I was driving to work yesterday and was listening to Atlanta sports radio. The question at hand was if the Falcons would’ve been in a better position if they kept Matt Schaub instead of trading him away for a 2nd round pick back in 2007, thus leading the way for Matt Ryan to be drafted in 2008. There are so many different alter-realities that would’ve been caused if Schaub stayed with the Falcons, but for the sake of simplicity, lets take each QB head to head based on statistics:
|Matt Ryan 08||Matt Ryan 09||Matt Ryan 08-9||Matt Schaub 08||Matt Schaub 09||Matt Schaub 08-9|
I’m starting to think choosing Schaub or Ryan is like choosing a Big Mac or a Whopper. You could choose either and still be happy. But what else does each bring to the table? (not the sandwiches, the QBs).
Matt Schaub came into the NFL with a successful college career at UVA. He broke 22 school records including yards passing (7502), touchdown passes (56), completions (716), attempts (1069), completion percentage (.670), 300 yard games (8), and 200 yard games (20). Schaub had two top notch campaigns in the ’08 and ’09 NFL seasons for the Houston Texans. He set the franchise record for passing yards at 379 yards. In 2009, Schaub led the league in passing yards (4,770), completions (396), yards per game (298), and passing attempts (583). Matt Schaub is part of arguably the best QB/WR tandem in the NFL, the other half being Andre Johnson. In the 2008 season, Johnson led the league in receptions and receiving yards, only to duplicate the feat in 2009 with 1569 yards. Only one other WR in the history of the NFL went two consecutive seasons leading receiving yards – none other than the great Jerry Rice. On top of receiving yards, Johnson went 7 games with 10 receptions, only further solidifying one of the most successful QB/WR tandems in the NFL.
Matt Ryan shined at Boston College, where he led his team to 3 bowl victories, and an overall record of 25-7. He threw for 200 yards 15 times and is 5th all time in school history for both passing yards and completions. Matt Ryan was picked 3rd overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2008 NFL draft. Ryan beat out Chris Redman for the starting QB position, becoming the first QB in Atlanta since 1975 to start the season opener. He threw a touchdown on his very first past completion. Ryan became the first rookie QB in Falcon history to throw over 3,000 passing yards in one season. Along with Joe Flacco, Ryan was the first rookie QB to start all 16 regular season games and lead his team to the playoffs. He was also named AP Rookie of the Year. In 2009, Ryan fought turf toe for a significant part of the season, but still led the Falcons to a 9-7 record, which was the first time in franchise history that the team had consecutive winning seasons. Matt Ryan fired many of his shots to WR Roddy White. White was 4th in the league for receiving yards in 2008, finished the season with career and franchise highs in receiving yards. This is receiving from a rookie QB. In 2009, White was able to break the franchise record for most receiving yards in a game, with 210. Under Matt Ryan, Roddy White gained the 2nd and 3rd years where he had more than 1,000 receiving yards for the season.
What do I conclude from all of these statistics and accomplishments? (1) Matt Schaub is a seasoned veteran who has reached the pinnacle of his career. The Falcons may have gotten one more season out of him, but he probably is over the hill. (2) In Ryan, you have a young QB that played like a veteran in his first NFL season. (3) If I wanted a franchise QB who I knew would take the Falcons to the Superbowl, then I choose Matt Ryan. If I want a QB to help with my fantasy league, then I’d probably pick Matt Schaub. (4) If I’m choosing between the Big Mac and the Whopper, I would choose neither. I always go with Taco Bell!