Quarterback challenge


Contributors Jhett Folk and Britton Gray weigh in on NFL pivot Matt Ryan

Ryan rocks

Britton Gray

The dominance of famed NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are things of yesterday, and there’s a new group of signal callers leading the way.

The one quarterback who is leading this new breed is none other than Atlanta Falcons superstar, Matt Ryan.

While Ryan doesn’t have a superbowl yet, or an MVP trophy like other QB’s, he still performs on the field. Brady’s best years are now behind him and this year he has his team sitting at 2-2. Ryan has led the Atlanta Falcons to a perfect 4-0 record so far this year and has blown away the teams he has faced thus far.

Ryan  is sixth in the league in passing yards, second in the league with touchdowns with 11 – Brady has only thrown 7 so far this year. Not to mention Ryan leads the league with a QB rating of 112.1.

For those that don’t know, the QB rating is based on how productive the QB has been during the season. He has the ability to place the ball where it needs to be at all times and has the power to throw to these speedy receivers.

Ryan is leading what may be the most exciting offence to watch in the NFL and is a threat to score at anytime with a big play, which could explain why he received the top rating.

Besides the stats, another thing Ryan has shown he can do is come through in the clutch. The first time the Atlanta Falcons were anywhere close to being beaten was on Sept. 30 against Carolina Panthers.

Down by one point with one minute to go in regulation, Ryan had to lead his team from their own one-yard line with no time outs left. Ryan stepped up and led his team down field with a few big plays and smart throws in order to get his team into position to win the game with a field goal.

Ryan has also been able to quietly lead a team that, when they drafted him, was looking for a new identity after the Micheal Vick dog fighting incident.

 They were a team in need of an overhaul and needed something to help their fans forget about Vick. They drafted Ryan hoping he could be the QB they needed and he showed them what he was capable of with his first pass being a big play touchdown which would be the first of many in his career.

Ryan has also been able to stay out of the media by not making outrageous claims or sending nude pictures to reporters so that’s also a positive.

Even though he puts up the numbers of an elite topic, he may also be the most unknown of the elite quarterbacks. He hasn’t won any awards yet and suffers from something I like to call “The Peyton Playoff Curse” which simply means that he is one of the regular season studs but has never been able to get wins in the playoffs.

With the way that Ryan has been leading the Falcons I’m beginning to think that I should have picked them to represent the NFC in the Superbowl over the San Francisco 49ers.

With a few playoff wins this year, Ryan’s name will be thrown in the mix with Brady, Manning and Brees as the elite QB’s in the league and he will be considered the best.

There’s still a lot for Ryan to prove

Jhett Folk

I want to start by saying that I have full respect for Flacons quarterback, Matt Ryan, and everything he’s done for Atlanta thus far in his career. He’s a great quarterback with a bright future in the NFL, but he is not my pick for the best quarterback in the NFL right now.

I personally think the choice is between two guys right now, either Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers.

As far as I’m concerned, however, the top guy has to be Tom Brady – and I’m saying this as a Colts fan. Ryan – as far as the stats line go – narrowly knocks Brady off his pedestal, but we’re talking about a mere ten-point quarterback rating differential after only four games.

The factors I’m taking into account to select my top pick for quarterback in the NFL are not necessarily seen but rather they are understood by fans, defences and particular players all throughout the league.

Just hearing the words, Tom Brady can strike fear into the heart of any defender in the NFL.

Brady has the prestige factor that a QB like Ryan just simply has not acquired yet. This prestige gives Brady an instant advantage coming into the majority of his games.     The respect given to him and the fear that many defenses can feel will often open up holes in their schemes that Brady will hit. Just ask the Buffalo Bills.

Ryan is nowhere near as feared and thus can’t get the free shots that defences will commonly give Brady, simply due to trying to overplay each play.

Also, there is not a quarterback in the league that can place the ball in their receivers hands quite like Brady, except for possibly Peyton Manning – though Manning has lost the zip in his throw.

Brady’s ball placement may be the greatest the world has ever seen. From quick strikes on cross routes that hit wide receiver, Wes Welker, directly in the chest, to long bombs to tight end, Rob Gronkowski, that are just the right height that the big guy can make a play on it and the opposing defensive back or linebacker cannot. Brady hits them all.

There isn’t a single fan of any given team that hasn’t said, “Wow, did Brady really just do that to my defence?” He makes heroic throws look like an everyday thing that anyone can do.

While there are many great leaders in the NFL today such as Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Larry Fitzgerald, I believe if you asked any of those leaders who the best leader in the NFL would be, they would likely go with Brady.

Brady is the kind of quarterback that has the killer instinct necessary to take down any opponent. He isn’t afraid to throw any kind of pass, and is willing to run the ball in extreme situations.

He can hype his guys up, and can shut them up just as quickly if they are out of hand (i.e.: Randy Moss). And, let’s be honest, what more proof of leadership do you need than two MVP trophies, five Super Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl victories?

Ryan may be leading the league as far as statistics go, but the majority of football fans and players truly understand which guy is the big dog.

Brady is a proven future hall of famer and will likely play in his sixth and possibly even his seventh Super Bowl before Ryan makes his first Super Bowl appearance.

As I stated earlier, I have a lot of respect for Matty Ice, but until you’ve actually done something in this league besides losing out in your first game of the playoffs after a 14-2 season, you won’t win me over.

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