How close is Matt Ryan to “elite” status?

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ESPN Analyst and former Colts GM Bill Polian had some choice words to say about Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan this weekend.

“I think he’s a Super Bowl away from being elite,’’ Polian said. “He’s very close.”

Polian’s comments on Ryan are nothing new, fans and supporters of Ryan constantly refer to him as ‘Matty Ice’ for his clutch performance in the regular season. However, his performance in the playoffs has been anything but clutch.

Under Matt Ryan the Falcons have gone 1-4 in the playoffs and completely missed out on the playoffs in 2013.

Although Ryan’s performance is not blamed for the Falcons poor record last season he failed to bring them the one thing he is paid to do: winning.

Last season Ryan completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 4,515 yards, he threw 26 touchdowns but also threw a career high 17 interceptions. Some argue that Ryan was without a running game, a competent defense or offensive line and his top receivers in the passing game. However, a quarterback who is paid in the $100 million range such as Ryan does not have that excuse, he must deliver on his contract and deliver wins both in the regular season and the post season.

Simply put, the Falcons Super Bowl hopes lie on Matt Ryan’s right arm. Thomas Dimitroff and company must realize that and equip Ryan with means to succeed.

The Falcons understood this when they traded up to get Julio Jones in the 2011 draft, they understood this when they signed Jon Asamoah in free agency and they now understand the need to protect Matt Ryan when the 2014 draft rolls around.

Polian’s comment on Ryan was accurate and on-base, when he was the GM of the Colts he made sure he surrounded Peyton Manning with weapons and a defense during the golden years. Thomas Dimitroff needs to take note of Polian’s words and take action to further improve the offensive line and defense for 2014. They have made significant strides in free agency but they still have more work to do in the draft.

Matt Ryan has always been known for fighting until his last breath on the field, he has given Atlanta his all and he has the tools around him to win a Super Bowl soon but the Falcons front office must do their due diligence this draft season to maximize his chances.

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