Falcons want to add threat of the deep pass
Posted: 8:27 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27, 2013
By D. Orlando Ledbetter
FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons, in part because of leaky pass protection, have relied heavily on their short passing game early in 2013.
But offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter wants to start launching some bombs. He knows that teams, perhaps starting with New England on Sunday, will start jumping all of those short routes.
For instance, Julio Jones is going start getting pummeled on all of those screens if the threat of the deep pass in not present.
“We need to have more vertical shots in our game,” Koetter said. “That’s something that we are probably lacking right now. We just have to get more of an element of the vertical game.”
In addition to pass-protection issues, wide receiver Roddy White has been hobbled by his high ankle sprain.
“There are multiple factors in there that I’m not going to get into,” Koetter said. “There is more than one reason, but you are not scaring the defense if you’re not threatening vertically, that’s for sure.”
According to NFL statistics, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan ranks 30th in average pass length (including incomplete passes) at 6.14 yards and 32nd in the average length his passes travel in the air before completions (4.56).
According to Pro Football Focus, just 38.5 percent of Ryan’s 909 passing yards come before the catch. That’s the lowest percentage in the league.
The Falcons’ offensive line is still developing. They could get a boost with the possible return of Sam Baker at left tackle. It will be interesting to see if the Falcons stay with Jeremy Trueblood at right tackle or if they go back to the struggling Lamar Holmes.
The second-player could probably benefit for taking a step back and watching for awhile.
Pat Hill, one of the Falcons’ offensive line coaches, along with Paul Dunn, worked with New England coach Bill Belichick during his Cleveland head-coaching stint.
“Pat is an excellent coach,” Belichick said. “He does a great job. He’s a good fundamental teacher. He has a great way of motivating his players. He works them hard. Everybody loves him. He’s a guy that has a real upbeat and positive energy.”