The current Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback played has been with the team since being drafted with the third-overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. How exactly did Ryan get to the dirty south and how has he fared with the team thus far? Despite his postseason issues, will he be able to become one of the best QB's in the league?
Ryan played college ball with the Boston College Golden Eagles where he went 25-7 as the starting QB, including three bowl wins (2005 - MPC Computers vs. Boise State, 2006, Meineke Car Care vs. Navy, and 2007 - Champs Sports vs. Michigan State). He is third on the Boston College passing list since 1970 with 9,313 yards, trailing only Doug Flutie (10,579 yards) and Glenn Foley (10,039 yards). In 2007, he had his best season, throwing for 4,507 yards, 31 touchdowns with 19 interceptions. His performance that season earned him a seventh place position in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Since being drafted, Ryan has started all but two games and has had one of the best records of any QB in the league, going 43-19. He has completed more than 60 percent of his passes for 14,238 yards and 95 touchdowns with 46 interceptions. A year ago, he set a career high in yards (4,177) and touchdowns (29), leading the Falcons to the playoffs for the third time in four seasons.
The biggest knock of Ryan through the first four years of his career has been his inability to perform in the big games. Despite his incredible regular season record, he has gone 0-3 in the postseason, including embarrassing losses to the Green Bay Packers in 2010 (48-21) and the New York Giants in 2011 (24-2). While he has performed terribly in those three games (584 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions), he hasn't exactly been helped by his defense.
We have seen several excellent QB's struggle in the postseason early on, only to go one and have a Hall of Fame career, so the hope from Atlanta fans is that Ryan will end up like a Peyton Manning or John Elway, instead of a Matt Leinart or Vince Young.
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Hobson Lopes is a fan of the Atlanta Falcons, thanks to Deion Sanders and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.