The NFL season is less than two months away and The Ringer NFL Show is breaking down roster changes, strengths and weaknesses, and where each team stands leading up to the opening game on September 7. On this week’s show, Kevin Clark and Robert Mays each ranked their top five quarterback supporting casts. At no. 5, Clark has the Falcons, with their excellent receiving corps and solid run game. Atlanta’s coaching turnover kept the Falcons off Mays’s list, and he slotted the Dolphins in at no. 5 instead. Here are their cases for and against those two teams:
Listen to their full rankings and the rest of the podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.
Robert Mays: [Atlanta] would have been on my list last year, but I feel like the Kyle Shanahan factor is what kept them off — just because I want to see how sustainable that offense is without him, even though they have pretty much the same personnel coming back.
Kevin Clark: Over the Cap did a really interesting thing two weeks ago about the percentage of snaps that are returning this year, without losing both overall snaps and quality. And the Falcons lost the fourth least [in terms of] quality snaps and overall snaps. There is continuity there that I think is really important. … So you have Matt Ryan, and you have Julio Jones. That’s really all you need. But then you have the great supporting cast that [GM Thomas] Dimitroff has set up — I think [new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian] is going to be OK, dude.
Mays: I think he could.
Clark: And both those running backs are really good. The line is good. Alex Mack is good. And I also trust Dimitroff to make [changes] if things aren’t clicking in training camp, or if Sark wants to move some pieces around, I think Dimitroff’s going to make some moves. But I am surprised that Atlanta is not in your top five.
Mays: We’re talking about continuity, and that’s a huge part of this conversation. That’s why everybody else is as secure at the top as they are. Changing offensive coordinators worries me. Whatever the downgrade from Shanahan is — and there will be one — that is as worrisome to me as a guy getting used to somebody else in his ear. A guy getting used to how a game is called. Those things change, and they usually take at least a couple of seasons to get right, even if the guy is doing a good job. Think about the first year with Shanahan — that didn’t go that well. There were growing pains there that were clear. Matt Ryan struggled with some of those elements, and I think that no matter what, no matter who it is, that is going to be something that has some bumps. And that’s why they don’t make it for me.
Mays: I love [Dolphins head coach Adam] Gase and what he does for quarterbacks.
Clark: Yeah, I love Gase too!
Mays: And I think that that — with those pass catchers there and Adam Gase, that’s a place I’d want to be a quarterback. It absolutely is. DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills — Julius Thomas isn’t that great, but he’s pretty good! And with the running game that they have, I just feel like that is a spot where you could succeed as a quarterback. And I think that they have the continuity there that Atlanta doesn’t. That’s all I’m saying.
Clark: OK, I disagree. Now, I’m not disagreeing with your notion that Miami’s a good place to be a quarterback. I love Adam Gase. I love all that talent. Obviously, a lot of people talk about Jarvis Landry being sort of a "volume shooter" — I think there’s part of that, but I do think they’re all really talented on that offense. I just think that there are so many things going for Atlanta. They have a great running game, they have four or five really good receivers. They obviously have a top-three receiver in the game, they have a good offensive line, and they have the continuity. I think that that’s a better atmosphere.
Mays: Agree to disagree.