For all of you who have said, “Matt Ryan doesn’t throw the deep ball very well” … well, you’re right. Peter Keating of ESPN Insider has compiled lists of the NFL’s best and worst deep passers, and the Falcons’ quarterback is among the latter. (Link requires registration.)
Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay, you’ll be not at all shocked to learn, is the league’s best on deep throws, which Keating defines as a pass of 20 or more yards. Rodgers averages 29.5 yards per deep-pass-attempt. Ryan averages a paltry 7.1 yards, which kind of defeats the purpose of a deep pass.
Keating’s numbers show that Ryan’s quarterback rating on deep balls places him fifth-lowest among NFL passers. The bottom four: Mark Sanchez, Jets; John Beck, Washington; Donovan McNabb, Minnesota and Curtis Painter, Indianapolis. Ryan’s quarterback rating on deep passes is 43.1, which pales alongside his mediocre rating of 83.0 on all passes.
But for all of those who are saying, “A former Falcons’ quarterback was great on deep passes” … if you’re talking about Michael Vick, you’re wrong. Vick ranks only one spot ahead of Ryan in Keating’s table, and he hasn’t completed a deep pass for a touchdown this season. (Ryan has completed one — the amazing Julio Jones dive-between-defenders at Indy.) Writes Keating:
Michael Vick … is bombing away even more frequently than he did last year but has lost his magic touch to DeSean Jackson. Overall, he is killing the Eagles on long pass attempts, where he is just 9-of-34 for 10.1 yards per attempt, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
And now you’re asking: Does it matter if your quarterback can’t throw long with any success? Of Keating’s top 10 deep passers, eight preside over teams with winning records. Of the 10 lowest-ranked deep passers, only one plays for a winning team — Matt Ryan. This would seem to indicate that the Falcons are doing it the hard way.
By Mark Bradley