Matt Ryan: shaping in to a fine pro career

Falcons at Ravens 10/19/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Matt Ryan or “Matty Ice” as they like to call him in Atlanta, is having an excellent career with the Atlanta Falcons. At 30 years old Ryan is entering his eighth season of NFL action. No longer a young player looking to prove his value, Ryan is now an NFL veteran who is entering his athletic prime. With those development years in his rear view mirror Ryan’s best football still might be ahead of him. A pretty strong case since Matt Ryan had arguably the best five year start of any NFL quarterback ever. Don’t believe us? Well, check the stats. In a five year span to start their career no one has more wins than Ryan with 56, no one has more fourth quarter come backs with 16, and no one has more game winning drives with 23. So while Ryan isn’t the best QB ever he does have some very key accomplishments that he can be proud of. Another big factor of Matt Ryan’s game is when you watch him you notice the discipline that he has put into his craft. He is outstanding with his body position such as keeping the ball high and the shoulders cocked. His footwork is impeccable and he always does a great job of stepping up in the pocket. He also does a phenomenal job of seeing the field and looking off defenders before making a throw. And when it does finally come to Ryan throwing the football. It’s like poetry in motion. Most of his throws are fluent, with perfect mechanics, and all of his balls have good zip on them. Maybe this is why he was able to put up 181 touchdowns and only 91 interceptions. Which is 33 more touchdowns than fellow 2008 draft classmate Joe Flacco has put up (148). If Ryan finishes the back end of his career anything like he started. He should certainly finish as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in terms of wins. He also should be a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame some day. You have to tip your hat to that .

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Charity of the day: Coalition for the Homeless

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It’s time for the Kirk Cousins era to begin in Washington:

Seahawks at Redskins 10/6/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

With former Washington Redskins’ coach Mike Shanahan coming out and publicly praising Kirk Cousins. It just adds more pressure to starting Washington quarterback Robert Griffin. Griffin got rocked last night in the Redskins preseason game against the Lions and ended up with his second professional concussion. A bad sign for the former first rounder and his time as the teams’s starter might be coming to an end. The guy who looks best suited to fill the team’s void at quarterback is indeed Cousins. Entering his fourth season of NFL action Cousins has showed some poise in his limited action. He finished 2014 with 10 touchdowns and 1,710 passing yards in only 6 games played. One thing that people in the Washington organization seem to praise about Cousins, is the fact that he is a high character guy. Cousins spent his collegiate days at Michigan State under coach Mark Dantonio. A guy who is no slouch in the college coaching ranks and is single handedly responsible for turning around the Michigan State football program. During his time there Cousins was able to become the most successful quarterback to ever come out of Michigan State. Posting 27 wins while at East Lansing. Those trials of competing every week in the Big 10 and studying under coach Dantonio now serve as a foundation for Cousins. The good habits he’s formed during that time are what has allowed him to patiently wait for head coach Jay Gruden to call his number. Now as RG3 seems to be struggling to live up to the grueling NFL expectations. It’s time for the Redskins to look to Kirk Cousins. When you plug in the film and watch the highlights its clear. Cousins mechanically is more sound, he reads the field better, and he does a better job of going through his progressions. Instead of RG3 getting flustered and fleeing the pocket, Cousins rather will trust his offensive line and rely on his footwork. Allowing the offense to operate overall more efficiently. If the Redskins can become a run first football team and allow Cousins to manage the game they should be alright. The thing they can’t do is come out and have a  20-80 run to pass ratio. Not many quarterbacks can have success dropping back and passing that many times a game. And even the best quarterbacks in the league tend to have more success when their teams also have a solid rushing attack going. The Redskins can take a huge step forward by following this formula and moving ahead with Cousins. When you have a guy who is better attitude and production wise, it’s clearly the right choice.

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Charity of the day: Coalition for the Homeless

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Manziel needs to start or Pettine needs to go:

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Photo credit: Erik Drost

An interesting turn events have taken place in Cleveland. The guy Mike Pettine seemed reluctant to endorse (Johnny Manziel) is now the best option to win football games for the Browns. Nothing could have made that more clear than tonights game against the Buffalo Bills. While Josh McCown struggled against the Bills defense throwing 2 interceptions and looking shaky at times. Manziel improved his NFL stock by throwing for 118 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown would put the Browns ahead for a short period of time before the Bills would eventually come back and win the game on a 2pt conversion in the late fourth quarter. However one thing remained clear walking away from all this, it’s Johnny Football time in Cleveland. Pettine might not like, if you’ve watched the interviews he has had on Manziel the last two years you can read between the lines that he doesn’t like Manziel. But at this point Pettine’s job should be on the line if he doesn’t start the youngster. Part of being an NFL coach is being impartial and unbiased. Neither of which Pettine has been towards Manziel. Truthfully the Browns would have been in an even better situation now if they started Manziel all last year and let him take his lumps. Now though regardless it’s time for the former Texas A and M Aggies signal caller to lead things down in Ohio. Yea Manziel in some aspects can be brash, and somewhat arrogant. At the end of the day though he is the only one with enough moxie to lead this football team. Look McCown was a good player. He overachieved during his NFL reign managing to become an NFL journeyman when his career shouldn’t have even been that long. Manziel on other hand has been a football star most of his life and there is a reason he has earned that reputation. The former Heisman trophy winner and SEC stand out has earned his prestige on the field and has worked hard off the field to clean up his image. The guy has proved he is invested in Cleveland, it’s time Cleveland show they’re invested in him. The dog pound will be throwing up the money sign shortly.

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Charity of the day: Children’s Cancer Fund of America

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The evolution of Tyrod Taylor:

Jaguars at Ravens 12/14/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

A product of your environment is an adage that is commonly used to refer to someone who acts a certain way due to their environment. Tyrod Taylor is a product of the NFL environment. After spending 4 seasons in Baltimore. And going through all of the NFL mini-camps, all the NFL preseasons, and regular seasons. Tyrod Taylor has ultimately become an NFL quarterback. One that is worthy of starting in the National Football League. Taylor is a living example of what determination, hard work, and repetition in a field of work can do. While he was a successful college passer at Virginia Tech, his skills didn’t immediately translate to the National Football League. He spent four years in the Raven’s system with little hope of cracking Joe Flacco for the starting position. While at the time it may have looked like a failure for Taylor sitting behind Flacco. That hunger has driven Taylor to develop himself into a fine football player. He ultimately signed with the Buffalo Bills in the off-season because Rex Ryan previously tried to trade for Taylor when he was with the Jets. That vote of confidence from Ryan made signing with the Bills a no brainer for Taylor. Since arriving in Buffalo Taylor has done nothing but validate Ryan’s assessment. He’s been outstanding in all the training camp sessions this off-season, and has even received high praise from Bills’ G.M Doug Whaley. Now tonight as the Bills take on the Browns Taylor will look to solidify himself as the regular season starter by supplanting Matt Cassel. While in most circumstances the traditional pocket passer style like Cassel’s usually wins in these situations. With all the praise that Taylor is receiving it might be the more mobile quarterback coming out on top this time. It all starts with a good performance tonight.

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Charity of the day: Children’s Cancer Fund of America

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NFL joint practices just asking for trouble:

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Photo credit: Erik Drost

The thing is with NFL joint practices is they are raw. They are raw in the sense that they don’t have the refs there to keep everything under control. Joint practices also don’t have a bunch of fans and national television serving as a witness to everything that goes on. The teams are less reluctant to exhibit control of themselves in terms of fighting as they would against their own teammates. Because honestly you’re not going to have to go to work with this guy everyday after if you do fight him. On top of that it’s hot in August, guys are drug away from their homes to compete in what feels like a mini football game with little value. There is just a lot of downside to the whole idea. Why can’t you get those additional reps from preseason games? You practice against your teammates up to the preseason, then you get to hit someone else during the preseason. Sounds like a recipe for success but the NFL keeps implementing these joint practices. Maybe not for much longer though. The Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams were supposed to have a productive joint practice yesterday in Oxnard California. That was until all mayhem broke lose. The practice was cut short when several scuffles took place eventually leading to an all out two team fight. Star receiver Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys was punched directly in the face while helmetless. The video of Dez getting punched is now circling around the internet as is the video footage of the rest of the fights. And from all of this one conclusion is clear, joint practices just don’t work. In fact they are so bad that the Cowboys just a year earlier were in a similar situation when they fought the Oakland Raiders in a joint practice. Even today holy man Tim Tebow had to prevent a fight from happening at an Eagles and Ravens joint practice.
How long will this flawed formula be used before someone truly gets hurt. The NFL has chose not to do anything about this preseason approach and continuously receives a black eye from their inaction. While bad P.R is something the league can live with a serious injury from fighting is not. It’s time we put an end to joint practices and save that action for the regular season.

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Charity of the day: Humane Society of the United States

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