The Atlanta Falcons are the worst best team in the NFL in recent memory. Or maybe it’s the best worst team? Whatever the case may be, despite being loaded with playmakers, this team cannot win the games they need to. The problem? How about the combination of Matt Ryan and Mike Smith? And it’s time for the two to get a divorce so the Falcons can win a Super Bowl before it’s too late.
It’s not up for debate whether or not Matt Ryan is a franchise quarterback in the NFL. His numbers speak for themselves. In five NFL seasons Ryan has 56 regular season wins to only 24 losses. He has completed 62.7 percent of his passes for almost 19,000 yards with 127 touchdowns and slightly better than a two to one touchdown to interception ratio. Likewise it can’t be debated whether or not Mike Smith is a legitimate NFL head coach. He’s led the Falcons to double-digit win totals in four of his first five years with two 13 win seasons and two NFC South Championships.
Great QB, great head coach, what’s the problem?
Simply stated, it’s Ryan’s and Smith’s in-game demeanor. Have you ever looked at their faces when the going gets tough for the Falcons in a big game. It’s one of dejection, confusion and lacks confidence. It’s a look that will go unnoticed if it comes from a second string running back or the offensive line coach. But when it comes from the franchise quarterback and head coach, it’s infectious and spreads throughout the Falcons sideline like a doomsday plague. Don’t believe it? Go back and look at the two playoff games from this past postseason against the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. Once things got rough, both Ryan’s and Smith’s facial expressions read, “here we go again…we can’t win this game.” You won’t see that from Tom Brady and Bill Belichik. You won’t see it from Sean Payton and Drew Brees. But you will see it from Mike Smith and Matt Ryan, and until the two are separated, the Falcons will never win a Super Bowl.
The bottom line is that if the Falcons want to win a championship while they have a roster capable of doing so, Matt Ryan and Mike Smith will have to be separated. The two leading faces of a franchise can’t look that defeated when things get a little tight during a game. The good news is that there are enough pieces in place for the team to survive and thrive after one of their departures.
Follow Aaron on Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth.