We have just about come to an end in our countdown taking a look at the best players on the 2012 Atlanta Falcons roster. So far we've featured Tyson Clabo (#10), Michael Turner (#9), Asante Samuel (#8), Tony Gonzalez (#7), Brent Grimes (#6), Julio Jones (#5), Sean Weatherspoon (#4) and John Abraham (#3). The next man on the list represents the holds the reigns of the Falcons offense and possibly the future of the franchise.
Will Ryan get to air it out more under new OC Dirk Koetter?
Last year was a career year for Matt Ryan as he threw for career highs in yards (4,177) and touchdowns (29). He finished eighth in the NFL in passing yards and tied for sixth in touchdowns. The one thing that has alluded Ryan is a playoff victory and many have been critical of him for his lack of wins in the playoffs. Of course, Y.A. Tittle (a Hall of Famer) was 0-4 in his career in the NFL playoffs. Remember that Drew Brees guy? It took him until his fifth year as a starter to win a playoff game (that includes a San Diego team that was 12-4 going into the playoffs). Right now Ryan sits at 0-3 as a playoff starter. You know who else had that same record after five years in the league? Peyton Manning. Here's what they guys had to say about Matty Ice:
Eric: The brains of the operation. If Matt Ryan can take the next step, the Falcons can become Super Bowl contender. He needs help all around, but transcending his known weaknesses is the only way he stops being viewed as Atlanta's version of Tony Romo.
Joe: When compiling the list I didn’t include Ryan initially. He lacks elite physical playmaking ability. However, he is a highly intelligent player at a position that requires such an intangible and it isn’t fair to overlook such an important skill. In as much as his lack of running and deep throw ability initially kept him off the list, his ability to operate the no-huddle and keep the Falcons in good plays the majority of the time put him on it.
Matt: In the running to be my favorite Falcon on the list, Ryan should improve with another year of development, a new offensive coordinator, and an improved offensive line. Ryan has shown flashes of being our future hall of fame QB.
Mike: Matty Ice needs a big year, but how do you improve on setting franchise records? ...Win playoff games.
Zach: Matt has had a lot of criticism fall on him lately, many people are doubting his ability to win big games. Matt has gone from Matty-Ice to Matty-Lice in some people's minds. However, Matt is a consistent hard worker and is on pace to break every passing record in Atlanta Falcons history. Matt is a leader and look for him to lead his team to many victories in the future.