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Falcons Hoping to Find Big Play Formula


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The first-team offense, which struggled during the preseason, did not score a touchdown against Pittsburgh in the season opener. Several players agreed that the team needs to connect on some big plays not just to spice up the offense but to unnerve the opposition.

"We have to get some more explosive plays on offense to make the drives easier," wide receiver Roddy White said. "We are making it real hard on ourselves."

The Falcons had only one play that went for more than 20 yards against the Steelers. Quarterback Matt Ryan connected with wide receiver Harry Douglas for a 23-yard gain in the second quarter. In last season's opener, the Falcons had three 20-yard-plus plays in a 19-7 win over Miami.

There are several ways for the Falcons to create more big plays.

The most elemental is in play-calling. They could throw more deep passes. Receivers could strive for more yards after the catch by breaking some tackles.

Springing running Michael Turner was a staple in 2008. In Pittsburgh on Sunday, he averaged 2.2 yards per carry. His longest gain in 19 attempts was seven yards. He was tackled for losses four times. The offensive line is working on trying to find him room with better blocking.

The Falcons also can create some mismatches with some of their speed players like Douglas and running back Jerious Norwood, who appeared set to run away from a linebacker at least twice against Pittsburgh.

Against the Steelers, the Falcons also had pass plays of 20, 18, 17 and 15 yards.

"We do need to make some big plays, but we need to do a lot of the little things," right tackle Tyson Clabo said.

Just blindly throwing the ball deep is not an answer.

"I think we are probably just trying to take what they are giving us," Clabo said. "You just can't throw it deep."

White had a career-high 13 catches for 111 yards against the Steelers, but was limited to a low 8.5 yards per reception. White averaged 13.6 yards per catch last season on 85 receptions.

Last season, White also had 14 plays that went for more than 20 yards. Michael Jenkins, who is out with a shoulder injury and did not play against Pittsburgh, had 10 such plays.

The Falcons will likely turn to White, their leading receiver for the past three years, to make some big plays.

"He's a guy that we like in matchups," head coach Mike Smith said. "It really doesn't matter who they put on him. We know Roddy is going to win his share."

Douglas didn't play last season because of a knee surgery. He provides another big-play artist with some of the team's rawest speed.

"Every play can be an explosive play," Douglas said. "Everybody has to do their job. It could be a block here or there."

Jenkins was injured on Aug. 6 and was expected to miss four the six weeks. Even upon his return, the Falcons still plan to utilize the crafty Douglas.

"He is going to be an integral part of what we want to do offensively," Smith said.

Turner was anything but the Burner in Pittsburgh. He had 10 rushes of more than 20 yards last season. In his breakout season in 2008, Turner recorded eight 100-yard games, two 200-yard games and had a 70-yard touchdown run against St. Louis.

"We have to be more physical," fullback Ovie Mughelli said. "We just have to show our true intentions. We have one heck of an offense."

Turner believes it's just a matter of time before the offense starts ripping off long gainers.

"We've got too many play-makers on this offense to not be scoring touchdowns," Turner said. "Guys are full of pride on this team so I have faith in those guys, including myself, that we are going to get the job done next week."

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I am starting to get nervous with this offense. It is like we keep saying the same thing over again. I dont want it to be another year of overhype for this offense because if our offense doesnt get going then we are going to be in for a long year

same here. This offense never makes me feel secure like it did in '08

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>>"Every play can be an explosive play," Douglas said. "Everybody has to do their job. It could be a block here or there."<<

Harry Douglas has it right. That is exactly the attitude that this offense needs. MAKE EXPLOSIVE PLAYS. Every Play can be an explosive Play. You just have to make it happen.

Not what Clabo said, that we just take what the Defense Gives Us. That is not how you Score Points - by taking what the Defense "Gives Us". You Enforce and Dictate to the Defense, not the other way around.

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3 September 2010 - 06:16 PM' timestamp='1284419792' post='5729469']

I am starting to get nervous with this offense. It is like we keep saying the same thing over again. I dont want it to be another year of overhype for this offense because if our offense doesnt get going then we are going to be in for a long year

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to his credit matt ryan WAS under ALOT of pressure.

Yea but any team that Plays that Steeler Defense is going to be under constant pressure. Good QBs and Good Play-Calling can over come that. That is what separates Playoff teams from the rest. Manning, Brady, and Brees are good examples of QBs who know how to handle Pressure. No doubt our O-Line sucks, but Ryan had enough protection to make the throws he needed to make.

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>>"Every play can be an explosive play," Douglas said. "Everybody has to do their job. It could be a block here or there."<<

Harry Douglas has it right. That is exactly the attitude that this offense needs. MAKE EXPLOSIVE PLAYS. Every Play can be an explosive Play. You just have to make it happen.

Not what Clabo said, that we just take what the Defense Gives Us. That is not how you Score Points - by taking what the Defense "Gives Us". You Enforce and Dictate to the Defense, not the other way around.

I lost a lot of respect for Clabo with that passive attitude. As much as people say he is nasty and fights till the whistle is blown, that was a wimpy comment. Like you said Jedi, we must impose our will on teams, not give what they give us. Cause they aren't giving us sit.

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I lost a lot of respect for Clabo with that passive attitude. As much as people say he is nasty and fights till the whistle is blown, that was a wimpy comment. Like you said Jedi, we must impose our will on teams, not give what they give us. Cause they aren't giving us sit.

Clabo and Dahl need to just be let go after this season. THis is the last year of both their contracts. We can find better than those 2.

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Yea but any team that Plays that Steeler Defense is going to be under constant pressure. Good QBs and Good Play-Calling can over come that. That is what separates Playoff teams from the rest. Manning, Brady, and Brees are good examples of QBs who know how to handle Pressure. No doubt our O-Line sucks, but Ryan had enough protection to make the throws he needed to make.

Exactly! I mean why even play if we are just going to concede and say were playing a top 5 def? I want other teams fans to say, were playing the Falcons, this is going to be a tough game, that offense they have is very explosive.

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So are all the QB's in the league, no excuse.....stop making excuses.

he completed 60% of his passes. also that defense took them to the superbowl twice and won it. despite a 16 passer rating by roethlisberger. no excuses just facts.

ryan avoided the pass rush all game long. he made one bone head play and no one is really sure who to lay the blame on. polamalu does that **** on guys like brady and manning.

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Clabo and Dahl need to just be let go after this season. THis is the last year of both their contracts. We can find better than those 2.

I disagree. Dahl can be downright lethal. Clabo not so much. I think we let Clabo go. He's easily replaceable. I really want to see what Garret Reynolds can do.

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Hoping? They'd better find the big play formula. It's not rocket science. Use the weapons you have by exposing the opponents' weakness. If you can study defenses you can find holes in them. Stop trying to be one dimensional and calling plays that don't work. I find it very frustrating that our OC stops calling a play that is working. There have been times when Turner is running all over teams and Mularkey calls a pass play in the red zone. Then there are times we throw the ball and get hot, and our OC Mularkey calls a running play that gets stuffed. WTH is up with this guy?

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Now this I can agree with. My only fear is that I dont think Baker is strong enough to play RT where he'll have to go up against stouter, generally stronger LEs.

He is strong enough. His problem is he isnt Fast enough, with his feet and technique, to be a LT. He is built to be a road-grader. He is just too slow and he plays with too short arms to push fast edge rushers outside on the left side.

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