For a couple of weeks now, ESPN’s Ron Jaworksi (Jaws) has been ranking the top 30 quarterbacks in the NFL (Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are excluded because they’re rookies).
Jaws ranked Atlanta’s Matt Ryan as the 11th-best quarterback in the NFL.
Ryan’s uncomfortability in a “muddied pocket” is Jaws’ primary reason for putting Ryan outside the top 10. As a person who isn’t a huge fan of Jaws, this analysis is pretty accurate.
When Ryan has a clean pocket and has time to deliver the ball, he’s as good as any quarterback. However, when protection breaks down, Ryan is likely to get “happy feet.” He’ll begin to panic a tad bit quicker than he should until he feels the pocket is clean again.
Granted, every quarterback is worse when the pocket breaks down, but admittedly, Ryan sometimes shows he’s extremely uncomfortable. In the first three games of last season (at Chicago, vs. Philadelphia, and at Tampa Bay), the offensive line had trouble keeping Ryan upright; you could definitely see Ryan sensing the pressure and panicking at times.
Jaws does note Ryan’s 95 touchdowns to only 46 interceptions and his 43-19 record as the Falcons’ starting quarterback since 2008. Jaws also likes Ryan’s command in the huddle.