Matt Ryan’s injury takes things from bad to worse for the Atlanta Falcons who are officially no longer contenders in a truly disappointing season.
Falcons and Matt Ryan Are at Rock Bottom
When Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, most people assumed they’d be back. They have a franchise quarterback, one of the best wide receivers of all time. They really had a very well rounded team that looked capable of challenging for years.
That is the opposite of what has happened.
A year after their Super Bowl appearance, the Falcons moved into their brand new home at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium where they expected to be contenders for the foreseeable future. That season they lost in the divisional round to the eventual Super Bowl champion, Philadelphia Eagles.
Kyle Shanahan Leaving Was the Beginning of the End
Last year is when the cracks in Matt Ryan and the Falcons armour began to reveal themselves. The finished the season 7-9 and looked clueless for the most part. Their offense which during their Super Bowl run scored the seventh most points of all time. By 2018, they were a shell of their former selves and the reason why was obvious.
Kyle Shanahan had left after the Super Bowl to become the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. While it might seem like an oversimplification to say they started losing because they lost their offensive coordinator, it’s also very accurate. Let’s start with the fact that Shanahan is considered by most people in the NFL as an offensive genius. That’s hard to dispute with how hard the Falcons offense has crashed to earth since he left. It’s basically the same team, meanwhile the 49ers are undefeated this season.
Dan Quinn Has to Be on the Hot Seat
Little has been said about Dan Quinn’s job security although there have been questions since that Super Bowl loss. Matt Ryan certainly had his part to play in what happened, but Quinn has never given the impression that he is anything but an above average head coach. We know he’s a good defensive coordinator, the problem is his defense has never been very good.
He owes Shanahan a lot for designing a historically good offense because the defense he put out on the field during the 2016 season finished 27th in points allowed. Once Shanahan left for the Bay area, it was a chance for Quinn to prove that it’s his team but it hasn’t gone that way at all.
Matt Ryan is On the Downside of His Career
Since winning league MVP, Matt Ryan has been a shell of his former self. To be fair to him, he hasn’t been terrible statistically but he’s not been what they are paying for. As a franchise QB and former MVP, he doesn’t make enough plays to be a difference maker in the way his team needs. By the time the season starts next year, he’ll be 35 years old.
The extent of his ankle injury isn’t known but this entire Falcons organization needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and figure out who they are and where they need to go.