Updated: Ryan won’t call himself elite quarterback

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) take the field for their preseason game against the Bengals at the Georgia Dome Thursday. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) takes the field for a preseason game against the Bengals at the Georgia Dome Thursday. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Vivlamore reporting from the Georgia Dome.

Matt Ryan is not concerned with his status among NFL quarterbacks.

When asked prior to last season whether he was an elite quarterback, the Giants’ Eli Manning said he thought he belonged with the best of those currently in the game. Despite an impressive start to this season, Ryan won’t make such a declaration.

“It doesn’t matter,” Ryan said following Thursday’s exhibition game against the Bengals when asked by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution if he thought he was among the upper-echelon of quarterbacks in the league. “It doesn’t matter what I think or what anyone else thinks. It matters how we win. That’s where my focus is. Other than that, I don’t really worry about it too much. I don’t think about it. I don’t worry about it.”

Ryan begins his fifth season as the Falcons install a new offensive scheme. Through two exhibition games, he has completed 27-of-34 passes (79 percent) for 329 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. All this as the first-team offense has run a total of 48 plays – 70 percent passes – in games against the Ravens and Bengals.

Ryan completed his first 11 passes in Thursday’s 24-19 loss to the Bengals, including all nine first-quarter attempts. He completed his first six attempts in last week’s loss to the Ravens. In each game, the Falcons held the lead when the first unit departed.

You can count Tony Gonzalez as one willing to make a proclamation about the status of Ryan.

“He’s always been a really, really good player but I think he’s starting to make that jump to becoming a great player and one of the upper echelon players in the league,” Gonzalez said. “I think that comes with maturity and the simple state of mind offense that [new offensive coordinator] Dirk [Koetter] brought in here coupled with the players he has around him. Now with him as a fifth year player in the NFL, I think he’s starting to become the player he can be and the guy that we’ve seen a lot of but now we’re going to see it a lot more consistently.”

Ryan’s 27 completions this exhibition season have been thrown to nine different receivers: Julio Jones (9 receptions), Roddy White (8), Michael Turner (3), Gonzalez (2), Mike Cox (1), Jacquizz Rodgers (1), Michael Palmer (1), Harry Douglas (1) and Lousaka Polite (1).

On a second-quarter drive Thursday, the Falcons never had a third down in a nine-play, 88-yard drive that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown pass to Polite. Ryan was 7-for-8 for 74 yards. The only miss was a deep pass intended for Jones that snapped Ryan’s streak of 11 straight completions.

Ryan said the early look at the Falcons’ new offense doesn’t mean the season will rest on his right arm.

“I think last year in preseason game number three against Pittsburgh we threw it like 40 times in the first half,” Ryan said. “That’s just the nature of some of the things we are trying to work on to get better for the regular season. I wouldn’t buy too much into it.”

So, are the Falcons still a run-first team, the staple of Mike Smith’s tenure as coach?

“Score points [that] is our Falcons’ offensive identity,” Ryan said. “Preseason you work on some different things and we’ve been trying to get comfortable with different things.”

With the first-team offense, the Falcons have run the ball only 30 percent of the time in two exhibition games. They have a total of 152 yards on the ground – 81 against the Bengals and 71 against the Ravens. Turner has just 14 yards on eight carries.

Ryan was 18 of 21 for 174 yards against the Bengals in almost a half of play before making way for Chris Redman, John Parker Wilson and Dominique Davis. Smith and Ryan both credited the offensive line with much of the passing success. Ryan said he has yet to be hit despite the propensity to pass.

“For me, I’m just trying to make good decisions and be accurate with the football,” Ryan said. “I have really talented wide receivers and tight ends and my job is to try to get them the ball in a good spot to make a play with it. That is where my focus has been at and I’m going to try to keep it there.”

- Chris Vivlamore

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65 comments Add your comment

Michael M.

August 16th, 2012
10:46 pm

First……………………………

D-led I am not impressed with this game tonight maybe I am noy seeing what others may be seeing.

Dr J

August 16th, 2012
11:26 pm

Ryan is going to shine this year. And does anybody else think Dominique Davis should be the #2 QB behind Matt Ryan. He’s better than both Redman and JPW.

Michael M.

August 16th, 2012
11:31 pm

100 percent agree o that ………..the kid has a strong arm and can escape the pocket……………

Brad in NY

August 16th, 2012
11:32 pm

Still gotta run the ball to win. No running game = no Super Bowl.

Michael M.

August 16th, 2012
11:38 pm

1st half reminded me of last year ……..offense asleep 1 quarter then wake up and play the next quarter, I was like, here we go again……………………

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

August 16th, 2012
11:40 pm

Why is Chris Redman still getting reps???? He stunk up the field again tonight. I’m not a huge John Parker Wilson fan but he has looked better than Redman in both preseason games.

I am hoping that Davis will have an opportunity to show what he can do before the 4th quarter in the next two games.

Oh'man

August 16th, 2012
11:41 pm

Guys, our defense is going to suck ! Offense is looking good but our defense looks small and scared especially Decoud !

falCANS

August 16th, 2012
11:49 pm

All are aware we didnt game plans right?? Glad to see Roddy isnt still Roddy. Not impressed with HD. Turner looks extremly old. It will be interestin to see if Turner isnt released/traded/benched

falCANS

August 16th, 2012
11:53 pm

I meant Roddy IS still Roddy

Michael M.

August 16th, 2012
11:53 pm

The bright spot I saw tonight was when the kid Davis was in a hole think it was 2nd and 28 and threw a pass closed to the 1st down marker and got the 1st on the next play ………then moved the offense on down the field and scored a touchdown.

Now what did redman and parker do again ? I must have been napping……………………………….

Michael M.

August 16th, 2012
11:56 pm

Harry Douglas did come up with the tipped ball on redmam’s behalf and extended that one drive where they got a fieldgoal…………he saved oke red’s life on that one.

jaz

August 17th, 2012
12:03 am

Dominique is a “natural” at QB. Let him play with the first team and who knows what he will do, probably put on a clinic. On the other side of the coin, our D better find an answer to the long ball.

Michael M.

August 17th, 2012
12:06 am

I will say this before I hit the haysack here………….Davis doesn’t get a QB Roster Spot on this club and something happens to Matt , we are one well cooked Goose and you can bank it………………….

JSS

August 17th, 2012
12:30 am

Sorry, this team is not going to win too many shootouts with the offensive elites of the NFC…

NY Falcon fan

August 17th, 2012
12:39 am

Pause, all you doom and gloom people. It’s the preseason and the games are just like scrimmages against someone who doesn’t know your plays like your own defense or offense. The goal is to make to the REGULAR season healthy. I also feel comfortable in saying that the Davis kid will have a spot on the roster as a backup QB. One constant remain the same; when it comes to falcons fans….always all over the place with the comments. Just calm down and act like you’ve been there before.

Headmofo

August 17th, 2012
12:44 am

Dominique Davis has clearly out performed Chris Redman and John Parker Wilson respectively. One might say that it may be time for the brass to consider moving on with Dominique Davis and picking up a proven veteran to back up Matt Ryan this year like a Donovan Mc Nabb to give Dominique Davis another year to develop. Dominique should/could play himself into the number 2 job. Had he have had any of the receiver’s step up on the field tonight, we would have won the game.

Dominique, if the front office screws this up. Not to fear, your performance is on tape, you will be on someone’s roster this year. It is my hope that you remain a Falcon. You give this team something that the other Quarterbacks don’t. Your athletic ablility speaks for itself, but I also see your arm as an asset and weapon.

Consider this: Matt Ryan is injured during the game 2nd quarter of any game (pocket passer). Insert Dominque Davis as your back up Quarterback. Defensive Coordinators’s butt cheeks just tightened up. Dominique has an arm and has wheels to boot. Teams would much rather prepare for Matt Ryan.

We have a true back up Quarterback in Dominique Davis should Matt Ryan go down. Lets all hope the brass wraps this guy up!

[...] victoryWashington PostBengals TE Gresham leaves with right knee injurySI.comChicago Tribune -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 516 news [...]

larry

August 17th, 2012
3:21 am

Elite QB, Ryan????? OMG, he hasnt even won a playoff game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOLOLOLROFLLOL!!!!!!!! They will not even make the playoffs this year, soley due to Matty “ice cold” Ryan. Check last seasons schedule, only one team, count them, ONE, was even considered a decent team that the falcons beat, and that was the Lions. This year is a different story, Falcons will be lucky to win four games, I have them winning only three. Elite QB in Ryan, wow, not even close!!!!!!!!!! lol

BobbyDawg

August 17th, 2012
5:19 am

The worst part is the O-line. Little or no changes. Top teams with a strong pass rush are gonna kill Ryan who is just a little bit better than average qb on his best day.

Marcus in Ellenwood

August 17th, 2012
6:12 am

Of course Matt Ryan won’t call himself an elite passer. Matt Ryan is not a liar. Matt knows he is very decent QB.

If you describe Matt Ryan’s overall game; all you can say is Matt Ryan is solid quarterback.

I hope we can get a Great QB before Julio and Roddy are to old to be elite wide receivers.

Gave up my season tickets after 11 yeras!

August 17th, 2012
7:35 am

Last week the talk was how well the 1st D -looked…It wasnt our D it was the Ravens O….still can’t stop the passing attacks. At LB the James looks good…Move Nick to the middle LB spot…..is should be James,Nick & the spoon at LB….I forgot im not a falcon coach or scout…..The O must get Rogers and Smith to running because Turner the Burner have burned out…….He havent run since his injury….and now hold us back…COMMON”’ COACHES you dont see that…….You see a lot in HD on a 60″ TV…….

Gave up my season tickets after 11 Seasons!

August 17th, 2012
7:41 am

The Last Season……Turner, Coach Smith, Ryan and the double nickle…..

1911A1

August 17th, 2012
8:47 am

Winning football games. Period. Ice gets it.

ATLER(RAMBLIN WRECK)

August 17th, 2012
8:49 am

He knows he isn’t an elite QB. D. Davis is the truth!!!!

tidog

August 17th, 2012
8:49 am

He seems more comfortble moving out of pocket and doing a better job of throwing for accuracy. The mobilty seems better than ever. This new found mobilty could be very beneficial for the offense.

[...] SIDEBAR: Matt won’t call himself an elite QB after completing 18 of 21 [...]

DZ

August 17th, 2012
9:40 am

From watching the game live, my favorite play of the game from Matt, is when he got flushed out of the pocket in the 2nd quarter, scrambles about 5 yards, scans the defenders, plants, then throws a strike to Palmer for about 18 yards.

Great mobility getting out of the pocket, and then having the awareness of where the pass rush was, planting his feet, then getting some zip from his throw.

Last year, he would have kept running, then made some crap on the move throw. I see big things this year from Ryan.

ws

August 17th, 2012
9:45 am

Turner the burner is over the hill. All rushing yards in preseason have came from Rodgers and SMITH last night Smith look good. he has alot of speed that Rogers doesn’t had. Turner looks like he is running in sand.

Fan

August 17th, 2012
9:45 am

I think that Davis should be Matt’s backup because if something happens too Matt we are done… Redman and Wilson just cannot get the job done.. This guy Davis should make this team … Atlanta will be 0-4 in preseason guys because they are working out schemes on both sides of the ball

Saints2013

August 17th, 2012
9:50 am

hahahahaha and may i add ha

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 17th, 2012
9:50 am

larry – Where have you been?

ws

August 17th, 2012
9:56 am

Jerry look like he has finally came too life. In two preseason games he has looked good. He had a bad call on him with face mask call.
I like what I see out of the defense with first team on field. Falcons will be in game with Nolans defense.
Two preseason games has been lost with players that will not even be around on opening day . Let them play and take the injuries.
Who cares if we win preseason games, They do not count for anything. Smitty is smart by playing players trying too make team. And I am not a Smith fan.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 17th, 2012
10:01 am

Michael M. — The offense can’t stall in the redzone. Turner needs a lead blocker. I think the defense will be fine. They never get to tackle in practice, so the missed tackles shouldn’t be a surprise.

sharky

August 17th, 2012
10:46 am

Ryan is humble right now, I can’t wait until he get’s cocky. I think the arrival of Davis has made him think about competition for the first time since he’s been a Falcons. Ryan will be an elite QB this year.

goodgod

August 17th, 2012
11:13 am

The Bengal defense is a top tier defense, so our starting offense looked real good against them…..I’ve been a Matt Ryan basher before, but he looked amazing last night//He looked like a field general attacking that defense, he appeared to overcome defense rushes and was striking down field with presision//i was blown away by the whole team. the defense knocking the ball out of defenders hands and aggresively being in the back field in the first half. only watch the first half with the starters. looked real good.

DJ Sniper

August 17th, 2012
11:26 am

I agree with the earlier post about Matt looking much better when being flushed out of the pocket. A new OC has done him pretty good so far. Can’t wait for the regular season.

SirReal

August 17th, 2012
11:49 am

I expect good things from Ryan this year.

On another note, there has been a lot of hating on Turner lately. I think some is justified but hey, how would you feel if you lost a perrenial Pro Bowl FB? We all know the line needs work. The guy still carried this offense for the past 3-4 years. I have seen a bit of decline but I still say he’s a very solid runner. May not give you multiple 100 yard games this year but Ds still have to respect Turner. He made the top 100 list…Ryan did not. Says something about how their peers feel about him around the league.

andrae

August 17th, 2012
12:15 pm

I love the Falcons!!!! They are my team but they anger me!! i know its preseason but why is our 2nd and 3rd string guys so bad?? dropped passes, no pressure, and cant tackle. Ravens and the Bengals 2nd and 3rd string guys looked like NFL players. Not only can we not afford to see Matt Ryan get hurt but non of our starters can get hurt or the season is possibly jacked.

Asante looked like trash!!!! he got beat multiple times and he missed at least one tackle. Shut up and play. I like Floyd Mayweather because he talks trash and then backs it up, but Asante has done a lot of talking and entertaining but has not backed all that mouth up with actual game play!!!!!

CAN THE D-LINE PLEASE MAKE A TACLE ON THE QB????? since Arron Rogers torched us I have noticed our guys dont know how to blitz nor tackle the QB. We might get there but just touch him. WhenIi watch other teams blitz they get pressure, thier guys take good angles and the proper gaps. Our guys get stuffed at the line of scrimmage or just blocked.

I know this is preseason but my eyes work and if they didnt want me having an opinion they shouldnt televise the game!! lol, just kiddin (not really)

Enkinan

August 17th, 2012
12:23 pm

Matt looked great and I’m really hoping they move Davis up to #2. Jaquizz also looked good again, I have a feeling he will be used a lot this season since he can also catch. There simply won’t be enough defensive players to cover our talent on offense as long as the o-line can step up.

[...] SIDEBAR: Matt won’t call himself an elite QB after completing 18 of 21 [...]

Jay Dubu

August 17th, 2012
1:29 pm

“Ryan won’t call himself elite quarterback” ….and neither should anyone else.

He’s led his team to Z-E-R-O playoff wins. Even when they were the favorites, playing at home, having had an additional weeks rest and prep time.

I realize it’s more than just the QB, but that’s the guy the media keeps throwing in our face when talking about the Falcons.

[...] SIDEBAR: Matt won’t call himself an elite QB after completing 18 of 21 [...]

Patricia

August 17th, 2012
2:20 pm

My daughter and I would REALLY like to see Davis quarterbacking the second quarter rather than the fourth. We would also like to see him be BACKUP quarterback for Matt Ryan because we think he’s absolutely awesome. The players seem to listen to him and he puts the ball where he says he’s going to and it isn’t his fault that the receivers can’t catch it!!!! We need DAVIS on the team on second string!!! Just saying……

Patricia

August 17th, 2012
2:23 pm

P.S. Of course, Matt Ryan is still sensational and Roddy White is STILL Roddy White! :) Lots of other good ones on the team as well, as well!! I love our Falcons!!!!

Patricia

August 17th, 2012
2:25 pm

Yes, it’s me yet again……didn’t mean to repeat myself on the last post. Got excited, I guess!

teamguy

August 17th, 2012
2:52 pm

I thought we had a solid performance from the first team last night. Asante is going to get burned once in awhile, but he’ll make a ton of plays.

As for the Ryan haters, why do I get the feeling that their problem with Matt has more to do with skin hue than performance? And I don’t give a rat’s patoot whether he’s ever referred to as “elite”. . .who even knows what that means?

Domique Davis should be on this team as the #2 QB. He has out-performed the other guys hands down.

Logan Walker

August 17th, 2012
3:22 pm

Correction- Matty’s streak was snapped on a tipped ball in the redzone, not on the deep pass to Julio.

[...] “It doesn’t matter,” Ryan said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It doesn’t matter what I think or what anyone else thinks. It matters how we win. That’s where my focus is. Other than that, I don’t really worry about it too much. I don’t think about it. I don’t worry about it.” [...]

"Dirty"Harry Callahan

August 17th, 2012
4:56 pm

A mans got to know his limitations !

Surg

August 17th, 2012
5:27 pm

Ryan will make believers out of the nons… How the hell can some of you folks call yourself fans when our QB is playing lights out in the preseason and you STILL can’t stop talking about last year? Like a player can’t progress no matter how hard he works? Nope, we haven’t won a playoff game yet, neither did Brees, Peyton, Rodgers, or Eli at this stage of their career. Use common football sense if you’re going to critique someone..