the record for passing yards as a rookie, is just plain stupid. Indy will get Luck and he will probably do well there but Newton is better and the record proves that.

Falcons 4 LIfe

February 16th, 2012
7:43 am

Matt is fine…JSS it’s too early to be drunk man.

just sayin'

February 16th, 2012
7:56 am

defenders of the current qb will have a hard time being objective…the current qb has lived up to the evaluation most had of him out of BC…smart, good game manager…im-mobile, weak arm, in-accurate on long throws…just accept the fact the AB will re-up him and pay him big $$ because he’s not a loud mouthed show off like some others on the team…..

DC Dirty Bird

February 16th, 2012
7:58 am

That had to be the worst JSS post I’ve ever read.

Agree Ryan needs to step up. At some point in time, he’s going to have to be able to play well in spite of the weakness of the offensive line. Hopefully Koetter can give him more plays to be able to do that.

Luck over Newton? Sounds like Mayock is still bitter over Newton proving all of the football “geniuses” wrong. Luck is good, but I don’t see how a kid can go from being in an ideal situation (great coaching/great offensive line) in college and not prove to be a game changer to an NFL team where the playing field is a lot more even and become a game changer.

AlanFalcon

February 16th, 2012
8:05 am

Cedrick——–J.Russell, V. Young, J. Johnson and now Cam Newton, lets see if he follows the mold and falls off the cliff, I think the liar will probably go by the way side as these predecessors have, remember ( I know nothing, thought he and his father were close) and now he thinks he is Super man.

Hurt Kurbstreit

February 16th, 2012
8:16 am

Matt Ryan needs a good offensive line for him to be effective. The only deficit in his game is his lack of ability to escape the pass rush. That’s what Newton, Eli Manning and Drew Brees do so well. They escape the rush and extend the play. If you pick up a few extra first downs a game from the QB scrambling, that’s big. Ryan will always be a top 10 QB in the league. But if he wants to move up into the top 5 he has to have a good OL to protect him.

Willie

February 16th, 2012
8:49 am

Amazing people get paid for writing this stuff. Pointing out that Ryan needs to take the next step is like a Wall Street analyst downgrading a stock after it’s lost half it’s value. Of course Ryan needs to step up his game- the blogs and sports radio here have been saying this since Green Bay playoff meltdown last year. The comments about the other QBs were worthless also.

I'm Gumby, Dammit!!

February 16th, 2012
8:50 am

Ackshun, how can you say “the record proves that”, when there’s no record for Luck to base it on. Mayock has the right to say he thinks Luck will be better, without everybody pulling out the “card”, and yelling BS. Cam had a great year (he certainly surprised me), but let’s give this some time, before we annoint him the next savior. If I remember correctly, Ryan’s rookie year was pretty amazing, and now half you clowns have forgotten how moribund the franchise was before he got here.

Samuel

February 16th, 2012
8:50 am

Ok, let’s say the offensive line they assemble this year is above average. Matt Ryan has to make his team-mates better because the onus will be on him, If he can make big play’s under tremendous pressure and get a playoff win, I think you can say his game is going upward…..

ASHCAN

February 16th, 2012
8:58 am

Yep,matt needs to step it up.But over all, his arm strength will be his down fall.Dink and donk won’t get it done in this league.Whats the use of having speedy recievers if you can’t throw deep???? too many times i’ve seen his recievers stop and come back to the ball.Disagree all you want but facts are facts.

Just Sayin.....

February 16th, 2012
9:03 am

0-3 is 0-3. The facts don’t lie.

Every qb wants a great o-line. An Elite qb excels under any condition…..

Just sayin……………………..

GA Fan

February 16th, 2012
9:11 am

Enter your comments here

mark

February 16th, 2012
9:12 am

Cedric

Wow you didn’t watch Luck at all during his days at Stanford did ya? To bring race in to it was just wrong. Mayock does his homework, and I would be willing to bet my paycheck that race had nothing to do with his comments. Step into 2012 why dontcha!!!!

ATLFAN

February 16th, 2012
9:15 am

@ Just Saying ask Tom Brady in 07 and 11 about having a o-line. I’m just saying!

mark

February 16th, 2012
9:16 am

Guys it was a piece on NFC south QB’s. What else was he gonna say when he got to Ryan.. Was there something else you were expecting to hear?

UpperDeck4Life

February 16th, 2012
9:18 am

I’m sure all of you have seen the movie the Replacements. The play of Clabo this year made me think of that movie. When Gene Hackman is giving a little rundown on all of the players and he mentions that the two guards in the movie were two of the best until they were split up. Seems they never recovered from not playing together and were never played to the same level again. I agree with “Askshun” in the team undervaluing Dahl. The line and specifically Clabo just didn’t seem the same without him this year.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 16th, 2012
9:18 am

Falcons 4 Life – Just got my QuikTrip coffee. Who else is drinking early today? JSS?

DSmith

February 16th, 2012
9:25 am

What games have you all been watching? Even when he has times he doesn’t make the throws to put receivers in a position to make a play. Rodgers, Brady, Brees, even Eli throws the ball to covered receivers and trust them to make a play on the ball. It also seems that know ever wants to admit that he just doesn’t have good arm strength. He struggles on the rd in open air stadiums for a reason. Guess what the falcons want to bring to Atlanta; and “open air” stadium. Wow! I don’t blame Ryan, I blame every analyst, dimitroff and the coaching staff for not realizing a long time ago Ryan isn’t Brady and we should build a great defense to stop Bree’s and Rodgers and not waste pics and money on WRs that can stretch the field when we have a qb that can’t get the ball to them. I’m out guys tell me what you think!

True Falcon Fan

February 16th, 2012
9:27 am

WTF, Hey Sterling, jss is trying to imply that the NFL owner induced “Lockout” & CBA this past season was the fault of these player signings; Raiders “Russell” contract signing & the Falcons “Ryan” contract signing….Now do you get it????????? jss —- buddy you jus got up way too early this morning for everybody…… I always said you are the “Wondrous wizzard of OZ” —- You said it —- is that SF or LA —– LOLOLOLOLOL you are hilarious buddy —- If they still have that drag strip up in Dallas near Canton, you must have been standing too close to the racers fumes….You have brain cells that are gone bye bye

ASHCAN

February 16th, 2012
9:28 am

@ cedric,its always about black and white.When something is said it all depends on who says it(Black or white).Mayock and many more have been wrong most of the time.But then they call themselves experts.I don’t listen to none of them,i take my own assessment of drafted palyers and vets.These guys put the standards(Pressure) for these young men coming out of college so high,then when there espectations are not met,they call them busts.The ones whom they declare sorry(In so many words they do)(Cam, Tebow) saying what they can’t and aint gonna do, a lot of times rise to the occasion.Dled,i guess it would have been better for mark bradley or jeff schultz come up with this topic than for you to,if you know what i mean.

Falcons13and3

February 16th, 2012
9:37 am

It’s not surprising that you bloggers defend or support your own race when it comes to QB’s. That’s par for the course. Sure there are the J. Russells and V. Youngs of the world. Why do people still use them as comparisons to C. Newton. Then there are the J. Harrington and C. Redmons of the world. As far as C. Newton, We don’t know that he lied…we suspect it. And AlanFalcon, if you’ve never lied in your entire liffe, stand and take a bow. Actually we all should. Only our lies aren’t made globally public. Remember…glass house. And Cedrick, I agree that C. Newton probably has a remarkable career ahead of him. But let’s not discount A. Lucks potential. Just leave Mayock to eat his words once again.

UGABugKiller

February 16th, 2012
9:57 am

Oh guys, come on, you know JSS’s faux-failed journalist, Enron-like “smartest guy in the room” schtick by now.

Only someone with severe reading comprehension skills would read what Mayock says as direct crticism of Ryan (or maybe he didn’t actually read the actual quotes, just the lame AJC sensationalized title for the link), especially when Mayock mentioned the help Ryan needs to get fro
his team to reach the next level (as ALL QB’s do).

JSS isn’t drinking. That’s just his personality. :-)

PMC

February 16th, 2012
10:10 am

This is the understatement of the year. No question he has to be better and be good in the playoffs or his next contract will be smaller than his first at least in terms of guaranteed money.

I thought he progressed late in the season, but the game plan against NY was hot garbage. The worst ever by Mularkey at any time in his coaching tenure. Matt was again, awful.

This is basically a contract year for him coming up. If he comes up big like Eli in 2007, he’s going to get a fat contract. If he comes up small again, his replacement is potentially on the way.

Arlito

February 16th, 2012
10:19 am

Mayock: 10th round draft pick; 9 total NFL games. Yeah, he knows what it takes to be an NFL star.
I doubt Aaron, Drew, or Peyton would have much success with Atlanta’s recent play-calling: run (or lumber) off tackle; run (or squat) off tackle; look for Tony G. on 3rd and 9.

D man

February 16th, 2012
10:25 am

Here are the facts; last year the Falcons needed defense because we were torched by A. Rodgers. This year we need an offensive line because we couldn’t stop the Giants pass rush. So what have we done about it? We fired our offensive and defensive coordinators. We plugged some holes in the defense last year and the defense was better. So now we need to plug the holes in the offensive line AND keep our talent from leaving as free agents. Resign Grimes, and Abe. Get some good big O linemen, get a good CB to backup the starters and we are still a great team but improved. If Ryan can’t win a playoff game with that, then he will need to step it up…

Falcon James

February 16th, 2012
10:25 am

Matt Ryan problem is not his weak arm. His problem is the big mouth reciever he throw to way too much. His other problem is the tired leg running back he had off to way too much. But above all that, he biggest problem was the OC he had calling the play. At least that problem is fixed. Pretty sure the RB back problem will be fixed, and looking like Mr. Big Mouth, may have sealed his fate. Ryan a decent QB and when the line get they head out they butt and block for him, Ryan may be the best short throw QB in the league.

JSS

February 16th, 2012
10:44 am

You faux-football fans never followed the back story…
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3406508
and the Kevin Smith wanna-be and his turnstill lackey who can’t read a map wouldn’t understand if they had neuro implants with the data embedded…

Puppet Please

February 16th, 2012
10:51 am

When Ryan learns to quit being afraid and throw the ball where it needs to go and rely on the WR’s to get it…..he will take that next step….or he will fail miserably. But the time has come to find out if he has that talent or not. NFL defenses have figured out his isn’t going to throw the ball downfield unless the WR is wide open and that rarely happens in the NFL.

Matty, time to put on your big boy pants and nut up….the NFL doesn’t respect you and you either need to prove them wrong or go home and let us hook our wagon to somebody else with a spine.

JeanE

February 16th, 2012
10:55 am

Matt Ryan is not the type of QB that can be good without a top tier o-line. He’s not Eli out there making things happen while getting pummeled. That’s a fact. At this point, I’d say he can be “good enough.” WITH a much better o-line. But even with improved protection, he’s got to improve. He can look tough one game and then look like he’s falling down or going down before anyone even touches him! He may have a good football brain but I don’t know if his body is going to help him out, he is way unathletic.

Mike FR

February 16th, 2012
10:57 am

Is this supposed to be some game changing article? Of course MR needs to step up his game, as a matter of fact, every major area of the team needs to step it up in order to be considered an elite and dangerous team. Failing to do so (for MR, o-line,d-line, running game, wr,dbs) will let this team where it is, in a pretty good situation but not in championship caliber situation.

Rick

February 16th, 2012
11:07 am

didn’t eli get sacked more than ryan? yes. it’s more than the line. that is excuse making. he needs to stop being afraid and play big boy football. the problem was the coordinator. he’s gone. i expect more of an attacking offense next year.

Joey

February 16th, 2012
11:11 am

Ryan does need better protection by his OL. The big question for ‘12 is, will the new OC do a better job with this offense than he did with the Jags offense?

I’m betting no, not with Smith’s ultra conservative leanings.

BIGDAWGFAN

February 16th, 2012
11:21 am

Hey they cant go on strike this year.
Mabey i should not have said that.

JSS

February 16th, 2012
11:34 am

And there have been only two QBs in the modern era of the era of the draft (prior to 2009) who have gotten guaranteed salaries dollars above $25 millions: JaMarcus Russell and Matt Ryan. Between 1998 and 2008 (no one and I mean no one) is even in the ball park. Only one QB was paid 1st pick money when he was not the “actual” 1st pick of the draft: Matt Ryan.
http://www.ramsondemand.com/blog/2010/08/sam-bradford%E2%80%99s-mega-deal-underlines-the-need-for-an-nfl-rookie-wage-scale/
It set off a silly season pf throwing money around in signing bonuses for drafted QBs (2009-Stafford and 2010-Bradford). And for as much as Stafford’s guts and upside has impressed me, he is too fragile to have gotten $41 million in guaranteed money! But the Ryan contract set a new floor, bam!

When a Peyton Manning, who had taken a team to championship game only got $34.5 million in guaranteed money in his 2004 extension; then you guys don’t see the problem? The owners saw it, the NFLPA leadership saw it as a problem! What really expresses the mistake and the aftermath, two weeks of negotiations over the matter (the rookie scale) says as much, the reduction to 5 years (with the 5th year as a team option really emphasis the matter)!

joe whtie

February 16th, 2012
11:41 am

Hopefully we have a oc that will let him loose, we falcons ran no huddle kid put in good spots and we scored and moved the ball against anyone, When we huddle the other team knew what we was doing not all matt fault, but now with a new oc and hopefully we rebuild that oline and the defense get off the field on 3 and outs and allow the offense to get a rythm going we should be fine. I mean the kid has only won in first four years period.

thesportsdoctor

February 16th, 2012
11:47 am

Falcons ownership made it clear that they were more concerned about the image of their QB than whether or not he is an elite QB. Matt Ryan will probably always win 9+ games per year and will be 1 of the top 12 QB’s statistically every yr. I’m sure at some point he’ll probably win a 1st round playoff game then fold in the next round….He’s the ultimate GAME MANAGER. unfortunately he’s not close to being ELITE. In fact, I can only think of 1 time where he made what I considered an elite play in his Falcon career (sideline pass to Jenkins vs Chicago w/ 1 sec left on the clock setting up a GW FG). Every other truly Elite QB in this league has made game saving plays with average OL’s…the last time I looked, Big Ben, Eli & Aaron Rodgers didn’t have elite line play, yet they all have made ELITE level plays…Ben even played well in the playoffs this yr on 1 leg.

todd

February 16th, 2012
12:02 pm

I don’t think the article said anything about “the jury is still out” on Matt Ryan. It says he needs to take the next step- which is pretty obvious. Mike Smith needs to take the next step, Arthur Blank needs to take the next step. The franchise needs to start winning playoff games since they have been so successful in the regular season. The three playoff games they lost were to superbowl teams so not like anyone else in the NFL were beating those teams either. RELAX on Matt Ryan. He’s a winner.

[...] Network draft expert Mike Mayock weighed in on projected No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck this week, and his endorsement didn’t glow: “As [...]

PMC

February 16th, 2012
12:16 pm

JSS, what were the numbers on Matt Stafford? I thought the guarantee was pretty high for him too.

PMC

February 16th, 2012
12:16 pm

The 6th year I think is what increased the Ryan contract.

PMC

February 16th, 2012
12:19 pm

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/draft09/news/story?id=4097641 At least what was published anyway, Stafford 41.7 Million Guaranteed.