As the depleted Atlanta Falcons get ready to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers eyes will be on Matt Ryan as he faces a level of adversity unlike anything he’s seen in his first five seasons.

Historically Matt Ryan is as accomplished a young QB you’ve seen in the NFL. He’s set many NFL and franchise records in his six seasons as an NFL quarterback. But we would be lying to ourselves if we believed the rest of the team hasn’t played a role in the success he’s had up until this point. Great teams win in this league not just great QB’s alone. Mike Smith has said that when a team is winning a coach and QB can be given too much credit and can also shoulder too much of the blame when losing.

The Falcons were under fire as they entered their bye week at 1-4. Right now the team is looking at an uphill battle if they want to secure a playoff seed by season’s end. Heck even if they were to turn things around and earn a wildcard spot –which isn’t out the realm of possibility I might add– they wouldn’t be able to do much with a below serviceable O-line and injuries on both sides of the ball. While many don’t question Matt Ryan’s ability to lead a team to victory Ryan is facing a predicament that will take more than a 2-minute drive to overcome.

In his six years as an Falcon Matt Ryan never had to carry a team this diminished of starting talent. Now he’s faced with the task of doing so for eleven more games. The injury bug struck this team hard. Julio Jones and Kroy Biermann are both done for the year. D-Block leader Sean Weatherspoon is out until week 11 at the earliest. Roddy White is nursing a high-ankle sprain while Steven Jackson and Asante Samuel recover from hamstring/thigh injuries. That’s a lot for one man to overcome…

But regardless of the record at the end of the season I think this will be a great learning experience for Ryan. He’s a “never say die” type of player that always puts his best foot forward in preparation for games. Although his competitive nature will certainly be tested I expect nothing less than Ryan’s best effort on game day.