Ryan is cool under pressure

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is headed into his eighth season in the NFL and is optimistic about going into the season. Photos by Curtis Compton. Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter

What the numbers reveal is that quarterback Matt Ryan can still be an effective passer behind a subpar line.

Not many NFL quarterbacks were as good as Ryan at throwing under pressure in 2014, according to Pro Football Focus.

Ryan was under pressure during 723 drop backs in 2014 and completed 57 percent of his pass attempts with an accuracy rate (completions plus drops) of 69.1 percent. The pressure completion percentage ranked fourth among starting quarterbacks and the accuracy percentage ranked sixth.

Ryan is not a plus-athlete, but he helps his cause by getting rid of the ball quickly (2.6 seconds average, eighth-fastest) and not taking sacks (13.3 percent of pressures ended in sacks, tied for eighth-lowest).

Overall, PFF graded Ryan as the ninth-best quarterback under pressure in 2014. The eight quarterbacks who graded better tend to be better athletes than Ryan, have even quicker releases, or both.

Clearly, though, Ryan can make plays even when dealing with an effective pass rush.

PFF calculated that Ryan faced pressure on 34.3 percent of his drop backs in 2014, slightly more than the league average of 33.4. According to Football Outsiders, the line’s adjusted sack rate (adjusted for down, distance and opponent) of 5.8 percent in 2014 was a bit better than league average (6.6).