|By Rusty Reeves, Friday, September 12, 2014|
QB Matt Ryan - Solid/Safe Pick
BOUNCE-BACK: Matt Ryan was viewed as a bit of a letdown in 2013. Coming off career highs in passing yards and touchdowns in 2012, everyone and their brother had Ryan projected to be one of the elite QBs. He passed for 200 fewer yards, six fewer touchdowns and threw three more interceptions. We're optimists here, and we have Ryan ranked as the No. 7 QB for 2014 for a reason: he and his offensive playmakers can be really good. He was without stud WR Julio Jones for 11 games. WR Roddy White played through nagging injuries and didn't truly get healthy until the last few games of the year. RB Steven Jackson was supposed to give the Falcons a running game that would help them open it up a bit, but he tore his hammy in Week 2 and ultimately missed four games. The offensive line was like a piece of Swiss cheese, allowing 44 sacks (third worst in the league). Despite all this, Ryan still finished fourth in the league in passing yards (4,515) and ninth in TDs (26). White and Jackson should be back this year. The offensive line was addressed in the off-season.
Editor's note: Last year, the Falcons bottomed out offensively. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Ryan will lead Atlanta to an improved record and a more effecient offense. Injuries would have to pile up yet again for Ryan to be denied.