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Falcons expect smooth switch at QB coach


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Falcons expect smooth switch at QB coach

By Pat Yasinskas

I still have lots of leftover stuff from the NFL owners meeting in New Orleans in March, so let’s grab onto another chunk of it right now.

The Atlanta Falcons have been very quiet this offseason. The lockout has kept them from making any transactions and their players haven’t been in any trouble (see Aqib Talib in Tampa Bay). Perhaps the biggest move so far in Atlanta has been the hiring of quarterbacks coach Bob Bratkowski.

Bill Musgrave had been in that position through Matt Ryan’s entire tenure in the league. Along with offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, Musgrave widely was credited with Ryan’s rapid development. But Musgrave left after this past season to become offensive coordinator in Minnesota.

The Falcons quickly went out and hired Bratkowski, who recently had been fired by Cincinnati after serving as offensive coordinator there from 2001 through last season. Bratkowski is the son of former University of Georgia quarterback Zeke Bratkowski, but that has nothing to do with why he got the job.

Much of Bratkowski’s time in Cincinnati was spent working with Carson Palmer, who had some good seasons, but also had his career interrupted by injury. Bratkowski’s offense with the Bengals was fairly similar to what the Falcons run and Ryan, like Palmer, is mostly a pocket passer.

Bratkowski also had stints as an assistant coach in Pittsburgh and Seattle, after starting his coaching career on the college level. He did a stint as Seattle’s offensive coordinator. At the owners meeting, I asked coach Mike Smith about the hiring of Bratkowski and he said he expects the transition to be very smooth.

“Bob has worked with a very successful quarterback in this league and is highly respected,’’ Smith said. “He’s been an offensive coordinator for a number of years and a number of teams. I feel Bob is going to be a very solid addition to our coaching staff. He has a very good background in the passing game. His teams through the years have always been able to throw the football. We’re excited about integrating Bob into our coaching staff and our offensive system.”

There’s a little more to this and Smith didn’t get into that, but I will. There had been some thinking around the Falcons that Mularkey could be moving on to a head-coaching job and Musgrave was viewed as his logical heir apparent as coordinator. Mularkey drew some interest this offseason, but only interviewed for one job. He could be a candidate for another job after next season and it’s wise for the Falcons to have a guy like Bratkowski already in place.

He’s experienced as a quarterbacks coach and can be fine in that job. But he also could step up and be a coordinator again if Mularkey moves on.

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From the Cincy fans i talk to... They feel like BB went for the deep ball to much.... So its going to be nice to see that added to Matt Ryans game... Thats the only the only thing the guy game is mainly missing.

I read a article saying that Carson Palmer trying to get out of Cincy started with them not bringing BB back... So Carson must really like this guy.

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I'm fine with BB as the QB coach, but am deeply concerned about any influence he'll have on the offensive game planning. The criticisms from Cincy fans mirror the Atlanta fans criticisms of Mularkey, i.e., too conservative and too predictable. BB and MM have been tight - very tight - for years. There's a strong negative potential for mutual reinforcement here, and that worries me. BB did call for more deep balls than Mularkey does, but Palmer (back when he could plant effectively) has much more strength than Ryan.

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I'm fine with BB as the QB coach, but am deeply concerned about any influence he'll have on the offensive game planning. The criticisms from Cincy fans mirror the Atlanta fans criticisms of Mularkey, i.e., too conservative and too predictable. BB and MM have been tight - very tight - for years. There's a strong negative potential for mutual reinforcement here, and that worries me. BB did call for more deep balls than Mularkey does, but Palmer (back when he could plant effectively) has much more strength than Ryan.

Fans are going to complain regardless because of how cincy ended their season. I hope he has some influence on MM's offense. Do you remember how many yards carson put up on our defense when the bengals came to the dome????over 300..

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Fans are going to complain regardless because of how cincy ended their season. I hope he has some influence on MM's offense. Do you remember how many yards carson put up on our defense when the bengals came to the dome????over 300..

I remember it well. Now, if we could just have Ryan throwing on Chris Owens all day every day.

In all seriousness, that's one thing I've always respected about BB. If he sees an opponent's weakness, he goes after it relentlessly, unlike some coordinators (including one you might be familiar with) who feel they have to stick to plan and remain balanced regardless of what the defense shows them.

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Good post JBO. Finally. Something about the Falcons. Preciate it!

I don't put as much importance on the QB coach as many here do. I suspect there will be many message boarders that will say any uptick in Ryan's performance is due to BB. There will also be plenty who say any regression in his performance will be due to BB.

I say Ryan's progress will lie on his Oline and his ability to deliver a more consistent deep ball.

Of course there will be the conspiracy theorists that say BB was brought in to replace Mularkey because he sucks. :rolleyes:

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I remember it well. Now, if we could just have Ryan throwing on Chris Owens all day every day.

In all seriousness, that's one thing I've always respected about BB. If he sees an opponent's weakness, he goes after it relentlessly, unlike some coordinators (including one you might be familiar with) who feel they have to stick to plan and remain balanced regardless of what the defense shows them.

If this is true of BB and he can have some positive influence on MM then expect some explosiveness from the Falcons if the season starts. Hopefully, BB is the missing link to the offensive side of the coaching staff.

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