Over the past few weeks ESPN's Ron Jaworski has been ranking the top thirty QBs in the NFL based on last season's performance, and heading into 2012. When I first heard Jaws' ranking I thought 11th for Matt Ryan was a little low, but reserved judgement to see who he had higher than the Falcons' QB, who I personally would have in the 8th or 9th spot.
The two players who really jump out at me as having no business being rated higher than Ryan are Jay Cutler (8th) and Joe Flacco (9th). Granted, this is a ranking for 2012 as much as last season, but still let's compare all three players based on what they did last year.
Cutler: 182/314, 58% completion, 2,319 yards, 13 TD, 7 INT-- QB rating: 85.7 (Ten starts due to injury)
Flacco: 312/542, 57.6% completion, 3,610 yards, 20 TD, 12 INT-- QB rating: 80.9
Ryan: 347/566, 61.3% completion, 4,177 yards, 29 TD, 12 INT-- QB rating: 92.2
One of these things is not like the others...
I respect Jaws' opinion as a former quarterback, but these rankings are laughable. Matt Ryan exceeds both Cutler and Flacco in every key area, and has done so over the past three years. Perhaps Jaworski is putting a lot of stock into 2012, a year where Flacco continues to develop, and Cutler gets new WR Brandon Marshall, but even so this going to be a season where Julio Jones enters the year self-assured, and injury free.
There's no possible way I can justify putting Ryan behind Flacco. Cutler could potentially be a toss-up, as at times Jay has been dominant, but when it comes to Flacco this gets ridiculous. His 2011 year was akin to a season Matt Ryan had in a sophomore slump, and he continues to be propped up by Ray Rice, who makes his life much easier as a backfield receiver. Michael Turner adds very little value in the passing game, and as such Ryan has less easy, dump-off opportunities.
It's easy to get carried away with these arbitrary rankings that should be taken with a grain of salt, but Matt Ryan continues to get overlooked for the elite season he had in 2011. There's no reason to believe he'll be worse in 2012, and maybe finally he'll get the respect he deserves.
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