Atlanta Falcons: Mike Smith’s Decision to Play Matt Ryan is Wrong

By Daniel Chi
NFL: Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Time and time again, the Atlanta Falcons have seen their quarterback take hits left and right, front and back, and there is no doubt that he has landed on the turf in more ways than one can imagine at this point. Even though coach Mike Smith has the best seat in the house to observe the punishing hits that his quarterback has taken, his decision in continuing to play Matt Ryan is ludicrous and wrong.

With the Falcons’ season clearly over, there is simply nothing to gain by playing their most important player who has had to absorb a enormous amount of pain through the first 14 games of the year. In fact, Smith’s philosophy of “Play the Best Players” is nonsense and contradicts the fact that he wanted to play more backups to develop them for next season.

If Smith is truly wanting to give the younger players game experience so that they can develop their game, Ryan’s backup quarterback fits that bill and should have been playing beginning with last week’s game. I like Smith as a coach and I believe that he has done wonders in the city of Atlanta. With that being said, I believe Smith is being an idiot and stubborn at the same time, as he continues to deny the truth that this season is over … literally.

Not only could Smith’s decision hurt the Falcons’ chances of gearing up for next season starting with the NFL Draft, but there is also the chance that Ryan could get hurt. Unlike Julio Jones and Roddy White, Ryan is their most valuable player at the most important position in the NFL. Without a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback, the Falcons, and any other team for that matter, will go nowhere.

So far this season alone, Ryan has been sacked a career-high 34 times, and has been hit or sacked while throwing on 8.4 percent of his drop backs. In other words, Ryan isn’t only getting hit, but he is taking some vicious hits as well.

While the Falcons are preparing to face the tough defense of the San Francisco 49ers, Falcons’ fans and Smith better pray that Ryan will not end up in a sling when these two teams last met in the 2012 NFC Championship Game. Things are not looking good for the Falcons, however, as their offensive line has just been disastrous and will most likely be exposed against an aggressive defense that is on the prowl to strike the heart of the Falcons.

Smith’s decision to play Ryan is just very illogical. Earlier in the season, his decision to go for it on fourth down costed them two games. Losing those two games were hard, but this time, his decision to gamble and play Ryan may cost him his $104 million quarterback’s health, which is far more precious than two games.

Smith’s blinded vision and stubbornness of trying to win games by exposing his quarterback is just downright stupid and unwise. Smith might as well throw Ryan into the game without any offensive linemen because that is exactly what he is doing.

Plain and simple, Smith’s decision to stick it out with Ryan is completely wrong, but then again, Smith has a trend for making the wrong decisions so far in 2013.

Daniel Chi is a NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @DanielChi24, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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