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Keys To A Playoff Run

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I'm glad to see the Falcons have secured a playoff spot, here are some keys to making a tournament run


A quick evaluation of the offense if there is plenty of talent at the skill positions, and the OL struggles. This results in holes not running up in the running game and time not being there in the passing game, particularly against good DLs which is what you will find in the playoffs. Heres what we can do to capitalize on our strengths:

PLAYMAKERS-It's all about the playmakers. Every playoff game our focus needs to be on getting the ball to Turner, White, Jones, and Gonzalez. If we lose, let us lose getting the ball to them. Turner should get 25+ carries, and our focus should be getting the ball to our top receivers.

In the run game the loss of Mughelli really hurt. On the OL Clabo and Blalock are probably the only guys that could qualify as above average and we struggle just trying to run basic power plays because we do not win at the line of scrimmage. It's time to get creative, like plays with only 1 WR and some extra OL on the field, plays where we motion Jones to the point of attack, etc instead of just basic plays that never give Turner a chance to get started. We need to find ways to get extra blockers to the point and confuse the D because the OL isnt good enough to just line up and move people. In playoff games it is key that we give Turner 25+ touches and use play designs that put him in position to succeed.

As I said the key to our playoff run on offense is relying on our playmakers. Julio Jones has flashed the ability to make vertical plays in the passing game but his most impressive trait has been his ability to make huge plays with his run after the catch. In addition to running Jones deep we need to design plays where he can catch the ball and turn up field with his rare size/speed combination, preferrably with blockers.

I also believe we need to start lining up Jones at RB, like the Vikings do with Harvin in addition to running him on traditional reverses. He can motion into the backfield from a WR position, or line up as a RB and motion out if necessary. This is all about taking advantage of your talent, putting your players in posiion to make plays, and causing problems for opposing Ds. Obviously we wouldnt be running him up the middle a bunch, but he could be very effective catching short passes out of the backfield in space. This is a great way to ensure touches for our playmakers, and give us a threat from the RB position on pass downs.

When we do pass given that our OL will struggle there are some simple answers, like give them some extra blockers. Gonzalez can chip the DE to help out the OT as he releases, the RB can do the same. We can bring in an extra OL like Baker and line them up at TE to help the OT or even at FB to bodyguard Ryan. Success in the running game will obviously open up the passing game.

Again we need to lean on our playmakers in White, Jones, Gonzalez, and to a lesser extent Douglas. We need to design plays to get the ball in the WRs hands, line them up in different spots and motion them round the formation. In the passing game our workhorses will be White and Jones while we look to Gonzo on 3rd down and in the red zone. A lot of quick passes will likely come from our spread looks while our deep shots will come out of the run heavy looks. If we come out with 1 or 2 WRs we can run them deep and keep everyone else in to block, if the deep shot isnt there check down to a TE or RB who releases after blocking.

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To put it simply, as the Saints game showed, the run D is good enough, the pass D is not. The DL doesnt get enough pressure, the DBs dont hold up.

Defensively, the key to the playoffs is the DL needs to step up.They need to get more pressure on the QB and get sacks when they do get in the backfield. Ray Edwards 3.5 sacks on the season definately isnt what we were hoping for. He needs to step up in a big way, as does Babineaux who only has 1 sack. Peters, Sidbury and Biermann have a few sacks and also need to step up their game. This is a unit that has decent depth and we need to make sure our best pass rushers are on the field for third down where we need to get off the field.

Weatherspoon has had a big season as I expected and has the athletecism to be an effective blitzer, but we likely need him in coverage. Lofton is much better in the run game than against the pass, where he lacks top speed and isnt a great blitzer, his best bet is keeping the ball in front of him and coming up to hit someone. William Moore doesnt have a sack this year but hes probably our next best blitzer after Spoon. We likely need Moore in coverage but he has the skillset to get to the QB.

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The falcons know the keys its, do they have the car to drive. Meaning will the finally grow a pair and get that killer instinct. Im tired of allways being the hunted not hunter. We need to practice the deep ball and seem routes the whole game vs the buc's. Roddy White and JJ drop balls because the so use to turning around and catching the ball instead of catching them on the run.

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For Turner to get 25 carries he is gong to have to be able to not fall down when he hits the line and not run into the back of his own guys. Would probably help if he didn't have to run in mud all game too. He has left us in a tremendous amount of third and longs this season, one of the main problems with the offense IMO, we are still mentally dependent on a non existent run game

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