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 Post subject: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 9:48 pm 
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Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
May 22nd, 2014
Aaron Freeman

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Falcons could Learn a lot from Bruce Arians’ style of play

If you were a regular reader of my Moneyball reviews of Atlanta Falcons games in 2013, you probably recall how much I harped on the lack of big plays in the Falcons offense.

Watching All-22 film of the games, it was clear to me that the Falcons offense stagnated without the explosive element to their offense. But how clearly the link between offensive success and big plays for the Falcons did not become fully realized until well after the season.

That was thanks to some research I did this spring to look at the number of 20-yard plays the team generated in 2013. In the time since, I’ve also done similar research for 2012 just to confirm that this past year’s results weren’t just a one-year aberration.

I looked at all the “big plays” (i.e. plays that gained 20 or more yards) the team has made over the past two years and drives upon which they occurred, to see if the Falcons managed to score points on those drives.

And there’s one clear conclusion: the chances the Falcons offense scores goes up significantly if they can generate big plays of 20 or more yards.


2012-13 Big Play Drives
Edit

2013
2012
Category Incl. 20+ Play No 20+ Play Incl. 20+ Play No 20+ Play
Total Drives 46 133 50 127
Points Scored 214 139 215 204
Pts Per Drive 4.65 1.05 4.30 1.61
Red Zone Trips 29 20 31 31
Chance of RZ Trip 63.04% 15.04% 62.00% 24.41%Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Improvements to pass protection could pay dividends for Falcons
Pay closest attention to the number of points generated per drive on drives that include a big play versus those that do not. Also check out the chances of the Falcons entering the red zone when they generate a big play on a drive versus when they do not.

In 2013, the Falcons were able to score over four times as many points on drives where they generated a big play, and it was nearly three times as much in 2012.

They also were four times as likely to reach the red zone if they generated a big play than if they were not. And that doesn’t factor in the big plays in which the team didn’t technically reach the red zone because they scored on the play. In 2013, there were 10 such big plays that were touchdowns that weren’t counted towards their total red zone trips. In 2012, that number was seven.

If you include those scoring plays, it shows on 84.8 percent of drives in which the Falcons generated a big play, it led directly to points or helped them reach the red zone in 2013. For 2012, that number shoots to 76 percent.

It’s very hard to ignore numbers like this. Especially when they are relatively consistent from 2012 to 2013, two seasons in which the Falcons offense couldn’t have been any more different in terms of its overall efficiency.

It was one of the reasons that made reviewing Falcons games so frustrating over the course of 2013. While I did not have direct knowledge of these numbers at the time, I could implicitly sense this correlation that the Falcons seemed to score a lot more when they were able to generate yards in large chunks.

No game epitomizes this link any stronger than the team’s Week 13 win over the Buffalo Bills, in which the Falcons scored a season-high of 34 points and converted 52.8 percent of their third downs, which nearly exceeded their season-high against the St. Louis Rams in Week 3 of 53.8 percent.

The finger was often pointed at the offensive line’s inability to keep quarterback Matt Ryan upright as the reason for the lack of big plays. Ryan needed more time in the pocket, something the line could not reliably give him, in order to find his sporadic playmakers at receiver down the field.

But it’s interesting that Ryan was sacked six times against the Bills, which was until the Week 17 debacle against the Carolina Panthers, the most in any game last year. Yet the Falcons offense still seemed to click despite the pressure Ryan faced. The same could be said of the Rams game earlier in the year where Robert Quinn and Chris Long put a lot of heat on Ryan throughout that game.

That’s not meant to absolve the offensive line fully of blame, because they certainly deserve a significant portion of it. But it overlooks the simple reality that the Falcons rarely asked their receivers to run routes down the field. The fact would be lost on most observers unless they were reviewing All-22 on NFL Game Rewind.

It’s hard to generate plays of 20 or more yards when the receivers are only running 10-15 yards down the field as they were on the vast majority of pass plays in 2013.

Carson Palmer and Eli Manning faced a comparable amount of pressure as Ryan in 2013, yet they attempted nearly twice the rate of 20-yard or more throws last year:

Edit

Matt Ryan
Carson Palmer
Eli Manning
Dropbacks 703 618 596
Under Pressure 290 249 240
Pct. Under Pressure 41.3% 40.3% 40.3%
Pass Attempts 651 572 551
20+ Yd Attempts 43 74 70
Pct. of 20+ Yd Att. 6.6% 12.9% 12.7%
*All Stats are from Pro Football Focus
It’s why shoring up the offensive line and pass protection this offseason, as the team presumably has with additions like Jake Matthews and Jon Asamoah, will not alone solve that problem.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan and the offense need to take more shots downfield
Play-calling and play design is also going to need a major upgrade as well, and that rests firmly on the shoulders of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Ryan completed 39.5 percent of his deep pass attempts in 2013. Had he attempted the same rate of deep throws as Manning did, that works out to be 32.6 completed 20-yard passes. That’s 17.6 more big plays produced in the passing game than the Falcons actually did in 2013.

If those 17.6 plays occur on the same number of drives, it could potentially lead to 81.8 more points scored in 2013. An additional 82 points would have taken the Falcons from their 20th-ranked scoring offense (353 points) to a 6th-ranked scoring offense (435) last season.

The Falcons all-time record for points scored in a single season is 442, which occurred in their 1998 Super Bowl season.

When the Falcons traded up for Julio Jones in 2011, they explained it was about wanting to get more explosive. The truth is that the team has failed miserably in that regard. In 2010, the team had 44 plays of over 20 yards, and the past two years it’s been 53 and 50 respectively. That’s marginal improvement, indicating that the Falcons were sorely mistaken in thinking that Jones alone would make a dramatic difference.

If the Falcons want to succeed in becoming a more explosive team, it’s not only going to take improvements to their personnel but also a dramatic sea change to their offensive philosophy. Last year was a perfect opportunity for the team to play with that “balls to the wall” philosophy since it was very clear by midseason that they were out of the playoff race, and really had nothing to lose.

This year will present an interesting question: will the Falcons play more fast and loose, or will they revert back to the same conservative formula of the past several years? The Falcons have won many games with that philosophy, but the numbers show that there is significant room for growth with a more aggressive strategy. And if the team finds itself again in a similar position as it was in 2012: on the cusp of a Super Bowl, a more aggressive shift in philosophy could be exactly what pushes the team over the hump.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 10:48 pm 
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To make it a cleaner analysis, you should take 3 and outs out...since any time a team gets an explosive play, it means they at least picked up a first down, so of course they're going to do better than when they don't.

That said, I agree with the general thrust completely. The Falcons don't run enough deep routes, don't throw the ball up often enough for their guys to make plays, and don't have any fast guys to take advantage of the attention Julio and Roddy get. A seam stretching TE or WR would likely grab an easy 20+ yard post twice a game.

Hopefully, a weak OL is part of the reason they haven't run deep patterns. There's some reason to think that, given that they tried to go deep early in 2012, and it failed miserably due to pressure. They haven't made their line better since then (in fact worse until now) so perhaps they've kept their routes short to cover. If so, that's a pretty large indictment, though, because it means they got a weapon to be explosive, and never fixed the base to let him be.

I honestly worry they'll get more timid and more run oriented this year. I don't think this will actually change until they get a tall receiver in the slot to hit that easy post and challenge the safeties, and until they put the ball more in play to their outside guys. Since I expected two midround WRs drafted this year, I've obviously tempered expectations.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 10:12 am 
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I don't think it's just the OL.

As I illustrated in the post, the Falcons threw the ball downfield about as half as much as the Cardinals and Giants did with similar porous O-lines.

That would basically indicate that the Falcons OL was twice as bad as the Cardinals or Giants OLs last year, which I don't think is true at all.

The other issue is the Brian Robiskie signing. Again, if the Falcons felt compelled to throw the ball downfield, they wouldn't have signed a 6-3 slow WR that couldn't separate from coverage and had made his living in the league and in college as a possession-type receiver. Had they felt that vertical passing was an issue, then they would have signed a player like Mohamed Massaquoi (or someone else) instead because he has much better vertical ability.

takeitdown wrote:
There's some reason to think that, given that they tried to go deep early in 2012, and it failed miserably due to pressure.

I'm curious to what you're referring to because I do not recall this at all. Over the 2nd half of 2012, I did notice that they used a lot more max protect on their designed deep shots, which usually featured both Julio & Roddy running go routes, but I'm not sure that was in a response to an earlier "failed" attempt.

Point is, I don't see much evidence suggesting that the Falcons vertical potential would subtantially increase if they got better blocking. I'm sure they would throw the ball down the field more than they did in 2013 certainly, but they'd still be below average. 2008 remains the only year under Mike Smith where the Falcons threw the ball downfield at an above average rate compared to other NFL teams, and that was again in a year where they ran the ball 54% of the time.

My personal opinion is that getting back towards the running game could/should be beneficial in terms of the Falcons expanding their explosive pass potential because it opens up play-action as it did in 2008. The problem of course is that the Falcons don't really have the sort of personnel to be a dominant run team.

They still need help at RB and probably a couple more starters on the OL before they can put that sort of running game on the field. And again, need another vertical threat at WR to line up outside.

And even if they don't go in that direction and remain a pass-first attack, they need to make substantial upgrades at WR3 and TE1 and probably need a few more starters on the OL to make that work.

Either way, they are at least 1 or 2 offseasons from putting the sort of personnel on the field that they need to in order to maximize the explosive potential of the offense. Which is fine, but I guess my issue is there is no clear indicator of which direction they want to go. Which again goes back to the issue that has plagued this team for the past 3 years which is lack of identity.

They talk as if they want to go towards the run game with the idea of adding toughness, yet all their personnel moves at RB and OL suggest they want to stick with the pass-heavy attack (by adding 3 players in Matthews, Asamoah & Freeman that are ideally suited to playing in pass-heavy attacks). And if that is the case, then why did they team essentially ignore their needs at WR & TE?

And because there is a lack of identity and thusly no clear end goal to where they want to go on offense, they can make small gains but never the huge leaps possible because they don't really know what they're doing from a personnel/team-building standpoint. :so:

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 12:47 pm 
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They talk as if they want to go towards the run game with the idea of adding toughness, yet all their personnel moves at RB and OL suggest they want to stick with the pass-heavy attack (by adding 3 players in Matthews, Asamoah & Freeman that are ideally suited to playing in pass-heavy attacks). And if that is the case, then why did they team essentially ignore their needs at WR & TE?


You're reading a bit too much into it. Last years offense line could pass block or run block. The brass chose to protect their 100M dollar investment first and foremost. Doesn't mean we will stay as pass heavy (as Ryan was getting drilled on three step drop backs as well). I think we'll see a more "balanced" run to pass ratio. (And no, not 50-50) More in tune with the rest of league.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 1:46 pm 
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Frankly, I believe the whole damn approach to football is flawed. Aside from their first year, they've never seemed to know what they're doing. They've consistently put themselves in bad situations and have yet to discover how to come up with a plan. Seriously, how do you draft four linebackers in one draft?!?!?

I have no faith in our current regime. It's a shame that we have the best QB that we've ever had, and he's paired with a front office that has no clue how to build and manage a team. Seriously, other than Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, what is our identity? We've had this staff for half a dozen years, and we had more of an identity in year 1 than we've had for other five. These guys are winging it. Every year seems like a new beginning because they don't know what they want to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 2:02 pm 
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AngryJohnny51 wrote:
You're reading a bit too much into it. Last years offense line could pass block or run block. The brass chose to protect their 100M dollar investment first and foremost. Doesn't mean we will stay as pass heavy (as Ryan was getting drilled on three step drop backs as well). I think we'll see a more "balanced" run to pass ratio. (And no, not 50-50) More in tune with the rest of league.
A more balanced run-pass balance should come simply from the fact that we should be able to score more points early in games (due to healthy WRs) and won't be playing from behind in every 2nd half like we were last year.

The team invested in zone-blockers this offseason by adding Jake Matthews, Jon Asamoah and re-signing Joe Hawley. All 3 players are ideally suited to play in zone blocking OL as far as the run game goes. This flies in the face of the additions they've made over the past 2 years with Konz, Holmes, Terren Jones, PK Manley, etc. The only moves they've made in that span that were ZBS guys was paying Baker $728 billion and picking up Ryan Schraeder, who's athletic and raw enough that he could probably play in any scheme, you just have to develop him.

But remember how in 2012 and 2013 they were talking about adding size and physicality with each OL guy that touted? They seemed to be on the path to trying to add the biggest OL they could possibly get thus why they picked up so many 330+ pounders. That flies in the face of a team that wants zone blockers.

But perhaps the reason why they liked Asamoah & Matthews had nothing to do with their run blocking abilities/potential, and everything to do with their ability to pass protect, because as you say, the goal is to protect their $104 million QB.

But now you're in a position where you've made significant investments in 4 of your 5 starters and they don't fit your run blocking scheme. It's all well and good to want to protect your QB, but it should not come at the expense of forgetting about 43% of your offense: the run game.

So now you're in a position where you may have improved the pass protection, but your run game may suffer because you now have 4 square pegs in round holes as opposed to 1 or 2. Or if you adapt your run game to fit your 4 starters, it negates pretty much every player you've added over the previous 2 off seasons making those picks/signings an absolute waste.

This is the consequence of not having a clear-cut identity.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 2:20 pm 
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Seriously, how do you draft four linebackers in one draft?!?!?


When you are switching to a 3-4, you can never have too many LB's.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 2:30 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
AngryJohnny51 wrote:
You're reading a bit too much into it. Last years offense line could pass block or run block. The brass chose to protect their 100M dollar investment first and foremost. Doesn't mean we will stay as pass heavy (as Ryan was getting drilled on three step drop backs as well). I think we'll see a more "balanced" run to pass ratio. (And no, not 50-50) More in tune with the rest of league.
A more balanced run-pass balance should come simply from the fact that we should be able to score more points early in games (due to healthy WRs) and won't be playing from behind in every 2nd half like we were last year.

The team invested in zone-blockers this offseason by adding Jake Matthews, Jon Asamoah and re-signing Joe Hawley. All 3 players are ideally suited to play in zone blocking OL as far as the run game goes. This flies in the face of the additions they've made over the past 2 years with Konz, Holmes, Terren Jones, PK Manley, etc. The only moves they've made in that span that were ZBS guys was paying Baker $728 billion and picking up Ryan Schraeder, who's athletic and raw enough that he could probably play in any scheme, you just have to develop him.

But remember how in 2012 and 2013 they were talking about adding size and physicality with each OL guy that touted? They seemed to be on the path to trying to add the biggest OL they could possibly get thus why they picked up so many 330+ pounders. That flies in the face of a team that wants zone blockers.

But perhaps the reason why they liked Asamoah & Matthews had nothing to do with their run blocking abilities/potential, and everything to do with their ability to pass protect, because as you say, the goal is to protect their $104 million QB.

But now you're in a position where you've made significant investments in 4 of your 5 starters and they don't fit your run blocking scheme. It's all well and good to want to protect your QB, but it should not come at the expense of forgetting about 43% of your offense: the run game.

So now you're in a position where you may have improved the pass protection, but your run game may suffer because you now have 4 square pegs in round holes as opposed to 1 or 2. Or if you adapt your run game to fit your 4 starters, it negates pretty much every player you've added over the previous 2 off seasons making those picks/signings an absolute waste.

This is the consequence of not having a clear-cut identity.


I get what you're saying, and don't necessarily disagree. Our identity 5 years ago was 3 yards and a cloud of dust. We had a bowling ball with legs on it for a running back (Turner). I have to assume we drafted/signed lineman to fit that roll. With Turner now gone and us being loaded at WR, the philosophy has changed a bit (rightfully so). We need good pass protectors and not road graders now. It doesn't mean we have no identity, it just means we are trying to change our identity.

For those who will reply by saying "why didn't we address this with the lines earlier"....you can't cut the whole line in one year. There are still other areas that need to be addressed, namely the defense, and so on. It's want thing to want it, but it's a whole other animal trying to make it happen.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 3:24 pm 
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AngryJohnny51 wrote:
Quote:
Seriously, how do you draft four linebackers in one draft?!?!?


When you are switching to a 3-4, you can never have too many LB's.


Pretty much agree here. Even if you go with a hybrid multiple-front the Falcons will probably still rotate plenty of linebackers in/out of various schemes.

That and it isn't like Atlanta has a dearth of quality linebackers. It's yet to be seen if Worrilow was a 1 year wonder and if he and Bartu continue to develop. Outside of that we have Weatherspoon who has been pedestrian vs. his expectations and Dent who is about as average as you can get.

I can't say that Atlanta has a clear cut starting LB unit and no one is terribly exciting though Worrilow and Bartu ahve plenty of promise. I don't think Spoon is on the team after this season and the same could possibly be said for Dent as well.

LB is just as big a mess as the DL IMO.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 4:37 pm 
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AngryJohnny51 wrote:
With Turner now gone and us being loaded at WR, the philosophy has changed a bit (rightfully so). We need good pass protectors and not road graders now. It doesn't mean we have no identity, it just means we are trying to change our identity.

We are not, "loaded," at WR. Last year, we got to see just how, "not loaded," we are. With Tony G out the door, and with Julio having questionable durability, we are literally one injury away from having a repeat of last year. I find it hard to call that, "loaded."


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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 4:48 pm 
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dirtybirdnw wrote:
AngryJohnny51 wrote:
Quote:
Seriously, how do you draft four linebackers in one draft?!?!?


When you are switching to a 3-4, you can never have too many LB's.


Pretty much agree here. LB is just as big a mess as the DL IMO.

How many LB's are you going to keep on the roster this year? With our four draftees, Spoon, Worrilow, Bartu, and Dent, that's eight. Do you think we're going to keep eight LB's on staff? Seven? By comparison, we ran the hybrid defense last year with five linebackers on the roster, two of which were rookies.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 10:32 am 
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read negatives....some other things might not fit the big play scheme

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 2:22 pm 
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backnblack wrote:
http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/matt-ryan?id=310

read negatives....some other things might not fit the big play scheme

So we should ignore all of the deep passes to Julio Jones in 2012? The deep ball is not Matt's best feature, but he is perfectly capable of making the throws at this point.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 6:08 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
backnblack wrote:
http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/matt-ryan?id=310

read negatives....some other things might not fit the big play scheme

So we should ignore all of the deep passes to Julio Jones in 2012? The deep ball is not Matt's best feature, but he is perfectly capable of making the throws at this point.

I don't think I said we should never throw the ball deep or to ignore the times we did. Who was the OC in 12? But I think the questions people had before the draft and that have been posed after his selection regarding arm strength and general athleticism which have been pooh poohed by the in-the-know gang still are a factor. When protection is weaker the long game suffers. Matt is not going to roll out and heave a ball way down the field. Also, when you have to keep folks in to protect it limits your options downfield. Smitty has never and will never be a greatest show on turf guy and if having a hobbled RW, an absent JJ and a non-existent running game wouldn't effect any coach's down the field aspirations I would be surprised. Our only true weapon last year was TG for much of the season. Pretty predictable.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 10:06 am 
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That was thanks to some research I did this spring to look at the number of 20-yard plays the team generated in 2013. In the time since, I’ve also done similar research for 2012 just to confirm that this past year’s results weren’t just a one-year aberration.

I looked at all the “big plays” (i.e. plays that gained 20 or more yards) the team has made over the past two years and drives upon which they occurred, to see if the Falcons managed to score points on those drives.

And there’s one clear conclusion: the chances the Falcons offense scores goes up significantly if they can generate big plays of 20 or more yards.


Don't all the better teams have more plays for 20 yards...... I mean plenty of teams have runs for 20 yards two or 3 times a game.

I mean you may find a certain team that doesn't get the 20 yard play;
but just from observation I'd think the better the team the more chances for 20 yard plays?

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 12:58 pm 
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Cyril wrote:
Don't all the better teams have more plays for 20 yards......

Yes, Cyril that was the point I was trying to implicitly put in your head. Good teams can generate plays in large chunks and IMHO that is an important factor when it comes to having success in the postseason. We see year after year, that the teams that generally advance in the playoffs are teams that get good QB play, good defensive play, and can also generate splash plays. Because splash plays are the only really effective tool against quality defenses. See the past two NFC Championship Games, where nearly every SEA-SF score this past year was on a drive (or play) that had a big 20+ yd gain. And look at our performance where we lit up the 49ers in the 1st quarter, it was thanks largely to big plays by Julio. Same can be said of our performance vs. Seattle the week before where a number of big runs and big pass plays led us to take an early lead.

BTW, the Eagles had 99 20+ yd plays last year, 53 of them came on the ground. Could you imagine if they had decided to keep DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin along with LeSean McCoy?

backnblack wrote:
read negatives....some other things might not fit the big play scheme

Thus, is the great dilemma the Falcons face. They have a QB that left to his own devices will be an underwhelming vertical passer.

IMHO the best solutions is to give him bigger WRs. Ryan has shown no hesitance when it comes to throwing the ball downfield to a big fast WR like Julio, and the same can be said of Roddy back in 2008 when he knows his receiver can go get the ball. He runs into trouble when this team continually saddles him with Harry Douglas for 7 years…

The other best solution is to build a run-first offense. The team was at its best in terms of its vertical potential in 2008 when they had Turner forcing teams to bring extra defenders into the box to stop the run, and leaving Roddy with some favorable 1 on 1 match ups on the outside that he very easily exploited.

Imagine a Falcons offense that now has Julio in that role (and no offense to Roddy, but Julio is about 10x scarier) and has a run game that commands respect rather than what they've put on the field for the past 40 or so games, which is a laughingstock.

It's because of this is why I believe what the Falcons run blocking scheme is (zone vs. man) is important than probably most people think. It's not just about improving the pass protection, but it's also building towards the best possible offense.

Unfortunately, the Falcons personnel moves the past few years only create more confusion as to what direction they are headed into.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 3:58 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
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Unfortunately, the Falcons personnel moves the past few years only create more confusion as to what direction they are headed into.


All I can say is when the team has 8-8 personnel, it seems to go backwards!! When we had Michael Turner we used him to get our first downs and some bigger plays..... We were good for about 2 or 3 years when we didn't make many changes. Then when it was time to cut Turner
and make changes on defense we just didn't do it!!

Its hard to understand 40+ years of making poor decisions; but I think those hoping for 10 wins this year will be very disappointed. Its hard to understand but out of 40+ years the Falcons have probably had 3-4 good offensive lines, some average, but about 20 really bad lines!!

Maybe a tiny bit better defensive lines but not much better!!

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 7:28 pm 
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Cyril wrote:
Pudge wrote:
Quote:
Unfortunately, the Falcons personnel moves the past few years only create more confusion as to what direction they are headed into.


All I can say is when the team has 8-8 personnel, it seems to go backwards!! When we had Michael Turner we used him to get our first downs and some bigger plays..... We were good for about 2 or 3 years when we didn't make many changes. Then when it was time to cut Turner
and make changes on defense we just didn't do it!!

Its hard to understand 40+ years of making poor decisions; but I think those hoping for 10 wins this year will be very disappointed. Its hard to understand but out of 40+ years the Falcons have probably had 3-4 good offensive lines, some average, but about 20 really bad lines!!

Maybe a tiny bit better defensive lines but not much better!!

I won't lie Cyril, your pessimism intrigues me…

This is one of the reasons I went into NFC Championship weekend last year feeling positive despite my brain telling me we were going to lose, because I had a feeling it might be the last taste of success we could have for many, many years to come. I remember back in '98, it felt like we were on the verge of something really good, and then we had the 3 years after those years, and it was not very fun to be a Falcon fan. At least in my lifetime, those were the dark times because there was a glimmer of hope in 1998. And then '02 happened, and it was like Vick was the Great Hope. We had the best player in the league!! We were relevant!!!!! Then '03, '05, and '06 happened and it was all for naught. We get Ryan in '08 after an abysmal '07 season, and build up the hope from '10 to '12, and now we are sunk back down to with our AFC South brethren: the Tennessee Titans as a competent to good team that is rarely talked about, but consistently competitive but people forget they're even in the league when they are trying to rattle off the 4 teams in the NFC South.

I couldn't imagine if I had to experience another 20 years of this…

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 12:25 am 
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Sadly, the last 20 years could arguably be referred to as the Golden Era. But this has been the Falcons MO for so long....build your hopes up to crush them. They never seem to be able to sustain things long enough to truly win over a scarred and skeptical fan base. The "ten yards form the SB" situation was really a perfect storm of down years for other teams and good breaks on our part though the ass beating we put on the Giants that year kind was that classic bait and switch Falcons thing. Just when you are truly ready to write them off forever they do something that makes kinda scratch your chin. I'm not expecting much of them this year so--according to this template--they should do great. I think Cyril is probably at a similar point., i.e., the numbing predictability of their path and they are, frankly, sort of boring.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 8:12 pm 
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I won't lie Cyril, your pessimism intrigues me…


Well I'll stop the intrigue!!

The Falcons Suck!! They've sucked for over 40 years...... I got season tickets at age 23 and personally watched them for about 40 years and just stopped 2 years ago.

I believe our front office has never been set up right; When " Georgia football is going right; everyone just accepts Georgia will win on Saturday;
and the Falcons lose on Sunday".

Their is no real solid fan base. Four years ago when we were good AND it would have just taken simple decisions; to keep us good, yet we made some terrible moves that put us back at 4-12 in a heart beat!! Look this franchise has some terrible people in it, no owner can change it; so in addition to watching and caring about them for about 55 years (that's at the age of 8,) I now realize we're like the 6 WORST NFL TEAMS in pro history. I'll like them when their good; but I won't say they'll be good in a certain year just to make fans feel good!! The Falcons will suck this year just like 90% of all their years..... Matt Ryan can't help them, he can only make himself rich while we continue to suck....

Sorry, this has been true for about 50 years, and it took me 45 years to
really realize this franchise will always suck for the most part. I've watched it in person and earned the right to express what I've seen over the last 50 years.... We've won 312 games and lost 402 games, in our history, Explain That!!

Its like being hot in the summer, it just is!!

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 10:55 pm 
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So, IOW, Cyril, you now bring your self described UT fair weather fandom to the Falcons? You have earned it. I've been hoping in one hand and crapping in the other with them since they got to ATL and all I have to show for it is a hand full of crap but there have been some fun days. How hard is it to be a Cowboys fan?

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 1:36 am 
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Pudge wrote:
I don't think it's just the OL.

As I illustrated in the post, the Falcons threw the ball downfield about as half as much as the Cardinals and Giants did with similar porous O-lines.

That would basically indicate that the Falcons OL was twice as bad as the Cardinals or Giants OLs last year, which I don't think is true at all.


I'm not at all blaming it all on the line. I've felt they don't throw deep often enough since Ryan's rookie year. He impressed me that year by putting the ball up for his playmakers, and then we never did it again.

Just my hopeful self was saying...when a coach already has a tendency to be conservative, a poor OL will amp that up. Maybe with a better OL, they'll do more.

Which leads to...
Pudge wrote:
takeitdown wrote:
There's some reason to think that, given that they tried to go deep early in 2012, and it failed miserably due to pressure.

I'm curious to what you're referring to because I do not recall this at all. Over the 2nd half of 2012, I did notice that they used a lot more max protect on their designed deep shots, which usually featured both Julio & Roddy running go routes, but I'm not sure that was in a response to an earlier "failed" attempt.


Yah, I meant 2011, my bad. They started trying to open it up that year, and Ryan nearly got killed. Melton and the entire front in Chicago. Then about 3 more teams. Our interior OL was a disgrace, and since then, they've never really fully gone back to it.

It was like they were forced against their will to try to pass deep, and then after it didn't work, said "yep, I told you we need max protect 2.5 second deep routes" and that was that.

It seems a fairly simple fix. We should be built roughly how Tampa is now on O, with a couple of legit backs, and 3 or 4 tall receiving options. Have a strong interior OL, and that enables you to run, run play action, have backs catch, and provide a pocket. You don't have to have a super specific identity, as you do each thing, but you have an identity that can at least be defined.

You sort of only have 1 of 2 options in the passing game. Either go tall, or spread them out and run option routes, rub routes, and clever scheming. Either work, but we're in the neither camp. The 3rd option is the run game based offense with playaction deep passing, which seems the dumbest of the 3 for this team. Get a tall WR and a decent TE (both of whom can stretch the seam) and use them, and this offense is ready for top 5. Otherwise, it's just lacking.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 9:10 am 
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Kind of funny how for the last few years the mantra has been that the era of the feature back is over and it is now a passing league ruled by explosive offense and a team with, arguably, a feature back and a stifling defense just throttled the poster child for the "new" model in last year's SB. I think the JJ trade was us trying to telescope into the future a bit and didn't we pass on more downs or a greater percentage of downs than any team in the league? We mos def lost our initial identity from when Smitty took over and many here applauded it. If you want to crawl with the big snakes I know you have to change skins but it has resulted in schizo drafting and a bit of a mess, I'd say. I guess a similar thing could happen to, say, DT if CJ went down but losing a WR wrecking your team seems kind of extreme.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 12:22 pm 
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We mos def lost our initial identity from when Smitty took over


Three yards and a cloud of dust didn't work, in the playoffs anyway. The league is a passing league now and rule changes to pretty much eliminate the defense have taken place. The league wants 45-41 games not 17-14 ones. Only one way to score 45....pass.

Kind of ironic though that you still need a quality defense to win championships.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Atlanta Falcons Offensive Philosophy Is Flawed
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 2:53 pm 
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So, IOW, Cyril, you now bring your self described UT fair weather fandom to the Falcons? You have earned it. I've been hoping in one hand and crapping in the other with them since they got to ATL and all I have to show for it is a hand full of crap but there have been some fun days. How hard is it to be a Cowboys fan?


What most here don't know is the last ten years has probably been the Falcons best, even though the Franchise was married to Michael Vick, and
embarrassed themselves again having a coach walk out in the middle of a season, how do you hire a guy who will do that?? How does a franchise consistently lose with good Qbs, decent coaches and a decent
Gm.

I still like the Falcons but can't say their a playoff team when their not!! I'll
still watch them but assume they'll lose when possible!! Its all about their terrible front office..... They've never been excited about getting a winner here long-term......

I mean does anyone think we made the changes to win 10 games?? Not even close...... We might win 7 or 8 but that would be a successful season!! Our front office has always tried to seem cool and collected;
while its the average players they miss on year after year....

I mean a "good NFL team" has about 3 super stars with hopefully a good Qb. Then they need about 20 players who are a little bit above average. We always have 20 players who are a little below average!!

That's why we've always sucked; I like the Falcons but its like anything you like that is bad......You can stand by them but its foolish for me to believe I'm standing by a Super Bowl team!! Like I said most don't go back like to 1969 when I drove to every Falcon practice from Kingsport to Johnson city. Most probably don't know we used to have our summer workouts in JC. Tenn.

Really it takes a desire to win that you just can't get from an owner; Gm, and Coach......Everybody in the organization needs to be consumed with winning, it takes a front office of about 15 that want to win bad,
want to win very bad; and you just can't find that in the Falcon organization. I'm talking about everyone; ticket sellers; to the people who sell certain seats.

Look the organization has sucked for 45+ years and I can't help that!! Someday they'll start selling winning; and not selling winning Super Bowls....

When we were good about 5 years ago; nobody fought any harder for them than me; and I'll do it again some day when we luck into a good team.....

I went to our one Super Bowl, and only Atlanta could ruin their image like they did there!! They're still my favorite team, its just a clumsy flawed team that my "care meter" will sky rocket when they field a team that can really be good..... Until then I'm consistently amazed at how terrible our front offense always is!! I don't bash anybody for saying they may make the playoffs; its just hard to do when most in your own division are better than you..... We'll see how the season goes and hopefully the Falcons will make me look stupid; they just usually don't!!

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