With the win this past Sunday over the mediocre Tennessee Titans, the Atlanta Falcons are now 6-4 overall and only one game back of the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South. The Falcons are improving in all facets of the game, so why is Matt Ryan still having a down year?
Here are a few things that the Falcons need to do in order for Matt Ryan to succeed.
As of right now, that trade the Falcons made on draft day has not been a successful one. They felt that they were one piece away from a Super Bowl appearance, but now find themselves in a slugfest to even make a playoff appearance. All of those draft picks, to just struggle to find a consistent offense from a year ago.
Now Julio Jones has been hurt for a good portion of the year due to a nagging hamstring injury. When healthy, Jones has had some big games this season. In fact, he has more 100-yard games this season than Pro Bowler Roddy White.
In order for Matt Ryan to return to his 2010 form, the Falcons have to find a way to get Julio Jones healthy, and stay healthy.
Last season, Roddy White cemented himself in the class of premier receivers. He had seven touchdowns at this point in the season compared to the three that he has now. He was making incredible catches as opposed the the multiple, easy drops that he has had this year.
White was also Matt Ryan's No. 1 option last year and this year he is arguably the third behind Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones. The Falcons need production out of White to make it tougher on the defenses to scheme against all of the weapons that the Falcons have.
Simply, White needs to get more involved one way or another.
There have been many games this season in which the Falcons offensive line has struggled to keep Matt Ryan upright in the pocket. Throughout this season Ryan has developed "happy feet" syndrome. He just does not look comfortable in the pocket.
This could be the most important thing that the Falcons need to do to in order for Ryan to succeed. Consistent pressure by the defense is the easiest way to disrupt an opposing team's offensive rhythm, hence disrupting the opposing team's quarterback.
If you want Ryan to succeed you have to protect him first.
It's quite simple and sounds easier than it is done, but get your best weapons on the outside playing up to their potential and with good protection Matt Ryan could be in talks as a top-seven or -eight quarterback in the NFL.
Ryan has the potential to do this—now will he?