If Falcons make postseason, Ryan in MVP discussion

Plus: Falcons offensive, defensive MVPs at the halfway point

John and Hugh
November 06, 2018 - 11:05 am

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We are at the midway point of the NFL season. The Atlanta Falcons hold a 4-4 record which is good enough for third in the NFC South. With the league's midway point comes the discussion of MVPs, at least in each organization.

Jason Butt, who covers the Falcons for The Athletic, joined John and Hugh on Tuesday for a discussion on Atlanta's MVPs, both offensively and defensively.

The offense has shined under second-year offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Quarterback Matt Ryan is putting up MVP-esq numbers already throwing for over 2,600 yards through eight games. 

Meanwhile, rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley is making the case for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, already with seven touchdowns this season. Julio Jones is, well, Julio Jones and the rushing game surpassed 100-yards on the ground for the second time this season on Sunday.

When asked his choice for midseason team MVPs, Jason Butt said his offensive MVP was a no-brainer: “Nineteen touchdowns and three interceptions, and everyone’s involved in the offense right now.” 

The Falcons offense have gone 17-of-21 in the red zone. Butt said if not for his team’s record, Matt Ryan would be in the league MVP conversation.

Defensively, Butt went with defensive back Damontae Kazee, who's had to fill big shoes with both safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, the quarterback of the defense, lost for the season.

“The fact they’ve had two important guys on the back end go down (in Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen), I think his progression over the last four to five games has been impressive. You saw some struggles against Cincinnati (Bengals) but, over the next few games, his play has skyrocketed. His growth in that back end has helped this defense out.”​

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