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In-Depth Analysis Of Falcons Offense


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As many of you probably do, I felt the Philly game from Sunday night felt un-even offensively - yet, scoring 5 touchdowns against a pretty good defense - seemed to contradict the "feeling" of how the offense played. So, I decided to take on the unenviable task of analyzing the entire offensive game for the Falcons to see when they were effective, and to try and figure out why. I think you'll be surprised at some of the results.

First, a comparison of some of the different formations that were run:

Formations with 2 or more RBs:

22 Plays

12 Runs - 31 yards Avg: 2.6 yds/carry

10 Pass - 6/10 - 63 yards - 2TD - 1 INT

Formations with 1 RB:

31 Plays

13 Runs - 100 yards Avg: 7.7 yds/carry (only 2 carries for loss)

18 Pass - 7/17 - 90 yards - 1TD - 1 INT - 3 SACKS

Formations with no RB:

7 Plays

4/5 - 28 yards - 1TD - 1 SACK

Now, a comparison of the No Huddle versus using the huddle:

From the Huddle:

47 Plays

19 Runs - 51 yards - Avg: 2.7 yds/carry

28 Pass - 11/21 - 134 yards - 3TD - 2 INT - 4 SACKS - 6.4 yds/attempt

No Huddle:

13 Plays

6 Runs - 80 yards - 1 TD - Avg: 13.3 yds/carry

7 Passes - 53 yards - 1TD - Avg: 7.6 yds/carry - NO SACKS

Some additional information I found interesting:

Plays where Ryan changes the call at the line:

3 Plays

1 Pass - 1/1 - 8yds

2 Run - 14 yds - 1TD

Plays out of the Shotgun:

19 Plays - 19 passes

8/19 - 67 yds - 1 TD - 1 INT - 2 SACKS - 1 Scramble for 10 yds

Turners carries:

22 carries for 110 yards:

Carries for 5 or more yards: 6

Carries for 0 to 4 yards: 11 (one TD)

Carries for loss: 5

So, what are some conclusions to be drawn?

These conclusions are only true for the Philly game, but they give an interesting picture of how our offense worked best - and when it sputtered.

1) We ran the ball best in single back formations: In single back formations, we average over 7 yards per carry while 2 or more back formations resulted in a meager 2.6 yards per carry. The idea that a lead fullback produces yards was not true for us Sunday. Also, since we passed 18 times and ran 13 out of single-back formations, it appears we keep defenses on their toes - we're less predictable in this formation.

2) Ryan was exposed more in single back formations: This is the unfortunate flip side. He was sacked 3 times in the single back formations (and hurried or knocked down quite a few more). He's also less accurate, going 7/17 and throwing one of his two INTs.

3) We're more balanced and productive in the No-huddle versus the "canned" offense: I know that no one is surprised by this, and the numbers back it up. First, Ryan was never sacked during a no-huddle offense. Secondly, we ran 6 times and passed 7 - so the no-huddle is more balanced (versus 19 runs 28 pass out of the huddle). Thirdly, our backs ran BETTER out of the no-huddle, averaging 13.3 yards/carry and pulling in a TD. Our passing attack is also much more efficient, with only one incompletion for 53 yards and a TD.

4) The shotgun is NOT our friend: I used to think Ryan was good out of the shotgun, but I now believe it makes our offense extremely predictable. From what I could see, our routes were very pedestrian and it shows in the numbers. Only 8 completions out of 19 attempts for 1TD, 1INT, 2 sacks and a QB scramble.

5) Turner can be a mixed bag: I love MT, but he reminds me of good ole' Dale Murphy, who used to give you a game with a Grand Slam and 4 strike-outs. MT doesn't lose yards much, but his average is bloated by his blown-up runs. By the way, of the times that Turner ran for loss, all 5 times were out of the huddle. In the no huddle, he was only held to a 0 yard attempt once.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, it's encouraging that we were able to beat the Eagles, but the game plan was hit and miss. Our offense coming out of the huddle puts Ryan in more danger of being sacked and actually results in lots of low-yardage runs. And while 3 of the 4 passing touchdowns came out of the huddle offense, both interceptions did as well - and all 4 sacks. On top of all of that, the huddle seems to be less balanced and far more predictable.

I know this may come as a no surprise, but it's very obvious that our best offense is run out of the no-huddle, and that INCLUDES the running game. As you can see above, Ryan's decision making - the very thing most analysts agree is his strongest trait - excels in the no-huddle, and it's rare that he makes mistakes when he's running the show.

If any of you are interested in the data I compiled, I've got an Excel spreadsheet that details each offensive down, the formation used, the result and some additional notes for each play.

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Its funny that we average barely anything in a 2 back set, which is probably the I-Formation.

The I-Formation should be our best set. It puts: Roddy, Julio, Ryan, Ovie, Turner, and Gonzo all on the field at the same time. A formation of pro bowlers. More passing should be done and less running.

And I'm all for 2 WR 2 TE 1 RB set. Turner runs much better.

Edited by IrishFalco
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Its funny that we average barely anything in a 2 back set, which is probably the I-Formation.

The I-Formation should be our best set. It puts: Roddy, Julio, Ryan, Ovie, Turner, and Gonzo all on the field at the same time. A formation of pro bowlers. More passing should be done and less running.

And I'm all for 2 WR 2 TE 1 RB set. Turner runs much better.

The problem with both of thwese formations, is that they put players on the field that we almpost never use as play makers.

IIRC Ovie had 2 touches on Sunday, and Palmer and Kelly didnlt get any. Even turner gets limited use in the passing game - leavign us with effectively 3 passing targets on the field.

At a time when the best offenses are flooding defenses with 4 or 5 receiving targets to cover on most plays, it's not difficut to see why we are lagging behind.

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This thread seems to have an underlying MM sucks tone.

One thing yall boys don't realize is Matt Ryan aint drawing up plays in the dirt. Every no huddle play you see is a Mularkey play. One of the 10-15 audibles that all 25 offensive players understand. When you here something like 645, 645, Oklahoma, that's a Mularkey play.

As for whether or not we are better in the no huddle vs huddle I'm not sure. My guess is that we are pretty equal. Take away all the huddle plays we ran in the last 52 games and see what you get.

Ryan's job is to check the situation at the line and call the right play. He does that in the no huddle and at the line after a huddle.

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This thread seems to have an underlying MM sucks tone.

One thing yall boys don't realize is Matt Ryan aint drawing up plays in the dirt. Every no huddle play you see is a Mularkey play. One of the 10-15 audibles that all 25 offensive players understand. When you here something like 645, 645, Oklahoma, that's a Mularkey play.

As for whether or not we are better in the no huddle vs huddle I'm not sure. My guess is that we are pretty equal. Take away all the huddle plays we ran in the last 52 games and see what you get.

Ryan's job is to check the situation at the line and call the right play. He does that in the no huddle and at the line after a huddle.

I actually have been recording the huddle vs. no huddle statistics over the past 2 years. Not enough this year to make a call yet.

However, the difference is this. When in the No Huddle, Ryan has 70 calls at his disposal. He runs the offense during those calls. During Huddle, Mularkey usually gives him 2 calls - one as a failsafe, plus he has several check down options as well.

Last year, we were at our best in the no huddle. I'll pull the numbers out for you a little later. I'm trying to get ready for the trip to Tampa right now - but I've got them.

For the record - I'm not a MM hater or lover. I am happy with the success we have had - but I'd like to see more explosion. I tend to put most of the blame on the line.

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So they run best out of passing formations and pass best out of running formations. This tells you how much defenses key in on our personnel...and why we need personnel that are equally capable of running/passing (2 TEs who can block and stretch the seam, and a back who can run it up the middle, bounce outside, or catch passes)

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So they run best out of passing formations and pass best out of running formations. This tells you how much defenses key in on our personnel...and why we need personnel that are equally capable of running/passing (2 TEs who can block and stretch the seam, and a back who can run it up the middle, bounce outside, or catch passes)

Such an oddity. It's hard to set up trick plays because of this.

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Do you guys think any of this has to do with Ovie? This is kind of out of the box, but let's say we had an average FB and not a Pro Bowl one. Do you think they would scrap so much running for a 3wide or 2 TE set? They feel with our line and Ovie guiding Turner, that they can run through a brick wall. But if Ovie wasn't so good, do you think they would run out of more 1 back sets and get a bigger playmaker out there?

Basically, if Ovie wasn't as good at clearing holes for Turner as he is, would they feel running from a single back look was just as good as a 2 back set. Just a thought.

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I actually have been recording the huddle vs. no huddle statistics over the past 2 years. Not enough this year to make a call yet.

However, the difference is this. When in the No Huddle, Ryan has 70 calls at his disposal. He runs the offense during those calls. During Huddle, Mularkey usually gives him 2 calls - one as a failsafe, plus he has several check down options as well.

Last year, we were at our best in the no huddle. I'll pull the numbers out for you a little later. I'm trying to get ready for the trip to Tampa right now - but I've got them.

For the record - I'm not a MM hater or lover. I am happy with the success we have had - but I'd like to see more explosion. I tend to put most of the blame on the line.

My theory is that teams are really honoring our explosive potential and it's really opening up the middle of the field and underneath stuff, hence Turner on pace for career highs as a receiver out of the backfield. I'd still like to see more players get involved (Julio, Roddy and HD), but I understand Ryan taking what the defense gives him. Tom Brady will complete 20 passes to backs and no one bats an eye.

Like you, I think the numbers show in MM's favor, although our eyes may tell us something different when we see plays not work and chalk it up to poor route and play designs. I don't think our routes are very creative and really rely on our WRs winning their matchups, but as you've pointed out, our O-line hasn't been up to the task of letting Ryan go through progressions and allow routes/plays to develop.

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Do you guys think any of this has to do with Ovie? This is kind of out of the box, but let's say we had an average FB and not a Pro Bowl one. Do you think they would scrap so much running for a 3wide or 2 TE set? They feel with our line and Ovie guiding Turner, that they can run through a brick wall. But if Ovie wasn't so good, do you think they would run out of more 1 back sets and get a bigger playmaker out there?

Basically, if Ovie wasn't as good at clearing holes for Turner as he is, would they feel running from a single back look was just as good as a 2 back set. Just a thought.

Eh... hard to say. I think Ovie is good at what he does. He pancaked quite a few Eagles in that game, even if the runs weren't for huge gains. I think it has more to do with the sets we run than any one individual not performing; When we're three-wide, one back, one TE, with our skill position players, CHI and PHI have kept both safeties out of the box and over the top. That really opens running lanes for Turner when the linemen are able to get to the second level and get a hat on a hat.

When Ovie is in, teams are more geared toward the run with their personnel and calls. I think it has more to do with predictability than Ovie.

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Eh... hard to say. I think Ovie is good at what he does. He pancaked quite a few Eagles in that game, even if the runs weren't for huge gains. I think it has more to do with the sets we run than any one individual not performing; When we're three-wide, one back, one TE, with our skill position players, CHI and PHI have kept both safeties out of the box and over the top. That really opens running lanes for Turner when the linemen are able to get to the second level and get a hat on a hat.

When Ovie is in, teams are more geared toward the run with their personnel and calls. I think it has more to do with predictability than Ovie.

No I am not saying that Ovie sucks. I am saying does him being good make us utilize him more? Like you said, when we go 3WR, Turner still has room to break because the defense is spread out more and the extra run blocker up the middle isn't as necessary if the OLine executes. But when Ovie is in, like you said, they prepare for the run since a FB is on the field. Therefore, Ovie is necessary for us to run out of 212 formations.

Let's say they started using the 311 formation as the base formation and used Ovie as clean up. This would allow us to have our speed on the field, rotate Julio and Roddy in the slot so you don't know if they are there to seal the edge on a run or take advantage of the middle. Then when the game wears on, bring Ovie in to hammer at the defense and weat them down.

But if Ovie sucked, would we use him as much as we do? That's the question. And if your answer is no, then how would we run the ball? Still from a 2 back set or a 3WR set?

Just a thought

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No I am not saying that Ovie sucks. I am saying does him being good make us utilize him more? Like you said, when we go 3WR, Turner still has room to break because the defense is spread out more and the extra run blocker up the middle isn't as necessary if the OLine executes. But when Ovie is in, like you said, they prepare for the run since a FB is on the field. Therefore, Ovie is necessary for us to run out of 212 formations.

Let's say they started using the 311 formation as the base formation and used Ovie as clean up. This would allow us to have our speed on the field, rotate Julio and Roddy in the slot so you don't know if they are there to seal the edge on a run or take advantage of the middle. Then when the game wears on, bring Ovie in to hammer at the defense and weat them down.

But if Ovie sucked, would we use him as much as we do? That's the question. And if your answer is no, then how would we run the ball? Still from a 2 back set or a 3WR set?

Just a thought

I gotcha. I would actually think it's an idea worth trying, but it would be a complete philosophy change and I don't think the Falcons want to lose that identity. And I know you're not suggesting that we would run the ball less, just out of a different, more effective base formation.

I think Mularkey being Mularkey, even if Ovie did suck, he'd just find someone else to fill the position. At his heart of hearts, Mularkey is Mr. 212, 122. I'm starting to think that we just run those sets for show, quite honestly. We all know how much Mularkey likes to change/show different personnel groupings.

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I gotcha. I would actually think it's an idea worth trying, but it would be a complete philosophy change and I don't think the Falcons want to lose that identity. And I know you're not suggesting that we would run the ball less, just out of a different, more effective base formation. I think Mularkey being Mularkey, even if Ovie did suck, he'd just find someone else to fill the position. At his heart of hearts, Mularkey is Mr. 212, 122. I'm starting to think that we just run those sets for show, quite honestly. We all know how much Mularkey likes to change/show different personnel groupings.

Yeah, if we're going to try to run a pound it offense (as we seem to want) I think the best option is 2 starting caliber dual threat TEs (one an H-back type) and no FB. That way, you can have a 2 TE, 1 Back, 2 WR set and have 4 pass catching options near the line, plus the back coming out...or, you can motion the TE in to play FB and have a power 21 set. It gives a lot of flexibility and would be very hard to stop in a no huddle.

It would work best with a versatile back, but could work with Turner.

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Yeah, if we're going to try to run a pound it offense (as we seem to want) I think the best option is 2 starting caliber dual threat TEs (one an H-back type) and no FB. That way, you can have a 2 TE, 1 Back, 2 WR set and have 4 pass catching options near the line, plus the back coming out...or, you can motion the TE in to play FB and have a power 21 set. It gives a lot of flexibility and would be very hard to stop in a no huddle.

It would work best with a versatile back, but could work with Turner.

Really nice call...

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My theory is that teams are really honoring our explosive potential and it's really opening up the middle of the field and underneath stuff, hence Turner on pace for career highs as a receiver out of the backfield. I'd still like to see more players get involved (Julio, Roddy and HD), but I understand Ryan taking what the defense gives him. Tom Brady will complete 20 passes to backs and no one bats an eye.

Like you, I think the numbers show in MM's favor, although our eyes may tell us something different when we see plays not work and chalk it up to poor route and play designs. I don't think our routes are very creative and really rely on our WRs winning their matchups, but as you've pointed out, our O-line hasn't been up to the task of letting Ryan go through progressions and allow routes/plays to develop.

BUMP!

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