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Trial by fire … Can Matt Ryan take the punishment?

Audible: Chris Redman, who looked good in a few starts last season, gets yanked for a rookie! The franchise needs a new identity.

Matt Ryan, QB, HotLanta Falcons, has looked so good that he will be the starting signal caller from day one. Ryan, the former


College standout, has impressed coaches and earned the respect of his teammates with his strong work ethic.

The question is does he hold any fantasy value?

Most rookies have seen very little exotic blitzes and real game speed in the preseason. They line up against scrubs who would be the equivalent of an NFL practice squad.

Come game day in week one, the scrubs are gone. The speed of the game and defensive looks change. Matt has some of the tools to be successful.

Let’s take a look at those tools:

1. Ryan is strong-armed and can make all the throws.

2. He is decisive and makes reads quickly.

3. He is fairly mobile.

4. Offensive line has been addressed with two first-rounders in the last two years.

With any young offensive lineman, there are growing pains. I suspect that Matt will have a tough time against the premier pass rushing teams.

Let’s examine the Falcons schedule to identify any opportunities where Matt could have some success.


Detroit (expect some good production).



Bay (a long day).


Kansas City (hey, this is easy …).


Carolina (mixed bag).


Green Bay (tough day).


Chicago (see weeks 2 and 5).

7. Philly (long day).

8. Oaktown (mixed bag).


New Orleans (who dat puts up little resistance).


Denver (mixed bag).


Carolina (better than first meeting).

12. Bolts (ouch).

13. Saints (why can’t we play these guys every week?).



Bay (see week 2).


Minnesota (who’s this Jared Allen guy and why is he wearing my jersey?).

16. Rams (big day against a team who gives it up).

So, we can agree on weeks 1,3,9,13 and 16 being productive. The rest of the time Matt will be looking like David Carr in the 2007 season.

Rookies make rookie mistakes. I expect Matt to have a trial by fire and ultimately to have a good solid grasp by season’s end. This kid can play, and I expect many owners will be reaching for waiver wire Ryan after week three. He may look like a veteran early but weeks 4-15 present challenges as the defenses get tougher.

I am high on Matt Ryan being a major contributor in 2009. For now, take a wait and see approach and only grab out of desperation or in a keeper league.

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