Fight or flight: replacing Ryan would have been ludacris

Illustration by Myah Anglin |The Signal

Welcome back to Fight or Flight.

I know I proclaimed I would continue detailing the coordinators that fill out the rest of Arthur Smith’s staff. But I have to take today to address something different.

That contingent of fans upset by Arthur Blank’s commitment to Matt Ryan and Julio Jones for next season astounds me.

Terry Fontenot, Arthur Smith, Rich McKay and Arthur Blank all came to that decision. Well, Smith and Fontenot, since they remained uncertain on Ryan and Jones from the beginning. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look.

Fight: Falcons’ commitment to franchise icons for 2021

It seemed more likely that Jones would get traded over Ryan. Even national media knew it, and they often have a misunderstood idea of what makes up the Falcons both year to year and in the long-term picture.

Ryan was not going anywhere, and there is no reason for him to go anywhere. Most NFL fans know his cap hit for 2021 makes it hard to trade him anyway, but there is a much simpler reason aside from financials. He is still playing at a high level.

Ryan endured multiple seasons under Koetters’s stagnant offense, and Dan Quinn led teams, which says a lot already, and still significantly produced. I could rehash and reference many reasons, but simply, Ryan is here for 2021, and Falcons fans should be happy. Appreciate his greatness while No. 2 is on the field and not hanging from the rafters.

Jones is a little different than Ryan, but carries a big enough cap hit that moving Jones would not be that feasible for Smith and Fontenot. Jones has battled injuries for the last few years. But when he is healthy, or at least at 80% of his full self, is there a better one-two punch than him and Calvin Ridley?

Jones and Ryan can do this, and with a competent coach, and a capable defense, they can make one final run at the NFC South. Furthermore, after trudging through the fallout of their infamous Super Bowl, they deserve their shot. After 2021, it is much more likely one or both are gone. So, appreciate them while they are here.

Flight: “Those” fans

Yes, both Jones and Ryan have declined since Ryan’s MVP year. But are they moving on from them? Really? The team’s direction comes down to the future as much as the present. Ryan can mentor the next Falcons quarterback. Jones can continue to help the wide receiver room and keep Ridley from taking the hits and usage that a No. 1 receiver would get.

With Jones and Ryan returning for the 2021 season, everyone benefits. Ridley can avoid the wear and tear of a true number one receiver, and Arthur Smith has established veterans to help as he gets acclimated to being a head coach.

Moving on from them was unfeasible and shortsighted; this was the best play, and the Falcons Brass have plotted the right course of action.