Falcons QB Matt Ryan making early case for MVP | Football | CBC Sports

NFLFalcons QB Matt Ryan making early case for MVP

Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012 | 01:07 PM

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Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is second in the league in touchdown passes and has led his squad to an unblemished 5-0 start to the season. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is second in the league in touchdown passes and has led his squad to an unblemished 5-0 start to the season. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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Perhaps it's fitting his team is named after a bird of prey, because Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has been feasting on opposing defences this season. The 27-year-old is putting together a strong early case for MVP honours.
Perhaps it's fitting his team is named after a bird of prey, because Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has been feasting on opposing defences this season.

The 27-year-old is on pace to eclipse personal bests in nearly every offensive category and has demonstrated poise in the pocket like never before.

Most importantly, though, he's helped lead his squad to a franchise-best 5-0 start and is beginning to put together a strong early case for Most Valuable Player - and remember the award is generally given to the guy deemed most valuable to his team.

He's not the typical name you'd associate with the honour, but his numbers are more than impressive.

No, he's not Tom Brady. And nope, he's definitely not Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, or Aaron Rodgers, but Ryan is finally coming in to his own and has earned the right to be mentioned among the NFL's elite QB's based on his play thus far.

Coming off the NFC Offensive Player of the Month Award for September, the Exton, Penn. native is second in the league in passer rating - a career-high 106.1 - through the first five weeks of the season. His previous personal best was last season's 92.2.

Over his career, Ryan's main issues have revolved around inconsistency, but this year he's been effective every week.

Strong season

His 13 touchdown passes put him second in the league and have him on pace for a career-high 42. He's fifth in completion percentage (68.4), and his 136 completions are second-best. He's also tied for third in passing yards with 1,507.

Sure, critics may point to the fact he has the luxury of bountiful options, including two of the NFL's premier wideouts in veteran Roddy White and youngster Julio Jones, a proven running back in Michael Turner for ground support, and one of the best pass-catching tight ends of all time, veteran Tony Gonzalez.

But I would argue that it's reciprocal. White and Jones help make Ryan a better pivot, while the latter helps make the tandem better receivers.

Ryan's also got the benefit of a little history on his side. The QB position is one of the most, if not the most, crucial roles on the field and since 2000, quarterbacks have accounted for MVP honours 10 of 12 times (Manning and the late Steve McNair shared the honour in 2003).

The Falcons pivot also has an intense will to win, and on Sunday engineered his 18th career comeback in the fourth quarter, the most in the NFL since he came into the league in 2008.

Further proving his importance to his squad's success is the fact Atlanta is 27-0 when Ryan's passer rating is 100 or better.

Ryan is no doubt more concerned about getting the Falcons to the post-season in order to erase the stench of meek eliminations in the past two years (They also lost a close playoff game in his rookie campaign).

If the first quarter and a bit of the season is any indication, he could be in the MVP mix and the thick of the championship hunt.

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