Posted: 4:51 pm Thursday, February 6th, 2014

ESPN: Tony Gonzalez says Matt Ryan is ‘not elite’ 

By Mark Bradley

"Don't go thinking you're elite, pal."

“Don’t go thinking you’re elite, pal.”

I hate to make too much of a Tweet, but this one kind of jumped out at me. According to ESPN the Magazine, Tony Gonzalez told writer Seth Wickersham: “Matt (Ryan is) an excellent quarterback. But he’s not elite. He’s THIS close.”

I’ve not seen Wickersham’s story — Dave Choate of the Falcoholic indicates it’s just now available on newsstands — so I can’t comment beyond the Tweet. But “he’s not elite” is pretty hard to take out of context, don’t you think?

And you know what? I wouldn’t disagree with the just-retired Tony G. I’ve long thought Ryan was closer to Eli Manning than Peyton, although that’s not such a terrible thing. I wouldn’t put Ryan on the top shelf alongside Brady and Brees and P. Manning and Rodgers. I’d put him one level down, with Flacco and E. Manning and Rivers and Roethlisberger. (With the young guys — Wilson, Luck and Kaepernick — coming up fast.)

Can you win a Super Bowl with Matt Ryan? I’ve never believed you couldn’t, and I don’t believe otherwise even after 4-12. I think he is, as Gonzalez said, an excellent QB who’s very close to elite status. I’d also note that Eli Manning has won twice as many Super Bowls as his older brother.

Update: Via the ol’ iPad, I have now read Wickersham’s story, which is essentially a weekly chronicle of Gonzalez’s farewell season. Included: The disgusted (and unprintable) reaction of Gonzalez’s wife when he wasn’t traded at midseason; his observation (after the New England game) that the Falcons lacked a pass rush; the news that Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez had a double date with Mr. and Mrs. Ryan, and that the quarterback presented the retiring tight end with a gold Rolex after his final game.

The “he’s-not-elite” observation was made after the aforementioned loss to the Patriots — as a rule, nobody looks all that great when viewed alongside Brady, who was especially splendid that night — and contains this Gonzalez projection: “He’ll get there, but he has some learning to do.”

368 comments
lamac66
lamac66

Of course you can win a sb with Ryan, thing is everything around has to perfect. His lack of playmaking ability pretty much requires that

JSSN
JSSN

@PaulinNH

It has been sticking in my craw a couple of months now since the game in Tampa Bay.Is Ryan starting to take on the persona and career arc of Drew Bledsoe in some ways? He never played with elite WR talent (Terry Glenn and Ben Coates were better than average to extremely good). The numbers TD% scream out before Belichick took the ball out of his hands (went more to run and short passing game) when the INTs skyrocketed. It is shocking!

birdrow
birdrow

Dude, this B.S. article along with it's moronic comments has been up for like 5 days.  Do any of you worm holes actually do anything from Thursday thru Sunday, or is it just a slow week?  Dammmmm, can we move on with something else....anything....?

Dman
Dman

Matt Ryan is awesome. I'm glad we have him locked up for years. The future looks bright. Rise Up Atlanta...

iBalling
iBalling

What is the issue here? Tony G told the truth and it should not hurt! Matt IS NOT ELITE!! However, his time will come if he has an O-line to keep him alive.

SlawDawg
SlawDawg

Matty Ice should be known as Matty SlushPuppy going forward. As soon as King Arthur gave him all that money, he became complacent. He knows win, lose, or draw he still gets his millions. So where is the incentive to play hard and risk a major injury. Personally, I would not go to watch the pitiful Falcons if King Arthur himself pushed me into the stadium in a wheelchair.

ColdSplash
ColdSplash

Ryan is an elite quarterback surrounded by elite practice squad linemen.

LostGoat
LostGoat

can thomas trade 5 picks to get clowney?  he's brilliant!

cash1
cash1

play off wins that when you be come elite. Ryan and Gonzalez  both have not won in play off. Atlanta Falcons building on fools  Gold. 2012  they had a very good regular season team . Atlanta is elite at losing play off. Just the Fact!!

GATiger
GATiger

I did read Wickersham's article, and the "not elite" quote, read alone, is somewhat out of context. TG was extremely complimentary of Ryan, saying he's the best QB by far he's ever played with, and he has no doubt Ryan will achieve that elite status. The focus on that single quote borders on yellow journalism.

HelloMarty
HelloMarty

Anyone can see that Tony G is only stating the obvious. When the supporting cast improves Ryan will do the same. And people, he will be there.

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

Remember people.....for ll his wonderfulness, gonzo is still a big dumb jock. Reporters sdnt ask too harda questions to these guys...requiring them to think is outside their usual perveww....lol

zuzu331
zuzu331

Here's a much better,non misleading headline,from NFL.COM:Gonzalez:'Matter of time' until Falcons QB Ryan is elite. 

ESPN's headline:Gonzalez words on Ryan may be overblown

I have to bring up YAHOO.COM to read about the very,VERY interesting revelation that Gonzalez had actually said to reporters that he may just be back next year: Gonzalez leaves door ajar for return, says Ryan not elite."Maybe, if the team is hot in November, 9-2 (record) or something, I could come back for the last two months," Gonzalez said. 

 

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

Clowney could fall all the way pick #6


1. TEXANS - JOHNNY FOOTBALL QB


2. RAMS - JAKE MATTHEWS OT


3. JAGURS - BLAKE BORTLES QB


4. BROWNS - TEDDY BRIDGEWATERS QB


5. RAIDERS - SAMMY WATKINS WR


6. FALCONS - CLOWNEY


GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

Fix the Falcons defense and Matt Ryan will look a lot better, this will allow him to play his game instead of playing catch up football, he is not a comeback type QB against elite defense.


Draft Clowney and let see how good this defense can become.


GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

Top Ten QB


1. AARON RODGERS


2. TOM BRADY


3. PEYTON MANNING


4. DREW BREES


5. RUSSELL WILSON


6. COLIN KAEPERNICK


7. ANDREW LUCK


8. BEN ROETHILISBERGER


9. CAM NEWTON


10. JOE FLACCO


GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ryesouvie
ryesouvie

I agree with Gonzo, although I'm very proud that he is our franchise QB. He will never be elite, unless the falcons rebuild the offensive line. I would have liked to see Brees, Rodgers, etc line up behind our atrocious offensive line and missing our number #1 and number#2 receivers. The running game was non existent. Some people in this town will not like Ryan no matter what he does. They prefer someone with a rap sheet. Go Falcons!

Dman
Dman

Matty Ice is the man and all you haters will hate it more next year when he beats your team...

patriotdog
patriotdog

MB, I've read, and enjoyed your columns since you rolled into town, but this one is a non newsworthy item. I imagine if you asked Ryan if he were in the Brady, Manning class he'd also say no. Gonzalez is right, Matty is not an elite qb, and he's also right in saying he's 'this close'. He is. What's the story?

The thing about football is, no matter how much you guys in the press, or ignorant fans, want to make a qb's record a 'W-L' thing, you can't. Maddux, Clemens, Nolan Ryan, etc...could have nights where they barely needed any help to record a 'W'. A football player, regardless of his position, can never, EVER claim that. Football, every single play, is the ultimate team game. A qb never wins or loses a game. It's always, ALWAYS a team win or loss.

Matt is not elite. But he is million miles closer than any of his teammates.

zuzu331
zuzu331

@birdrow So you make a comment attacking making comments?

Quit your day job and run for Congress Immediately!

Or maybe apply for a state job in the Ethics Regulatory Division... 

JSSN
JSSN

@birdrow  

Another moment of irony brought you by the AJC blogs! The person who can't spell "Damn" calling other people: "moronic!"

Nah, we waiting on you to invalidate our lives!

BobRoswell
BobRoswell

You are delusional. He is a wimp

BlackandRed
BlackandRed

@SlawDawg  No you call him that, son. We will continue to call him Ice. You know...us..the FANS? People who understand the complexities of the game does not ride on any one shoulders?


Everyone that mentions his pay raise makes me dismiss them as just another envious basement dweller.

BlackandRed
BlackandRed

@FoSho Oh yes he could and 


Oh yes he is. 


That is why he will never do it. What..you just cream dreamed or something. 


Have you ever told him to his face how you feel? He is in the public quite a bit.


Why don't you run along and do that?

BlackandRed
BlackandRed

@cash1  who taught you how to spell? And who let you have a phone to text with? have you ever played with a concussion before?


For symptoms of stupid see your doctor.

zuzu331
zuzu331

@GATiger I have yet to see any mention of Gonzalez's possibility of coming back next year in any of Atlanta's media outlets.

BlackandRed
BlackandRed

@zuzu331  I'm ready to see Toilolo step up and catch some balls. He needs some reps with Ryan (which I hope they are doing today) so they can get a 'thing' going.


Tony would twist forward for two. I expect Levine to muscle that 6-8 265# mass through some bodies for 5-6 yards.


Man we got a lot of young talent got handed hella schooling last year. They can only get better. Seeing Samuel and Nicholas move on is definitely a direction we should go. What good did that veteranship do for us last year?


3 beasts away from the SB. You pick with line to put them on.

JSSN
JSSN

@zuzu331  

When a team lacks "real leadership" in the locker room and on the field this is what you get! Green Bay had it for a long, long, long time when Brett Favre was toying with the franchise during the Mike Sherman era and the beginning of the McCarthy tenure. It created tension and despite the fact that they won enough to get a play away from the Super Bow; it was a mess.

So you've learned nothing from last off season. You need the example setters in the meeting rooms and in the OTAs not on a tablet!

Stop chasing a title, and build a team capable of winning in any conditions! Dennis Pitta, Zach Miller, and Miller in Pittsburgh have titles, meanwhile the greatest statistical TE in history has ONE playoff win!

BRAVES2143
BRAVES2143

@devounknown1000  Dream on.  If Clowney is not taken nr 1 or 2 then someone will trade up to the 2 or 3 spot and take him.  Clowney may be good in the NFL but he is not the type of difference maker that a team with multi needs could afford to give up a couple of Nr 1's and a couple of other high round picks to draft.   If Matthews drops then take him a 6 if not then try and trade down and get as many picks as you can.  

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

@devounknown1000


Do a little research prior to making ignorant claims.........search topic regarding best "comeback NFL QB" and Matt Ryan is #1 over the past 6 seasons in total number of times AND percentage of successful comeback victories when given opportunities trailing in the 4th quarter. He would have even more IF the Falcons had a decent defense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dman
Dman

@devounknown1000 - "not a comeback type QB"? He has more comeback wins than any other QB in the last 6 years. He's a great come back QB. That's why he is called Matty Ice... Rise Up in 2014...

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

@devounknown1000


OFFICIAL QB RATINGS for the first 6 seasons as NFL starter:


Matt Ryan 90.6 1 Poor OL entire career; pitiful team first 2

Brett Farve 89.4 2 VERY solid team most of these 6 seasons

Tom Brady 88.5 3 VERY solid team & OL most of these 6 seasons

Peyton Manning 88.1 4 Poor OL 1st season; then drafted OL studs

Steve Young 88.0 5 TB first 2 was pitiful then VERY solid team next 4

Phillip Rivers 87.4 6 Decent team with good OL all 6 years

Drew Brees 87.3 7 Solid team most of these 6 seasons

Joe Flacco 84.3 8 VERY solid team most of these 6 seasons

Aaron Rodgers 82.0 9 VERY solid team most of these 6 seasons

Eli Manning 77.0 10 Poor OL first 2 then VERY good OL next 4

John Elway 72.6 11 VERY solid team most of these 6 seasons


Maybe this devounknown clown should re-think his biased "personal opinion" list using a few facts!

GATiger
GATiger

Wilson, Kaepernick and Newton? You're way off.

JSSN
JSSN

@ryesouvie  

"Some people in this town will not like Ryan no matter what he does. They prefer someone with a rap sheet."

No, they'd prefer a consistent playoff and Super Bowl winner who is not overpaid therefore not mortgaging the moves of the franchise (past or present). That requirement includes "someone with a rap sheet!"

JSSN
JSSN

@Dman  

"Matty Ice is the man and all you haters will hate it more next year when he beats your team."

Did anybody else think 'Groundhog's Day' was on Sunday?

Sure, the 2008 Cardinals, the 2009 Saints, the 2010 Packers, 2011 Giants, the 2012 49ers, and a whole host of 12 others from 2013 (including the Super Bowl champion Seahawks) heard that baggard's hot air before!

Your daily dose of "negative!" Didn't want to disappoint your tiredness!

Dman
Dman

Well said

zuzu331
zuzu331

@JSSN @zuzu331 I think the real problem lies in the Front Office Administration,not Ryan. I dont think they want someone stepping up and speaking out. 'Free Thinkers' and true Badasses are simply not welcome here.See:Abraham,Clabo,Dahl.

Let's see If they can do more than just talk about instilling toughness after years of rooting it out of the team like pulling weeds...

BlackandRed
BlackandRed

@JSSN @ryesouvie  well guess what? You can't have that consistency because of parity. 


I know I know it hurts you so deeply. You have to be patient. I know your mommy gave you whatever you immediately demanded due to some sense of entitlement, but my fandom is not built around wins losses or super bowls. Without super bowls you hate your team. 


You are doing it wrong.


I enjoy it for what it is: sports oriented entertainment. You act like every good play was because of you and every bad play deserves derision up and down the franchise.

Dman
Dman

Thanks for that... :( you should change your name to Mr Negative. Or change your life to more positive thoughts. You'll feel better...

Oh, and that Goundhog day means we are closer to warmer weather. See positive thinking...

JSSN
JSSN

@Dman  

You sound like Vikings or old Rams fans back in the day when they kept saying Fran Tarkenton, Pat Haden, or Jim Everett ere gonna make people pay for doubting them! Shaking in my boots! ;-)

Dman
Dman

Like I said above, you and all the other troll haters are going to be pissed when Matty Ice beats your teams next year and in years to come.

JSSN
JSSN

@Dman  

No thanks, it just means you live in the Northern Hemisphere and that you have a perception issue. Enjoy!

JSSN
JSSN

@Dman  

No thanks, it just means you live North of the Equator! And that you are stuck in a perception issue. But it is "your thing" enjoy!