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Mike Mularkey: The Key To a Falcons' Championship?


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Before we go forward, let's go back two seasons ago. A new regime had ascended over Flowery Branch, featuring a fresh-faced General Manager from a great organization up north, to a silver-haired coach with a name as common as your local mailman, to a rookie QB who had the savior label attached to him before he ever put on the red and black.

There was one important storyline that was missing among the hype: an offensive coordinator who was known for installing high-powered offenses in the Steel City but yet flamed out in Buffalo, looking for a chance at redemption. That man was Mike Mularkey.

He was widely respected for his ability to create a balanced offense, but it wasn't until Matt Ryan's first NFL pass was complete to Michael Jenkins for a 62-yard TD that fans and the NFL universe realized that something special was happening here. It continued throughout the 2008 season as Atlanta rose from the ashes to reach the NFL playoffs.

A while back I wrote about the importance of Matt Ryan to the Atlanta Falcons franchise, but today we're taking a look at the man behind the No. 2 machine. Many people believe that part of the reason the Falcons took a step back was due in part to a change in philosophy on Mularkey's handling of the offense.

Truth be told, Atlanta did take a hit on scoring due in part to injuries to RB Michael Turner and rookie WR Harry Douglas . Atlanta finished with a slight step backward in 2009, going from 24.4 points per game in 2008 to 22.7.

However, watching the games last year I realized there was something missing in the middle of the season, in which Atlanta lost 4 of 6 games to finish out of the playoffs. Mularkey went to a more conventional run offense even as Turner was on the sidelines. That wasn't going to work with guys like Jerious Norwood , who is more of a off the tackles runner, going between them.

I remember watching the television screaming, "Throw a screen pass!" every time the defense would clog up the line of scrimmage. I couldn't help but wonder had Mularkey went with more of an aggressive attack on offense they could have beaten teams like New England and Carolina on the road to reach the playoffs.

That said, Mularkey does plan on being more on the attack this season. During OTAs he has implemented the no-huddle offense more often. Take a look at what Atlanta did last year when they went no-huddle

When the Falcons jumped into the no-huddle, they never stayed in it for extended periods. Two plays here, two plays there.

An analysis of last season’s play-by-play gamebooks reveals that the Falcons went into the no-huddle offense 16 times in five different games.

They scored seven touchdowns and two field goals while in the no-huddle.

Mularkey appeared to like going into the no-huddle to jump start the offense. The team was trailing on 14 of the 16 times he called for a no-huddle. The one time they were ahead and were tied was against Tampa Bay in the season finale.

It was more of a quick change of pace than a standard attack, which led to success. Now I know that it can't be done all of the time as you have to replace starters who are tired, but when they did it it 2008 they seemed to reach the end zone more.

Since Atlanta had soon-to-be Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez at tight end, they became more effective in the red zone towards the end of 2009.

I think with the return of Douglas and Turner, and having WR Roddy White around all season (he missed most of OTAs in a contract dispute), Mularkey will be able to use more end around plays and quick strike passes to keep defenses honest.

Ryan is also getting more comfortable in the offense, so expect him to return to form next fall.

Atlanta has an offensive personnel that is on par with the New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, and the Minnesota Vikings. However, it will be up to the wizard behind the machine to determine if they reach their full potential.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/408568-mike-mularkey-the-key-to-a-falcons-championship

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However, watching the games last year I realized there was something missing in the middle of the season, in which Atlanta lost 4 of 6 games to finish out of the playoffs. Mularkey went to a more conventional run offense even as Turner was on the sidelines. That wasn't going to work with guys like Jerious Norwood , who is more of a off the tackles runner, instead of going between them.

I remember watching the television screaming, "Throw a screen pass!" every time the defense would clog up the line of scrimmage. I couldn't help but wonder had Mularkey went with more of an aggressive attack on offense they could have beaten teams like New England and Carolina on the road to reach the playoffs.

I am glad someone else final pointed out what I've complained about for a long time! One of the main reasons Norwood was getting injured as often as he was is because he was being used as a between the tackles runner instead of being the receiving threat that we know that he is. And it was done by design which is one of my biggest criticisms of Mike Mularkey. Atlanta's passing was very limited because of Mike's unwillingness to properly utilize receiving options 4-7 like Payton does with New Orleans. Hopefully all of that changes this year.

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Before we go forward, let's go back two seasons ago. A new regime had ascended over Flowery Branch, featuring a fresh-faced General Manager from a great organization up north, to a silver-haired coach with a name as common as your local mailman, to a rookie QB who had the savior label attached to him before he ever put on the red and black.

There was one important storyline that was missing among the hype: an offensive coordinator who was known for installing high-powered offenses in the Steel City but yet flamed out in Buffalo, looking for a chance at redemption. That man was Mike Mularkey.

He was widely respected for his ability to create a balanced offense, but it wasn't until Matt Ryan's first NFL pass was complete to Michael Jenkins for a 62-yard TD that fans and the NFL universe realized that something special was happening here. It continued throughout the 2008 season as Atlanta rose from the ashes to reach the NFL playoffs.

A while back I wrote about the importance of Matt Ryan to the Atlanta Falcons franchise, but today we're taking a look at the man behind the No. 2 machine. Many people believe that part of the reason the Falcons took a step back was due in part to a change in philosophy on Mularkey's handling of the offense.

Truth be told, Atlanta did take a hit on scoring due in part to injuries to RB Michael Turner and rookie WR Harry Douglas . Atlanta finished with a slight step backward in 2009, going from 24.4 points per game in 2008 to 22.7.

However, watching the games last year I realized there was something missing in the middle of the season, in which Atlanta lost 4 of 6 games to finish out of the playoffs. Mularkey went to a more conventional run offense even as Turner was on the sidelines. That wasn't going to work with guys like Jerious Norwood , who is more of a off the tackles runner, going between them.

I remember watching the television screaming, "Throw a screen pass!" every time the defense would clog up the line of scrimmage. I couldn't help but wonder had Mularkey went with more of an aggressive attack on offense they could have beaten teams like New England and Carolina on the road to reach the playoffs.

That said, Mularkey does plan on being more on the attack this season. During OTAs he has implemented the no-huddle offense more often. Take a look at what Atlanta did last year when they went no-huddle

When the Falcons jumped into the no-huddle, they never stayed in it for extended periods. Two plays here, two plays there.

An analysis of last season’s play-by-play gamebooks reveals that the Falcons went into the no-huddle offense 16 times in five different games.

They scored seven touchdowns and two field goals while in the no-huddle.

Mularkey appeared to like going into the no-huddle to jump start the offense. The team was trailing on 14 of the 16 times he called for a no-huddle. The one time they were ahead and were tied was against Tampa Bay in the season finale.

It was more of a quick change of pace than a standard attack, which led to success. Now I know that it can't be done all of the time as you have to replace starters who are tired, but when they did it it 2008 they seemed to reach the end zone more.

Since Atlanta had soon-to-be Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez at tight end, they became more effective in the red zone towards the end of 2009.

I think with the return of Douglas and Turner, and having WR Roddy White around all season (he missed most of OTAs in a contract dispute), Mularkey will be able to use more end around plays and quick strike passes to keep defenses honest.

Ryan is also getting more comfortable in the offense, so expect him to return to form next fall.

Atlanta has an offensive personnel that is on par with the New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, and the Minnesota Vikings. However, it will be up to the wizard behind the machine to determine if they reach their full potential.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/408568-mike-mularkey-the-key-to-a-falcons-championship

best sentence in this article.

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I am glad someone else final pointed out what I've complained about for a long time! One of the main reasons Norwood was getting injured as often as he was is because he was being used as a between the tackles runner instead of being the receiving threat that we know that he is. And it was done by design which is one of my biggest criticisms of Mike Mularkey. Atlanta's passing was very limited because of Mike's unwillingness to properly utilize receiving options 4-7 like Payton does with New Orleans. Hopefully all of that changes this year.

I don't remember Norwood ever being injured on a between the

tackles play. I saw Antonio Cromartie jack him up with a fore

arm shiver but that was along the sidelines. Norwood's favorite

run is the draw which starts off up the middle of the field. He

is very effective running between the tackles especially if he

ever had the benefit of a fullback. Mularkey likes to send him

on a naked sweep with no blocking, he has to stiff arm the end,

juke the outside linebacker and duck the corner back who is coming

in with a kill shot. It is never blocked and that is a badly designed

play. Norwood can pop through interior line holes and be in the

secondary and be gone. Design a play where he has a lead blocker to

make his cuts off of and you will see a new dimension in "between

the tackles" running.

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Norwood's favorite

run is the draw which starts off up the middle of the field. He

is very effective running between the tackles especially if he

ever had the benefit of a fullback.

You see this is what I am talking about! You ever wonder why the Saints stopped running Reggie Bush up the middle when Sean Peyton got there? Its because no linebacker in this league is fast enough to cover him in space! Do you think that this could apply to Norwood also?

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I wouldn't say the key to a championship is Mularkey. I think it's more like:

-Mularkey and BVG

-player execution

-run ball

-stop run

-win turnover battle

-win 20+ yard play battle

-put some pressure on opposing QBs

-Oline keeping Ryan upright

-Ryan improving reads and decision making

-improve punt coverage team

-make a 35 yard kick

-stay healthy

-win division

-get first round bye

That's just a few that come to mind.

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You see this is what I am talking about! You ever wonder why the Saints stopped running Reggie Bush up the middle when Sean Peyton got there? Its because no linebacker in this league is fast enough to cover him in space! Do you think that this could apply to Norwood also?

Are Bush and Norwood are the same player? No. Norwood is a complete

back. He can do what you are talking about as well as run out of the

I-formation between the tackles, around the ends. Any way you want to

use him, he can do it.

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Are Bush and Norwood are the same player? No. Norwood is a complete

back. He can do what you are talking about as well as run out of the

I-formation between the tackles, around the ends. Any way you want to

use him, he can do it.

I agree! And I also believe that if we use him primarily as a runner and occasionally as a pass receiver, we are wasting his talents as a receiver

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I left that dude a message early this morning to let him know that he had a picture of Musgrave on his article instead of Mularkey, but he still hasn't gotten it corrected. Kind of funny though.

That's interesting, I've had the idea that they hired Mularkey for the first couple of seasons because his run heavy attack would protect the 72 million investment.

Now that Ryan has developed, they may let Musgrave work with him on the passing attack.

They gave Musgrave a new title to keep him around- they may want him for the long term over Mularkey.

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