Whatever "elite status" means among NFL quarterbacks, Atlanta Falcons signal-caller Matt Ryan has at least one vote for the exclusive club. As Daniel Cox of atlantafalcons.com writes, that vote comes from Ryan's opposing coach this weekend, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano.
Schiano saw firsthand how good Ryan is earlier this season, when Atlanta escaped Tampa with a 24-23 win. Ryan in that game threw for 353 yards and a touchdown. Schiano and Ryan were once in the Big East at the same time, when Ryan was a backup at Boston College and Schiano in charge of Rutgers. But it wasn't until he was coaching against Ryan in the same NFL division that he saw just how good Ryan is.
Schiano is especially complimentary of how Ryan handles himself on the field:
"I think he's in the elite status," Schiano said. "I think he's at that level. The kind of field command he has and the way he directs the operation. A lot of guys have big arms and there are a lot of guys that are mobile and all that, but it's the way they lead, the commandership they have over their offense makes them elite."
Ryan and the Falcons host the Bucs Sunday in the regular-season finale for both teams. The game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET and can be seen on Fox.