Palmer a study in possibilities for Ryan, Falcons

Arizona's Carson Palmer has found his best season at the age of 36. (Getty Images)

Arizona’s Carson Palmer has found his best season at the age of 36. (Getty Images)

Matt Ryan will be 31 by the time next season – his ninth – rolls around. He will have 218 sacks on his odometer and several times that many knock downs. With that comes zero playoff appearances in his last three seasons, and but one postseason victory to his credit.

Not time yet to talk about closing windows of opportunity, but maybe it is at least time to at least look out the window and assess the view.

Among those quarterbacks who were invited to this postseason, six are older than Ryan. That roster of 30-plus QBs: Peyton Manning (39); Tom Brady (38); Carson Palmer (36); Ben Roethlisberger (33), Aaron Rodgers (32) and Alex Smith (31). Half of the remaining field. So, time has not abandoned Ryan just yet. Goods things can happen well into a quarterback’s athletic dotage.

When looking at these veterans for a best possible scenario for the Falcons leader, you automatically throw out the most famous. Ryan is not going to achieve Brady or Manning status – it’s patently unfair to judge their reflections in the same mirror.

In a comparable stage of his career, Roethlisberger already had a couple Super Bowl titles in his quiver. Ryan’s not catching up.

Rodgers has a physical arsenal that Ryan will never match, not even if he starts his off-season training tomorrow morning.

Palmer is the most interesting case study. His career has been mostly unspectacular. The talent was there, if not the results (he is 0-2 as a postseason quarterback). His eighth year was far more miserable than Ryan’s (13 touchdowns, 16 interceptions in 10 games).

But look what happened when he was surrounded by a complete Arizona team (second in the NFL in scoring, eighth in fewest points allowed) and some inspired coaching. Palmer at 36 just finished a regular season with career-highs in quarterback rating, passing yardage and touchdowns. And the Cardinals are the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

You see what can happen when a more-than-capable elder quarterback is given enough tools, and doesn’t spend every Sunday afternoon picking pass-rushers out of his teeth.

Ryan just finished an ugly year. He seemed uncomfortable through most of it, like he was wearing a helmet two sizes too small.

But, there being nothing else in this postseason for the Falcons, perhaps there is at least one useful example. Yes, there it is. If Carson Palmer can do it well into his 30s, certainly Matt Ryan can, too. Given a lot more help.

Reader Comments 0

9 comments
Happy_Smith
Happy_Smith

The Atlanta Penitentiary and the Garbage Truck that rolls down the road has plenty of candidates to play the line,,,  They work cheaper too!  Wake UP AB!!  Fire Dimmy Troff!

mgalucki
mgalucki

Get rid of Ryan and replace him with who exactly??  Franchise quarterbacks do not grow on trees.


I bet almost a 3rd of the NFL would take Matt Ryan in a millisecond given the offer.  Do people truly not see how hard it is to find a franchise quarterback?  Sure he's going to mess up time from time to time, that's the nature of the position.  


If franchise quarterbacks were so easy to find then why hasn't Cleveland, Buffalo, Houston, Titans, Jacksonville, Oakland, Rams, Eagles etc been able to keep a consistent one for the last 9 years?  Until this year, Buffalo hasn't had a franchise quarterback since Jim Kelly!  Hell even people were getting down on Andrew Luck this year when he was struggling.  By far the toughest position in all of professional sports.


Sure, dump Matt Ryan and realistically replace him with who?


Ease up on blaming Ryan, let's see the difference when both O line and D line are properly addressed.  Matt Ryan is the Falcon's quarterback like it or not.

RapidRobert1
RapidRobert1

Even with a 'decent' OL, the "Byrds" won't make it to the promised land with Mr. BC !!!  JMO  !!! 

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

In a team sport, the QB (like a baseball pitcher) takes too much blame for losses and too much credit for wins.  Palmer stunk in Cincinnati and Oakland, even though everyone saw his "raw talents."  When Peyton Manning made his return last Sunday, the announcer said, "The Denver Broncos are not about Peyton Manning anymore.  They are about defense."  Duh.  Say the same thing and fill in the blank with any decent QB's name ... The Kansas City Chiefs are not about a "game manager."  They are about defense.  The Atlanta Falcons are not about Matt Ryan (or blogger's QB of the month).  They are about defense.


See how that sounds?  Leaves an ugly, bitter taste of reality in your mouth.  The Atlanta Falcons are losers because of their defense, no matter who their QB is.

GaLatino
GaLatino

This article completely fails to mention that, to begin with, Palmer has more talent and arm strength than Ryan.  Ryan's biggest problem is his lack of arm strength, followed by a lack of poise under pressure.  Yes, an OL has been a problem for most of his career, but other QB's have done better with the same calibre line.  He needs perfection to operate, and simply does. not. have. the arm to "make a throw when he just needs to make a throw".  Just look at how many throws, even on completions, are just behind or just too low to allow a receiver to gain momentum after the catch.  The throws he sails so often that end up as INT's are another example.  He is just not the guy to take us there.



We have seen the best of Matty Slush, and frankly, that peak wasn't that high.  He is what he is, an upper mid-tier QB with real weaknesses that we must game-plan around.  He is not, nor was he ever, worth what was at the time the highest guaranteed money contract for a QB when he got it.

Harpie
Harpie

Matt Ryan is a very good quarterback who has lost his confidence playing behind a horrible offensive line. You oafs who blame him for all the team's troubles need to lighten up. If the offensive line gets improved in the off-season, Matt will be whole again!

MarkPendley
MarkPendley

I have watched football for over 40 years(I'm 52), and I have never in all those years understood why any organization tries to succeed without putting together a quality(or better) offensive line.  In the NFL, a solid OL keeps the quarterback healthy and allows a potent running game, which helps in play action for,yes, the quarterback.  It also keeps the defense on the sidelines  longer, which helps them be more productive by being fresher at the end of games.  I don't understand why this simple formula is so difficult to get GMs to accept.  It really is a simple concept.


Baghead
Baghead

Ryan is pathetic.  If the new GM has any sense, he trades him for a top 5 pick and three other 2 - 4 round picks as well as that teams current best QB.  


UGA75
UGA75

@Baghead I'd love to get some of what you are smoking. Ryan would bring, at best, a 3rd round pick if someone would take him coming off a terrible year. We are stuck with him for at least two more years or the cap hit would cripple the team. Mark Pendley has it in spades, form or obtain a great OL and any QB will look better.