December 26, 2011; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees talks with Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) prior to kickoff of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Don’t look now, but there is at least one credible media member in the world of the NFL who believes Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is better than New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
The man is Ron Jaworski of ESPN, and he recently ranked Ryan ahead of Brees on his quarterback countdown. Pat Yasinskas of ESPN has all the details, including Jaws’ explanation:
"“Ryan had his best season in 2012. He’s now a veteran quarterback at the top of his game. Can he move up from No. 5? If he can take the Falcons a step further in the playoffs, I wouldn’t rule it out.”And here’s some of what Jaworski said about Brees:“In 2012, there were times Brees tried to compensate for the Saints’ historically bad defense; more downfield throws, a lower completion percentage. That does not diminish Brees’ standing as one of the elite players at the game’s toughest position.”"
It’s an interesting take, but not one without flaws. The only area Ryan truly bested Brees was in completion percentage, but it’s easy to imagine why when tossing the ball to guys like Julio Jones and Roddy White. Brees has Marques Colston and a cast of others, but it’s not ridiculous to say Ryan had it easier.
Ryan also wasn’t stuck with the worst statistical defense in NFL history. Brees almost had to throw the ball a ludicrous 700 times to compensate. There was also not a solid running game to back Brees.
Both are elite players in their own right, but to say Ryan is better has no merit. If you go by last year alone, Ryan had a better supporting cast in all areas and once again failed in the playoffs. Brees knows a thing or two about winning when it matters.
Sorry Jaws, Brees has not passed the torch to Ryan in the NFC South just yet. Not even close.
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