How to become a better NFL QB
Studying tape of game's best QBs gives insight into what makes them great
Tony Gonzalez's secret to becoming the greatest tight end in football
10 Things I Think, including a rushing prediction and who will win the British Open
With Peter King on vacation until July 26, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan took time away from his off-season vacation to write today's Monday Morning Quarterback Column. Ryan, the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2008, has compiled a 20-10 record in two seasons as a starter, the second-best mark among NFC quarterbacks with at least 30 starts.
NFL quarterbacks spend a lot of time during the off-season dissecting every aspect of their performance. We analyze, critique, and obsess over things that went right and try to figure out the things that went wrong.
We do this in an effort for personal self improvement and for the overall improvement for our respective teams.
So it should come as no surprise that days after we finished the 2009 season by recording back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in the 44-year history of the franchise, I was back in our quarterbacks room at the Falcons complex analyzing how I played during the season. And after reviewing the tapes of our 9-7 season, I decided I would spend the early part of the off-season studying the high-scoring offenses in the NFL that had personnel similar to ours here in Atlanta.
I went to see our video guys and requested game tape of the Colts, Cowboys, Patriots, Chargers, Packers, and Saints to see what those teams were doing and whether there were things the Falcons could incorporate.
While analyzing and studying those six offenses, I closely watched the quarterbacks -- Peyton Manning from the Colts, Tony Romo from the Cowboys, Tom Brady from the Patriots, Phillip Rivers from the Chargers, Aaron Rodgers from the Packers and Drew Brees from the Saints -- to see what each guy did to make his team so effective.
I learned several things about the game and about my own game during my film work, but I was mostly impressed with the patience under fire exhibited by Manning and Brady.
Both of those guys consistently take the underneath routes when they are given to them and don't ever think about going to another route until the defense takes the underneath route away. It amazes me how precise and accurate with the football all six of those guys are, and I can tell you that this was a really beneficial exercise that I feel will make me a better player as my career progresses.
NFL tight ends are a critically important component for any team's offensive success in today's NFL. So it was great to see that NFL Network analyst Charles Davis recently ranked my teammate Tony Gonzalez as the best TE in the game today. Obviously, I couldn't agree more.
Charles Davis' Top Five Tight Ends
1. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
2. Antonio Gates, Chargers
3. Jason Witten, Cowboys
4. Dallas Clark, Colts
5. Vernon Davis, 49ers
The Falcons traded a second-round pick for Tony just before the 2009 draft, and I can't tell you the positive impact he has had not only on me, but our entire team. To wit: Tony is a 10-time Pro Bowler and has been named first or second-team All-Pro by The Associated Press eight times during his 14-year career, yet he still works harder than any other player on the field. He catches balls before practice, after practice and he even has someone throw to him when the offense isn't on the field during practice. He just never quits working and you can see that influence on not only our younger players but also our veterans. That's the reason he will be a first ballot member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame once he's done playing.