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Peter King on M&M: Falcons’ Matt Ryan still needs to prove himself in postseason

09.27.13 at 11:56 am ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Peter King made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Patriots and NFL news.

The Patriots are preparing for a Sunday night showdown with the Falcons, who are led by Matt Ryan. King said the former Boston College star needs to prove himself in the playoffs before he’s considered among the elite.

“I really like him,” King said. “I like him a lot. I think he’s on his way to being a long-term premier quarterback in the NFL. But I think we all know that if a guy doesn’t play great in the postseason, he’ll never be considered one of the all-time greats. And Matt Ryan hasn’t played great in the postseason.

“He did have a good postseason last year, obviously. He played well against the Seahawks, outdueling Russell Wilson — even though you could argue that Russell Wilson played a better game that day. And he played OK against the 49ers — and probably would like to have a couple of decisions on the last drive back. Because if he made a couple of decisions differently, they’d have been playing in the Super Bowl. ‘€¦ I think he’s a top-10 quarterback. Let’s see how he does in the playoffs the next three or four years.”

Broncos linebacker Von Miller was banned six games to start this season. According to multiple reports, four of the games were for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy and two were for conspiring with a sample collector to cheat his test. King said the NFL kept the second part of the punishment relatively light because “this was going to be a long, hard fight with the union.”

“I know the NFL has heard rumors that other players have attempted to do the same thing, perhaps in Miami, perhaps in other places,” King said. “It will be interesting to see what if anything the investigation that the NFL — I’m not saying it’s a formal investigation, but the NFL is looking into the specimen-collecting process right now. But just know that the NFLPA is very much going to fight for Von Miller and probably would have stretched this out for a long time — the hearing for a long time, as long as they could. And who knows when Von Miller ultimately would have been suspended.”

The 49ers were heavily criticized for playing linebacker Aldon Smith on Sunday despite his DUI arrest two days earlier. Smith now is on leave while he reportedly seeks treatment for a substance-abuse problem.

“I wouldn’t have [played him],” King said. “My belief on that one is very simple, that there are times when I think you have to do the right thing for a person and not do the right thing for a player. And the right thing in my opinion was to sit Aldon Smith down, to have him come to all the meetings — you’re not abandoning him, and you’re actually paying him through the game — to basically sit him, to have him there for the weekend with you, have him in street clothes on the sidelines, and then Monday do whatever he’s going to do.

“I think that would have been much more effective for him in his life to basically say, ‘Hey, listen, this is more important, you winding up in somebody’s yard blowing double the legal limit for alcohol at 7 o’clock in the morning an hour before you have to be at the practice facility.’ It’s more important to basically say, ‘You’re not playing football this week.’ ”

Rumors persist that the league will consider putting a team in London in the not-so-distant future. King said the Jaguars are the most likely candidate.

“[Jaguars owner] Shad Khan can say whatever he wants about how he’s solid in Jacksonville, he’s not moving, anything like that. But the fact is, he is a threat at some point,” King said. “It could be years down the road, but I think he has to be considering his options. Even though Jacksonville really tries hard and all that, Jacksonville has not become the NFL city that the league thought it would be two decades ago when Jacksonville and Carolina were admitted into the NFL. Everybody thought Jacksonville was going to become Atlanta junior. It’s never really risen to that height. It’s a medium-sized American city that is consumed with college football and likes pro football, but I don’t know if they like it enough and have the financial base in the long term to support a team.

“I think the more interesting question about London right now is this: Can it be the kind of threat to a Los Angeles franchise? ‘€¦ Could they use the leverage of moving a team to London, possibly, to get the best possible team and best possible deal to Los Angeles?”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Aldon Smith, Matt Ryan, Peter King, Von Miller
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