Are Ryan’s preseason numbers a sign of things to come?

Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch.

FLOWERY BRANCH – Matt Ryan is entering an important part of his career as an NFL quarterback. If preseason statistics are any indication – and they may or may not be – the Falcons signal caller is off to a good start.

In three exhibition games, Ryan has completed 45-of-60 passes (75 percent) for 549 yards (183 yards per game) with three touchdowns, one interception and a quarterback rating of 112.4. His passing percentage, total yards, yards per game and 11 completions of 20 or more yards leads all quarterbacks this preseason heading into Sunday’s games. His rating and number of completions are second.

Impressive? Yes.

A sign of things to come this season? Stay tuned.

Falcons coach Mike Smith, while impressed with Ryan’s numbers, cautions that teams are not game planning during the preseason. The reads a quarterback must make are not as involved as they will be in the regular season.

Tight end Tony Gonzalez says Ryan, who is entering his fifth season, is making the proper strides in the progression of becoming a great NFL quarterback.

“For the average NFL football player it takes him about three years to really adapt to the game, the speed of the game, the understanding of the game, the X’s and O’s and the physicality of the game,” Gonzalez said. “For quarterbacks, it takes about five or six years before they really come into their own, from what I’ve seen. I’m talking about great ones too – Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady – to put up big-time numbers and not just win.

“I think that is what is happening with Matt here. He’s gone the normal progression and we expect big thing from him.”

Ryan and the Falcons have featured the passing game during the preseason. With the first-team offense on the field in the three exhibitions, the Falcons have thrown 60 times and ran just 32 times.

Smith again cautioned that the propensity to pass during the preseason is the nature of exhibition games.

“If you look statistically across the league there are more passes thrown in the preseason than there are runs,” Smith said. “People are working on different things. The skills that you have to perfect in the passing game are a little more intricate. You want to make sure you get your guys as healthy as you can to the first game and there is a lot of contact when you run the football.”

However, Gonzalez said the increase in passing “might be a “telltale sign” of things to come. It would be an increasing departure from the ball-control offense the Falcons have run the past four seasons. The evolution of the offense comes with the maturity of Ryan, a simplification and a familiarity of the offense for the quarterback and the adjustments made with new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Still, the running game will be an important part of the offense, according to Gonzalez.

“It’s been a foundation of the Atlanta Falcons from before I got here,” Gonzalez said. “They like to pound the rock. But Matt is definitely having success with all the receivers. You want to be in a position where you can say [to the defense] ‘Do you want the pass? Or do you want the run?’ Let’s keep the defense on their heels and we’ll make the choice and let them catch up with us.”

The preseason is one thing. The regular season is another. But it is the postseason that really matters. The Falcons, with Smith and Ryan, are 0-3 in the playoffs. The offense failed to score in last season’s 24-2 loss to the Giants, the two points coming via a safety.

Ryan has been surrounded by offensive weapons such as Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas, Michael Turner and Gonzalez.

It’s time for the Falcons, with Ryan leading the way, to take that next step.

Gonzalez knows it.

“This is what you want to see, this is why he went No. 3 in the draft, this is why you have all these expectations and you’ve seen the upside of what he can do, this is what it can translate to,” Gonzalez said of his quarterback. “You are starting to see it come to fruition, especially with the players they’ve brought in here and the way he’s capable of slinging the rock around. This is where it should be. We’ve done it in the preseason. We’ve got to carry it into the season.”

Smith knows it too.

“Matt has, obviously, had his best preseason since we’ve been here. He’s distributed the ball to the wide receivers and the running backs. When he does that, we are going to have a chance to be successful.”

- Chris Vivlamore


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47 comments Add your comment


August 26th, 2012
7:51 pm

Oh yea, First baby! And Go Braves and Falcons and hopefully I pass my test with an A!


August 26th, 2012
8:18 pm

In Matt I trust!! #SuperBowl

Big Crimson 75

August 26th, 2012
8:21 pm

Reports elsewhere say Peters is out for Season.
Of course, the ajc is the last to know.


August 26th, 2012
8:23 pm



August 26th, 2012
8:26 pm

Damn Peters out for the season? I was hoping to see him and Jerry on the field at the same time this season…

Michael M.

August 26th, 2012
8:45 pm

You can betcha they be some commenters on this post…………..haha!………………………………………………………………………..

I see a difference in Ryan this year so far than last Season , apparently he did his homework during the offseason………………………………..

Michael M.

August 26th, 2012
8:46 pm

add a new OC to the mix also…………………………………………….

william cranman

August 26th, 2012
8:56 pm

ESPN is reporting that Corey Peters is out for the year.

Michael M.

August 26th, 2012
9:10 pm

w c………………I don’t see nuthin about being out for the year there………………………………………..

Michael M.

August 26th, 2012
9:13 pm

Peters has been sidelined all preseason by a foot injury. He’ll be eligible to begin practicing after the sixth game of the season and the Falcons then will have three weeks to decide if they want to activate him.

"Dirty"Harry Callahan

August 26th, 2012
9:29 pm

After watching all of the nfc south games , I can with certainty say that the Falcons have a very good chance of coming in 2nd or 3rd behind the New Orleans Saints and the Bucs or Panthers .

william cranman

August 26th, 2012
9:57 pm

It was on the bottom crawl of ESPN about an hour ago. I rewinded it to make sure and that’s what it said. Hope it’s wrong.


August 26th, 2012
10:00 pm

Matt Ryan has the mental & physical attributes as well as all of the intagibles required to be a great QB!

We should all be proud to have Matt Ryan as the primary leader of the Atlanta Falcons!

Rise Up Nation

August 26th, 2012
10:18 pm

Time for Smitty to realize that Ryan strives in a passing offense. If Smith does not let him play “free” this year then he is the conservative clog that scares me. Let him do what he does best! Lets go birds!

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August 27th, 2012
12:06 am


Julio Jones

August 27th, 2012
12:38 am

Matt Ryan will get me hurt with all his underthrows deep down the field to me…he needs to get better at his deep throws, but trying hard to be an explosive offense tho.

Dez Cahones

August 27th, 2012
12:50 am

Sure Julio w.e

D man

August 27th, 2012
12:52 am

Matt is a great QB. He will have a better year than last.

The Real Rick

August 27th, 2012
6:37 am

Ryan may not have the same numbers for the year, but he’s going to light it up nonetheless

Melted Ice top 10 QB? Can't stop laughing....

August 27th, 2012
6:46 am

FAILCANT fans are delusional….Saints are superior….keep pinning your hopes on preseason victories….that is what LOSERS do aka FAILCANTS…this explains why you have NO SB RING or playoff victory in 3 years….your team is an embarrassment….


Trolling,trolling,trolling….you’re such an easy fan base to tweak….

4th best team in the NFC South? Your GhettoLanta FAILCANTS…..


August 27th, 2012
7:08 am

I tend to believe our TE, TG when he states someting about football.

Michael M.

August 27th, 2012
7:18 am

Looks like another hurricane has New Orleans in its crosshairs possibly………………………you know I never could understand why anyone would want to live where the land is below sea-level but as it looks it might be another soaking and flooding storm for that area and I send best wishes out to that area and the peeps that live there and hope they all stay safe…………… know football is one thing and like the above comment , it don’t bother me because Atlanta Fans rise -up above that kind of garbage but anyway this is to all who live there, ” Stay safe and stay out of harm’s way ” !…………………………………………………I rather have you back on this blog ragging us than floatin upside down like a bobber in the water !……………………………………………………………


August 27th, 2012
7:34 am

Chris V — who says a passing offense can’t be a ball control offense… NO, Green Bay, SF with Montana/Young…. it’s not cut and dry that more passes = less ball control. Isn’t now, never has been.


August 27th, 2012
7:53 am

I want to see Matt Ryan in the playoffs, making plays when there’s alot of pressure on him and still getting the win. Now that’s a sign of real progress.


August 27th, 2012
9:10 am

Hey D-Led I believe that Matt Ryan’s completion percentage for the season will be 65% or higher!! This is the year he shuts up all the naysayers!! I believe that Dirk Koetter has implemented some new passing route combinations that will help increase completion as well as more accuracy on deep throws!! Can’t wait!! RISE UP!!

St Simons

August 27th, 2012
9:10 am

he’s gonna have to be 3 times better than anybody else,
scoring 3 pts at the time, while everybody else is scoring 7.

And with No LT, no good nfl backup – as soon as he gets his head
knocked off, they’ll be 5-11. yay. Really, this is the N-F-L


August 27th, 2012
9:13 am

Ryan will have a great year as long as he keeps throwing at least 3 passes a game to Turner and Julio keeps his yards after catch average around 7. Even Roddy has run a few times after he caught the ball instead of diving on the ground, but it is still early and he hasn’t taken a big hit yet. Tony G needs some stickum on his gloves this year. Sorry, Quizz, I’m not impressed.

If the Jets can trot out Tebow to run the wildcat, can we bring out Davis when we want to throw deep. What a sweet arm.


August 27th, 2012
9:20 am

Yes absolutely. The offense just looks more insync this time this year than it did in previous years. I like the overall scheme.

What I don’t like is the continued inability to score TD’s in the red area. I also don’t think they can get a yard when they need one. Not sure what the toss to quizz was on 4th and 2 the other night, but that said, heck yeah I’m excited about the offense.


August 27th, 2012
9:24 am

August 27th, 2012
8:27 am

Falcons gonna have the season sweep over the Saints….I can guarantee that and I would put any amount of money down on that. GO FALCONS!
Falcons will be undefeated in November! FACT!


August 27th, 2012
9:45 am

Melted Ice top 10 QB? Can’t stop laughing….
August 27th, 2012
6:46 am

If you’re gonna take time to attempt to troll at least try to be clever…………you’re just stupid.



August 27th, 2012
10:07 am

Aside from M. Ryan’s statistics, his knowledge of the NFL game has matured to a very high level. He is ready to take command during the toughest of times. He has the intelligence, knowledge, leadership and insight to run a no huddle-hurry up offense and he is ready to execute with the best of them. I can’t wait! And I know that Dirk K. is smart enough to give him the reins when the going gets tough. This is what separates the elite QBs from the great QBs and M. Ryan is on the way! GO MATT! GO FALCONS!


August 27th, 2012
10:22 am

How’s the OLine looking?
They are the key to Ryan and the Falcon’s success.


August 27th, 2012
10:54 am

OL is improved consierably from last season, but still not playoff team good. Fairly average NFL line with not much upside really.

I think they’ll be solid in pass pro but not able to move anyone back and every short yardage try is goingt to have to be a pass. They aren’t built to bully anyone.


August 27th, 2012
11:46 am

I hope it is a sign of things to come.LOL I dont think the O line is much better….just that Ryan’s getting the ball out quicker b/c WR have better routes than the Tecmo Bowl ones in Mularkey’s playbook….lol

Flacons never learn

August 27th, 2012
12:10 pm

Mr Blanks pleeezzzz sigh T O now. He was cuy by the Sewhaks and he would be prefect here with Domanique Davis. Dont keep making the same misteaks by letting him go 2 anoter team.


August 27th, 2012
12:45 pm

Matty Slice underthrew Julio by 10 yds…
He is the master of the 10-15 yd dink/dunk game…
Yet, when the big boys (NYG/NOS, etc) come around…
I.E….playoff time…it’s deer in the headlights and puppy nuts!


August 27th, 2012
1:15 pm

Flacons never learn
August 27th, 2012
12:10 pm

Mr Blanks pleeezzzz sigh T O now. He was cuy by the Sewhaks and he would be prefect here with Domanique Davis. Dont keep making the same misteaks by letting him go 2 anoter team.


Hey, Melted Ice top 10 QB? Can’t stop laughing…., I said to get clever, not stupider.


August 27th, 2012
1:16 pm

Matt will be fine this year. Lets just concentrate on KC first. I dont like all this playoff talk.

Just Sayin.....

August 27th, 2012
1:26 pm

Dink & Dunk is for Dunkin doughnuts.

Just sayin…..

Just Sayin.....

August 27th, 2012
1:29 pm

2008 Falcons will go all the way…..1 and done.
2009 This is the Falcons year…..Missed playoffs.
2010 The Falcons can’t be stopped…..Blown out by Green Bay
2011 Superbowl baby……Shutout by Giants.

Scratch records were replaced by cassettes.

Just sayin…..

C Patterson

August 27th, 2012
2:47 pm

Some people just don’t give Matt Ryan enough respect or credit . He is one of the top ten quarterbacks. You aints give your team to much credit. Our defense so far in the preseason looks a whole lot better than your defense. You guys better watch out. GO FALCONS!!!

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

August 27th, 2012
5:10 pm

I totally agree that Matt Ryan has the potential to be a “GREAT QB” this year. The main thing that will prevent this from happening this year (Matt taking it to the next level) is the Falcons offensive line.

So far during the preseason the OL hasn’t been real good at opening holes for the RBs nor has the pass protection been sufficient for Matt to have time to look for the open receiver when you compare the amount of time that he has to the other elite QBs.


August 27th, 2012
5:34 pm

Everybody calm down birds and stinks fans lets let our action do the talking dont respond to those swamp people they love us so much they cant even go to nawlings stinks web site get a life


August 27th, 2012
5:57 pm

so sick of people hating on matt ryans arm. He can make all the throws and makes smart throws as well. Like that deep pass to julio the other day wasnt underthrown, it was put where only julio could get to it, if you didnt catch that look again. matt ryan is the man! atl sweeps the saints maybe the south

Falcon James

August 27th, 2012
11:01 pm

Here is the way we should do it.
First Down-Pass
Second Down-Pass
Third Down -Pass
Forth and inches-Punt

The Reader

August 28th, 2012
9:24 am

Re: Arthur and his excellent coaches, etc. comments during Miami game. We will remind you in January!