Preseason Overreaction, Week 1: Matt Ryan is the No. 3 QB (kidding!)

If the first exhibition game is any indication, Matt Ryan is going to have a really difficult time beating out Sean Renfree for the No. 2 quarterback job ... behind starter Matt Schaub.

Me: "You're dropping on the depth chart."

Ryan: "Already? After one game?"

Me: "Hey, I'm just looking at numbers."

Ryan: "Yeah. It happens."

The Falcons defeated Washington 23-17 at the Georgia Dome. I know this because they handed out final box scores in the press box, and I had pretty much blacked out after the six-minute mark Thursday night, after which I passed out face first in a plate of nachos.

So here's what everybody was screaming about on social media . Ryan went 0-for-4 on two possessions. If you go strictly by numbers -- and why not, because I'm told by the analytics world that numbers don't lie -- he was the Falcons' fourth-best quarterback.

Statistics from Meaningless NFL Full Retail Schlock, Week 1:

• Schaub: 10 for 15, 179 yards, long of 68 yards, rating of 107.4. He also had a would-be touchdown pass dropped by Devonta Freeman.

• Sean Renfree: 5 for 9, 101 yards, long of 48 yards, rating of 95.1.

• Matt Simms: 0 for 3.

• Matt Ryan: 0 for 4.

The Falcons' first possession started on the half-yard line. On first down, a hurried Ryan underthrew to Julio Jones. On  second down, Freeman carried for three yards. On third and long, Ryan overthrew Jones under pressure (a quasi throw-away).

Ryan: "We have to do a better job situationally of punching that out, getting it outside the 10-yard line. So we can at least play the field position game. But in the preseason it’s a good experience to have, get one of those and learn from it, adjust from it. Hopefully we'll be more productive next time."

Ryan also went 0-for-2 on the second possession. One attempt was a deep pass to Mohamed Sanu, who appeared to be interfered with (no call). The second was another rushed poor throw to Aldrick Robinson. Ryan went down on that play and Dan Quinn decided correctly there was no reason to risk an injury. His night was done.

The starting quarterback -- yes, still -- isn't panicking.

"The biggest thing in preseason game one is just to knock that rust off," Ryan said. "It’s nice to get in the pocket, feel the movement around you again and look to make big strides from Week 1 to Week 2."

I realize after last season that everybody is just itching to jump Ryan and/or offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

But really: This ... means ... nothing.

Here's the passer rating formula, via well-places sources on Google images.

And now, I'm going to stab myself with a fork.

It turns out there's a reason Schaub and Robinson looked good together. Schaub: "Last year in Baltimore, Aldrick was with us all through the offseason and training camp so I worked with him a lot and we just picked up where we left off. I was definitely comfortable with him."

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz
Jeff Schultz
Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.
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