Ryan not worthy of big contract

In July, Matt Ryan signed a $103.75 million contract that announced his place as an elite quarterback. Since then, he has been far from great.

Ryan has tossed 12 interceptions this year for the 2-8 Atlanta Falcons, who are a season removed from a conference championship game appearance. Thanks to a four-game losing streak, Atlanta is more likely now to grab a top draft pick than a playoff spot. Ryan admits he is not living up to expectations.

“Obviously, I haven’t played my best the last couple weeks,” Ryan said. “But you’ve got to keep plugging away. You’ve got to keep working at it. You’ve got to prepare. You know, I trust in my preparation, trust in my ability, trust in the guys around me. And I know that I’m capable of better.

“I’ve got to go out there and play a little bit better. In some situations, it’s the decision that you make. In some situations, it’s where the ball is placed. You still have to remain confident and cut it loose.”

Ryan’s steady improvement since he entered the league in 2008 netted him that humongous contract. But it also piled on a ton of expectations. As a member of the $100 million contract club, Ryan was put on the same level as Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Ryan squares off against Brees and the 8-2 New Orleans Saints on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 8:25 p.m. on NFL Network.

While Ryan hasn’t elevated his game to Brees’ level yet, it’s not all his fault. His top two targets at wide receiver, Julio Jones and Roddy White, have been injured and Atlanta’s offensive line has not been sharp. Ryan says the blame still falls on him.

“I don’t think I haven’t been seeing it well. I think I’ve got to be a little more patient.”