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Falcons Offense Showing Its Versatility


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Falcons Offense Showing Its Versatility

Andrew Hirsh

atlantafalcons.com

Thanks to a collective effort, the Falcons’ offense is at or near the top of the NFL in many important categories heading into Week 3

On Monday, head coach Dan Quinn said he believes Atlanta has one of the most versatile offenses in the NFL. He felt comfortable asserting this because the team’s run/pass ratio: In Week 2, the Falcons threw the ball 34 times and ran it on 29 occasions, gashing Oakland for 528 total yards — 389 through the air, 139 on the ground.

According to Pro Football Reference, they recorded more yards than all but five games in franchise history. And it wouldn’t have been possible if an abundance of players didn’t get involved.

After eight receivers caught a pass in the season opener, nine came down with a reception in Oakland. By spreading the ball around, Matt Ryan — who’s currently first in the league in QB rating, first in yards per attempt, second in yards and second in touchdowns — has made use of the depth at hand.

In total, five Falcons have notched at least 90 receiving yards in 2016. No other club has more than four.

“It’s the different styles that we’re able to play,” Quinn said. “We know how to feature the guys. The more we’re around them, we get to know (them) better.”

The offense has not only been balanced; it’s been explosive, too. Quinn defines an explosive play as a run of 12-plus yards and a pass of 16-plus yards, and the Falcons have authored 20 such gains thus far in 2016. As a result, Atlanta leads the league in yards per offensive snap (7.05).

The running backs have been an important part of this explosiveness. Together, Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman have 321 yards from scrimmage on 59 touches. Coleman’s 188 yards from scrimmage is 21st in the NFL and 10th amongst RBs, and his 120 receiving yards are good for third at his position. (Not to mention he scored the game-winning touchdown on Sunday.)

And although Freeman has four catches for 20 yards on the year, he had the third-most receiving yards of all running backs in 2015 (578). Odds are it won’t be long before Ryan starts throwing to him on a regular basis.

By employing two running backs who are so well-rounded, the Falcons have a unique advantage: Ryan can operate the same way regardless of which one is out there, and the defense will be kept guessing at all times.

“I think the most important thing is, for the play-caller, you don’t have to have a certain player in,” Quinn said. “And defensively, they can’t just say, ‘OK, if this player is in, you have to be really alert for the pass, or if this player’s in, it’s more of a run.’ With these two guys, it’s very balanced in terms of the run/pass when they’re in. So that’s a real credit to both of them, how hard they work at it, both in the run game and catching out of the backfield.”

Atlanta’s tight ends have been impressive, as well. Against Oakland, Jacob Tamme and Austin Hooper became the first TE duo in franchise history to each tally 75-plus yards in a game. Tamme has been as reliable as ever in 2016, registering 11 catches for 126 yards — good for fifth in the NFL at his position.

Additionally, according to Pro Football Focus, Hooper has been targeted 20-plus yards downfield twice, and he’s come down with both throws for 78 combined yards, tying him with Greg Olsen for most receiving yards by a TE on deep passes.

“We have some different personnel groups we can throw out at people,” Tamme said. “Obviously, we have some good running backs and wideouts. It’s fun for the tight ends to get to be a part of it, and get a chance to make some plays, so that part was awesome.”

As far as wideouts go, the ball distribution hasn’t prevented Julio Jones from lighting it up. He may no longer be on pace to break the single-season receptions record, but with nine catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns, he’s still performing like a Pro Bowl WR.

Jones has been aided by free agent signings Mohamed Sanu, who has 99 yards and a TD, and Aldrick Robinson, who caught a 20-yard pass on Sunday that put Atlanta in field goal range. Justin Hardy is coming along, too, and earned his first career touchdown versus the Raiders on one of the strangest — and one of the most important — plays of 2016.

“We just have to keep the trend going, keep the momentum going,” Sanu said. “Come this week, prepare even harder than we did the previous week. And come out here and try to get another W.”

Two games is, of course, a small sample size. But it’s encouraging nonetheless. And it’s shown the Falcons’ offense is a versatile unit, one capable of taking the league by storm.

“Now we have a better feel for Hooper. We certainly know our running backs so well. For years, Matt and Julio have had a fantastic connection. Now we’ve added other players to complement that with (Sanu) and Aldrick and Hardy’s now a real factor in that as well,” Quinn said. “We love the fact that there’s a number of guys getting involved. We really do.”

http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/blog/article-1/Falcons-Offense-Showing-its-Versatility/1ddd891a-39aa-43e8-b6bb-c0145253a351

 

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For as much as Turner and Gonzo were huge parts of the puzzle, Turner's inability to catch a pass and Gonzo's lack of speed made it easier for good Ds to shut down the Falcons.

Free and Cole will never  be mistaken for Turner nor Hooper/Tamme for Gonzo, but they help make the offense diverse to the point of being un-defendable.

Raiders had to defend the entire field -sideline to sideline and  30-40 yards downfield 50 yards downfield at one point- makes their job so much harder.

If the Falcons O can put up  big numbers in the next few weeks, against some good Ds, be a really good sign for the year and following years.

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nice start....real test comes infront of the whole nation inside our arched rivals home turf.

#neverpunt #botchedsnap #turnovers #meltdown2015 #neverforget

Wouldn't be surprised if this upcoming schedule was highlighted in their room meetings....now we shall see how #dirtybirds respond.

#falconsnation #faithfulfalcons #riseup

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I am really excited to see this come together.

I was shouting from the rooftop about our  versitile chess pieces on offense this year stating Ryan has never had a strong OL at same time he had two versatile RBs who can run, block, catch with breakaway speed, with TEs who can catch and block, two great big tall strong WRs with vertical threat WRs to exploit defenses win shallow CB depth.

Sure, we had one trick pony Turner and one trick pony Gonzo who both did  one thing very well but Brady, Rodgers, Mannng, Bres and company have always had speed and versatility at RB and TE to better match up.

Im freaking stoked to see this came together. Should be fun seeing how we match up against some of these defenses we are about to face. Can't expect to light it up,against stud defenses but should expect to be able to move the ball and score some.

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9 minutes ago, gazoo said:

I am really excited to see this come together.

I was shouting from the rooftop about our  versitile chess pieces on offense this year stating Ryan has never had a strong OL at same time he had two versatile RBs who can run, block, catch with breakaway speed, with TEs who can catch and block, two great big tall strong WRs with vertical threat WRs to exploit defenses win shallow CB depth.

Sure, we had one trick pony Turner and one trick pony Gonzo who both did  one thing very well but Brady, Rodgers, Mannng, Bres and company have always had speed and versatility at RB and TE to better match up.

Im freaking stoked to see this came together. Should be fun seeing how we match up against some of these defenses we are about to face. Can't expect to light it up,against stud defenses but should expect to be able to move the ball and score some.

we will soon find out on MNF = true test of character & grit of this team.

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48 minutes ago, falconidae said:

For as much as Turner and Gonzo were huge parts of the puzzle, Turner's inability to catch a pass and Gonzo's lack of speed made it easier for good Ds to shut down the Falcons.

Free and Cole will never  be mistaken for Turner nor Hooper/Tamme for Gonzo, but they help make the offense diverse to the point of being un-defendable.

Raiders had to defend the entire field -sideline to sideline and  30-40 yards downfield 50 yards downfield at one point- makes their job so much harder.

If the Falcons O can put up  big numbers in the next few weeks, against some good Ds, be a really good sign for the year and following years.

You see the potential and it just makes you crazy. Is there another team in the league with more above-average weapons? Is there a better QB at spreading the ball around than Ice? 

If, or hopefully when this offense stops shooting itself in the foot with OL inconsistency, dropped passes, RZ mis-fires and stupid penalties, we won't be talking just winning seasons or play-off wins, we'll be talking dynasty.

We won't be talking finally having a Lombardi Trophy, We'll be talking a line of Lombardi's going down the hall at Flowery Branch like the line of Moai monoliths that grace the skyline of Easter Island.

 

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25 minutes ago, PokerSteve said:

You see the potential and it just makes you crazy. Is there another team in the league with more above-average weapons? Is there a better QB at spreading the ball around than Ice? 

If, or hopefully when this offense stops shooting itself in the foot with OL inconsistency, dropped passes, RZ mis-fires and stupid penalties, we won't be talking just winning seasons or play-off wins, we'll be talking dynasty.

We won't be talking finally having a Lombardi Trophy, We'll be talking a line of Lombardi's going down the hall at Flowery Branch like the line of Moai monoliths that grace the skyline of Easter Island.

 

Be a lot of fun to be the first team to win  super bowl in its own stadium.

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the only thing I would like to see that I think would mke this offense unstoppable is if we use Toilolo as more of a pass cacther. so far he's being used more as a blocking TE but just think if he became more of a receiving threat, defenses wouldn't know what to do with us. so far he's the only guy defenses can look at and kinda know he's out there to block

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33 minutes ago, mattyicefalcon said:

we will soon find out on MNF = true test of character & grit of this team.

Yep, we came out of there with a win on the road against and vision foe and this place will go bananas!

I always get worried on Monday night games. Historically I don't think we've fared well 

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1 minute ago, raysnill1 said:

the only thing I would like to see that I think would mke this offense unstoppable is if we use Toilolo as more of a pass cacther. so far he's being used more as a blocking TE but just think if he became more of a receiving threat, defenses wouldn't know what to do with us. so far he's the only guy defenses can look at and kinda know he's out there to block

He was Ryans primary receiver on the 3 TE set that Tamme scored the TD on last week, but Mack saw Toilolo was going to get past him and grabbed his arm, almost ripped it off which drew a flag.

I heard Toilolo was looking great innthe passing game during camp until he broke his hand. He looks more fluid running now, nowhere near as stiff as last year. 

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Just wait til Aldrick and Gabriel get more involved instead of Hardy. Hardy's a great blocker, but that's about the best part of his game that comes to fruition on the field. His hands don't get to show cause he doesn't create seperation

 

Aldrick, on the other hand, not only capable of winning deep (unlike Hardy), but that threat of going deep opens up other routes for him. He ran a comeback Sunday, and Ryan made a throw across the field from the opposite hash that reached Aldrick who had plenty of room. Last year if that was Roddy, or Hardy this year, is an incompletion every time as the DB didn't have to respect their speed. A solid 20 yard gain thanks to the threat of his speed. That's just the beginning with Robinson/Gabriel, before even getting into the deep play potential and their ability to create on screens (Julio's the only WR we've had that's been able to effectively run screens, since back in 2012)

 

I'm not saying bench Hardy and give up on his development at all. Just that his snaps are going to be eaten into by those 2, and rightfully so

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