BIRDLAND — Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan fared much better in the “Jaws QB Countdown” series than in the Top 100 players ranking.
ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski has examined each of the league’s veteran starting quarterbacks and Tim Tebow.
The daily series has been running on SportsCenter, NFL Live and NFL32 and will culminate with Jaworski’s top-ranked quarterback Tuesday, July 10.
Ryan and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo were unveiled as the 11th- and 10th-ranked NFL veteran starters respectively. Ryan is ranked directly in front of former Falcons quarterbacks Michael Vick (12th) and Matt Schaub (13th). He is three spots ahead of former Georgia quarterback and present Detroit Lion Matthew Stafford (14th).
Ryan wasn’t ranked in the NFL Network’s Top 100 ranking. There were 13 other quarterbacks who made that ranking, which was voted on by players around the league.
Ryan has guided the Falcons to the playoffs three times in four seasons in the league and has posted a 43-19 regular-season record. He is 0-3 in the playoffs.
“Number 11 on my quarterback big board is Matt Ryan,” Jaworski said. “You know what I really appreciate about Ryan? He has improved in each of his four years as the Falcons starter. How about this, folks? He’s won 69 percent of his NFL starts. That’s pretty good!”
He went on to describe Ryan’s playing style.
“Ryan is a timing and rhythm passer,”Jaworski said. “He hits his back foot, and the ball comes out. First down was the explosive play down for Ryan. He had 24 completions of 20 yards or more. …I also like Ryan’s natural feel for anticipating throws.”
Last season, the Falcons were 10-6 and went to playoffs as one of the NFC’s wild-card teams. They were defeated in the playoffs by the New York Giants, who went on to win the Super Bowl.
“In 2011, Ryan was given more responsibility at the line of scrimmage,” Jaworski said. “The ability to control the game before the snap is an increasingly-important attribute in today’s NFL.”
The Falcons are hoping that Ryan continues to improve and joins some of the elite quarterbacks around the league.
“Ryan is right on the edge of being a top-10 NFL quarterback,” Jaworski said. “I love the way he’s engaged in every single game. But there’s still one element of Ryan’s game that needs work. He must become more consistent in what I call a ‘muddy pocket’, with bodies flying around him. Right now, he needs that comfortable cradle, that functional space. If he improves in that area, he’ll crack my top 10.”
No. 30 –Tim Tebow, New York Jets
No. 29 — Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars
No. 28 — Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings
No. 27 — Matt Flynn, Seattle Seahawks
No. 26– Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins
No. 25– Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals
No. 24 — Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
No. 23 — Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
No. 22 — Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs
No. 21 — Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders
No. 20 — Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
No. 19 — Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
No. 18 — Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee Titans
No. 17 — Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No. 16 — Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
No. 15 — Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
No. 14 — Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
No. 13 — Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
No. 12 — Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
No. 11 — Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
No. 10 — Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog