And with the first pick, Miami takes … not Matt Ryan!

Try to imagine Matt Ryan wearing a Dolphins hat on draft day. Don't worry. It was just a nightmare.

Try to imagine Matt Ryan wearing a Dolphins hat on draft day. OK, nightmare over.

The other day in Weekend Predictions — a weekly and somewhat hallucinatory departure from this planet — I recounted how Bill Parcells solicited a job offer from Falcons owner Arthur Blank in December of 2007, only to then give him the standard hello-I-must be-going Bronx salute and take a similar position with the Miami Dolphins.

Actually, I’m not really sure Parcells ever gave Blank an official salute. He might have just left one of those little Bobby Petrino sticky notes on the door of the executive washroom.

But today, we recall another interesting tie between the Falcons and Dolphins, before Sunday’s season opener at the Georgia Dome: Matt Ryan.

Seems  hard to believe now. But Ryan actually was only the third player selected in the 2008 draft. Miami passed on him first overall, opting for left tackle Jake Long. St. Louis passed on him second overall, taking defensive end Chris Long. What’s even harder to believe is really smart people like me thought Thomas Dimitroff must have been dropped on his head at some point for taking Ryan and passing on Kansas City defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey. (I was just kidding. Sort of like taking Georgia over Oklahoma State.)

We know the rest. Ryan threw a touchdown pass on his first NFL attempt. He was named Rookie of the Year. He helped heal a franchise, its owner and a city. He led the Falcons to an 11-5 record and the playoffs. Parcells is fortunate. Because if the Dolphins didn’t also have a strong season, and had tanked, he’d be fried in South Florida.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with Jake Long. Great left tackles are difficult to come by in the NFL, and obviously it’s an important position. But Long isn’t Ryan — and certainly neither is Miami quarterback Chad Pennington (solid but injury prone).

Knowing what you know now about Ryan, imagine how would you would feel if you saw him emerge from the tunnel Sunday in a Dolphins uniform?

The Florida Sun-Sentinel noted that former Dallas quarterback-turned-broadcaster Troy Aikman raised the issue during a recent Miami pre-season game, saying: “There [are] a lot of people that wondered why the Dolphins didn’t take Matt Ryan. If you know he’s a franchise quarterback, then you take him there. Something about it, the Dolphins didn’t think he was a franchise quarterback.”

They guessed wrong on that one. And think about this, if Parcells had signed with the Falcons and come to the same conclusion about Ryan, he wouldn’t have drafted him here either.

Parcells not coming here was the best thing that ever happened to the Falcons.

95 comments Add your comment

MiltonDawg

September 11th, 2009
3:31 pm

No doubt choosing Ryan was the best move for this franchise. Go Falcons.

Jeff Schultz

September 11th, 2009
3:38 pm

Can’t imagine what a Dolphins fan must be thinking.

FalcTech

September 11th, 2009
3:40 pm

They can have Parcells and Long. I couldn’t be happier with Ryan, Dimitroff!! Lets just win this weekend and put all of the Atlanta and Miami similarities and differences behind us.

Bobby Cox is da man!!!

September 11th, 2009
3:42 pm

Parcel’s main problem is he thinks he is bigger than the game. While he did win 2 superbowls, I feel he is way overrated. His 2 wins came in 86 and 90 with the Giants. He was mediocre at best with the Jets and Cowboys. He was 172-130-1 in the regular season and only 11-8 in the post season. Solid career but not a ledgend

Sonny Clusters

September 11th, 2009
3:49 pm

When we was playing ball me and Jeff tried out for a traveling team and one of us was picked and one of us wasn’t. When we got ready to leave Jeff wouldn’t go. We was very good friends and we was wanting to play ball together. We went up to the coach and told him we was used to playing ball together and the coach said he was sorry but they was no place for crybabies on his team. That’s when Jeff hit the ceiling. He told that coach he was through crying and he could play ball wherever he wanted to and he wanted to play on the team with me and Stinky Wintes. That coach took Jeff at his word and let him play with us that summer. We was championship.

Dol Fan

September 11th, 2009
3:51 pm

I would take the BIG LEFT TACKLE to protect my quarterback and open up holes for the best running backs in the LEAGUE. Go DOLPHINS!!!

Andrew

September 11th, 2009
3:56 pm

Also remember, when Ryan was drafted all the comments about it being a “Blank pick” and how he wasn’t letting his new GM make the decisions.

Kevin Modica

September 11th, 2009
4:00 pm

Jeff- I’ll tell you what a Dolphin fan is thinking….I’m thinking you guys are in for a rude awakening come Sunday afternoon. Ryan will be lucky to get out of the game alive after we blitz the hell out of you. Two words for you (Porter, Taylor)

Good Luck, you’ll need it.

TeflonDon

September 11th, 2009
4:03 pm

I’m worried that Ryan will turn into a head case, a la the Falcons’ last two high profile QB picks (Favre in 2nd round in ‘91 and Vick as the #1 pick on ‘01). You could also make the head case for Chris Miller, but he was never high profile.

Perhaps Dmitroff and Blank should be getting Ryan to a shrink as soon as possible to avoid this ailment.

Go Falcons!

Ryno

September 11th, 2009
4:05 pm

Mr. Schultz – I’m going to disagree with you on this one.

Do you remember, right after Matt Ryan walked off stage at the NFL draft, he was grabbed by an ESPN reporter who asked him “how does it feel to be a Falcon?” (paraphrasing here, you get the idea).

Ryan responded by saying, Atlanta was always the place he wanted to be and he knew he really liked the city when he played GA Tech in the fall.

I honestly think he wanted to come to Atlanta – so he probably isn’t upset about being passed over.

Fin

September 11th, 2009
4:07 pm

While Matt is laying on the field, it will show ATL wh you select a left tackle. Go DOLPHINS !

Bird Watcher

September 11th, 2009
4:08 pm

Kevin, the answer to your plan is Tony Gonzalez. If Porter and Taylor blitz, then Tony G. is open. If they cover Tony G., then Turner is burning you for big gains. Hmmm. Kevin. It seems like your team has a dilemma.

chc4

September 11th, 2009
4:08 pm

The Dolphins are about to get waxed. Jason Taylor was a great player 5 years ago. That Miami is secondary is actually worse than ours. Bombs away!!

Russ

September 11th, 2009
4:09 pm

Jeff what are you talking about, you “Can’t imagine what a Dolphins fan must be thinking.” Its what used to feel after almost every draft at least they did get a good player Does Andrey Bruce mean anything to you

Bird Watcher

September 11th, 2009
4:10 pm

Fin, left tackles don’t win championships!

F-105 Thunderchief

September 11th, 2009
4:10 pm

Yeah, I’m glad it was Thomas Dimitroff and not Parcells, me, you, or anybody else drafting. Otherwise, we’d be watching Dorsey limp around, while Andre Woodson carried a clipboard for Chris Redman.

True Fan

September 11th, 2009
4:16 pm

If your walking in the Dome at 12:45, you’re already late! Be there for role call!

Howard

September 11th, 2009
4:16 pm

Jeff…with all the good stuff you write about Bill Parcells, I do believe you have found your substitute Phil Fulmer now that the fat slub has gone to the TV booth. Am I right?? And are you gonna tune in to hear the nuggets of wisdom from the “Great Pumpkin?” I remember that time you called Fulmer “Philistine” Fulmer…that was one of the all-time great names you gave him. How about one for Parcells that is that good??

Scott

September 11th, 2009
4:17 pm

ummm… Dolphins fans are probably thinking they have an all-pro LT to anchor their OL for the next 15 years along with a franchise QB (Henne) they took in the same draft, getting rave reviews and waiting in the wings.

couldnt be happier with Matty Ice, but the Fins’ draft day haul was pretty solid too, and i dont think they’re losing too much sleep

BabyGoatEater

September 11th, 2009
4:30 pm

“Parcells not coming here was the best thing that ever happened to the Falcons.”

No truer words have ever been written. Matt Ryan really is the reason for Falcons hope at this point. Turner is a beast, no doubt, but Ryan is the fuel that feeds the machine.

mountain_jim

September 11th, 2009
4:30 pm

No Scott – they start losing their sleep on sunday night…

Russell

September 11th, 2009
4:32 pm

You can’t publish what I think about Parcells

Russell

September 11th, 2009
4:32 pm

Enter your comments here

Adam

September 11th, 2009
4:33 pm

lol wut a falcon dik rider this author is. can he write an un bias article for once?
jt is still the same pro bowl player hes all ways been
lol and this guy thinks hes a psychic, parcelles in any team is a good thing, wtf he talkin bout
HES such a DIK RIDER

Adam

September 11th, 2009
4:34 pm

ohh ye Chad Henne>matt ryan
“ryan is no long” fixed*

Bullish-on-the-Falcons

September 11th, 2009
4:35 pm

Great article Jeff.

Here’s to hoping that Long gives up 2+ sacks and Ryan makes Parcells cuss under his breath in his suite with a 3 TD / 0 INT showing.

GO FALCONS!

Marvin Mangrum

September 11th, 2009
4:40 pm

Bill Parcels being elsewhere is one of the greatest things to ever happen to Atlanta! The GM should not be the receiver of the most ink.

Guy

September 11th, 2009
4:41 pm

Considering Chad had a better year, and we still have Long to boot. I think it was pretty good for us. Now in a couple of years when Henne is the man, then we might have to take another look.

Jeepers

September 11th, 2009
4:49 pm

If the injury problems are past, Sam Baker may be a Pro Bowler soon too. Getting him, Matt Ryan and Michael Turner in the same year…I’d say Dimitroff is just as good, if not better, than Parcells. We’ll see. Go Falcons.

Adam

September 11th, 2009
4:50 pm

Adam…. were dropped on your head as child? Or did you just drop out of school in the second grade. You shouldn’t post anymore, it shows your mental retardation!

dawes

September 11th, 2009
4:50 pm

dolphin lose our gain thank dolphin

Adam

September 11th, 2009
4:52 pm

Chad Henne…. really? Talk about delusional. Chris Long is a bust.Considering Ryan will be Brady-esque in 2-3 years, I think we came out on top there “Guy.” Take off your turquoise colored glasses. Looking forward to stomping that @-$-$ sunday.

Ryder

September 11th, 2009
4:54 pm

Both teams are on the right track, I do believe they both overachieved last year. That said, this game will be close for a half, but I think since Atlanta is playing at home that defense will be fast enough on the track to counteract the Wildcat and force Pennington to throw deep on them.

Offensively I just don’t see Miami able to keep up with Atlanta. Expect Gonzalez to have a big game and that will be the difference. Falcons 27-17

"Chef" Tim Dix

September 11th, 2009
4:55 pm

Dan Hennings wildcat offense will be like his one back offense in Washington, a one year wonder. The tuna deserves him. I’ll take what we got thank you. Even with a young defense, Falcons roll. Take the over, Ryan and Co. have line of sight to 35 on thier own.

dawes

September 11th, 2009
5:04 pm

kevin modica put your money where month is matt ryan will have about 300 yard passing

Larry

September 11th, 2009
5:08 pm

Another pointless story by Jeff Schultz.

First, Bill Parcells would have taken Jake Long regardless of whether he though Ryan was a “franchise QB.” Second, The Falcons too would have taken and WANTED Jake Long had he been available as their clear number one priority was a franchise LT to build around what was considered a weak OL.

Jeff, do your research. The Falcons preference, in order, in the 2008 draft was Jake Long followed by Joe Flacco (a LT and a QB). But afer Long was taken, they reversed the order and took Matt Ryan, then traded up to get in their opinion the best available LT in Sam Baker (a QB and a LT).

This time the facts are free, Jeff. The next time I will charge you.

Nativebird

September 11th, 2009
5:13 pm

Three things point to the odds that Mr. Ryan isn’t worrying too much about what draft spot he was picked at two years ago. 11-5, rookie of the year and a 72million contract.

sportaree

September 11th, 2009
5:34 pm

Goodby Mr. Parcells it was a business doing pleasure with you!

Jeff Schultz

September 11th, 2009
5:35 pm

TeflonDon – Of all the concerns people may have about Matt Ryan, I’d say him becoming a head case is the least likely. That kid’s as serious and grounded as I’ve encountered in pro sports.

Ryno – I never said Matt was upset. (The headline written on AJC.com, “Revenge Revenge” might lead you to think that though.)

Russ – Aundray Bruce. Oy. Thanks for the memories.

Howard – may be we can come up with a good nickname for BP. I’ll check with my cheapshot writing staff.

Larry – Glad you’ve got it all figured out. You’re wrong, of course. Long-Flacco was never going to happen. But you sure made it sound good.

TheManMike

September 11th, 2009
5:54 pm

Excellent point JS! Great blog.

Real Falcons Fan

September 11th, 2009
6:10 pm

Jason won’t be able to concentrate on the game, he’ll be doing to busy watching the cheerleaders dance moves…so he can practice for the next “Dancing with the stars”. Ovie will hit Porter everytime he gets near Matt, might even see him start to cry.. Tuna steaks on the grill Sunday!!!

Bob Horner had a sweet compact swing

September 11th, 2009
6:12 pm

(I was just kidding. Sort of like taking Georgia over Oklahoma State.) Jeff..did you HAVE to go there…!!!???
VERY good read……Parcells had his hay day long, long ago…the Falcons are having theirs now……things worked out…

Here we go again

September 11th, 2009
6:27 pm

Another pathetic blog post by Larry.

Glad you’ve got the time, resources and huge brain to write internet blog response posts that illuminate local sports writing professionals about the REAL facts.

Rev B

September 11th, 2009
6:44 pm

Mr. Schultz, concerning your comments to “Larry”….well, to quote my favorite chef… BAM!!!

To Kevin Modica: two words for you…grow up! The “my daddy can beat up your daddy” mentality of many sport fans today is sad and pathetic.

Go Falcons!

SECHomer

September 11th, 2009
6:46 pm

The key to the Falcon’s success last year was Michael Turner not necessarily Matt Ryan although he played extremely well; evidence of that is when Michael Turner was limited to 42yds, Matt Ryan went into a funk throwing a couple of picks and provided the cards with a fumb-six and a two point safety. The fact of the matter remains when the running game is not working for ATL, Matt Ryan is relegated to average QB at best. Watch for Miami to stop the running game and play discipline football to grind it out in this game.

Country Boy

September 11th, 2009
6:49 pm

Hello Jeffy Boy. You shouldn’t be to rude to Larry. You should pick his brain. Obviously he has a seat in the Falcons war room.

Bob Horner had a sweet compact swing

September 11th, 2009
6:50 pm

Here we go again….I’m glad I’m not Larry…that was a gut punch…you won man….

Rocky Mountian Falcon

September 11th, 2009
6:52 pm

Can’t wait for Sunday!!! I have butterflies already!!! The Whole Vick, Pertreino nightmare, made way for a great Coach, GM, QB, and RB. This year we have a Great TE, and a revamped Defense. I see a great season, and I expect a Superbowl ring by end of Next season.

GO FALCONS!!!!! WOOOOHOOOOO!!!!

Rev B

September 11th, 2009
6:53 pm

Average quarterback, Homer? Not sure you actually watched Ryan’s performance last season. There are some veteran starters in the NFL who don’t have the poise Ryan did as a rookie. Too many offensive weapons now, for the Dolphins to simply “stop the run” as you offered. If the Dolphins key in on the running game alone, they’ll have a long day in Atlanta.

Guy

September 11th, 2009
7:04 pm

Thanks for that enlightenment “Adam”. I never said Ryan was not going to be a great quarterback. All I stated was I think we did alright and you guys did also. Besides Henne was a 2nd round hope not a first round prayer,