atlbaby Posted January 19, 2019 Share Posted January 19, 2019 Easy fix. Sign Rodger Saffold and draft Cody Ford Quote Analysis: How to fix the Falcons' 2018 run game failures By: Scott Carasik | January 18, 2019 8:30 am The Atlanta Falcons had one of the worst run games in the NFL in 2018, despite ranking No. 13 in the league by averaging 4.48 yards per carry. They averaged just 98.7 rush yards per game, which was only No. 27 in the league. Success running the ball may not directly correlate to winning games, but it doesn’t hurt. With some help from Football Outsiders, we’ll do a quick review of the rushing attack in 2018. We’ll look at what worked, what didn’t and how the Falcons can improve in 2019. Interior runs The Falcons ran the lowest percentage of plays behind the interior three offensive linemen at just 32 percent of their snaps this season. For comparison, the second-lowest was Washington at 43.8 percent. The NFL average was 57 percent. Before anyone says, “it was because the offensive line couldn’t block well,” take note that the Falcons averaged 4.68 yards per carry on those interior carries, good enough to rank No. 11 in the NFL. Plays like this work because the line works together to open the hole in the middle. It’s one of the simplest running plays in all of football and for Atlanta, it was one of the more effective ones. The Falcons should use it more often in 2019 with Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith shouldering the load. Outside zone, off-tackle The bread and butter of the Falcons’ scheme is the outside zone. On outside zone plays that went off the right tackle, the team averaged 5.11 yards per carry – fourth-most in the NFL. Off the left tackle, Atlanta ranked No. 20, gaining 3.98 yards per rush. The Falcons called this play on just over a quarter of their run plays, which wasn’t often enough considering how effective it proved to be, at least on the right side. Toss plays The worst part of Atlanta’s running game during the 2018 season sadly also accounted for the biggest portion. Toss plays made up 40 percent of the rushing offense. To the right side, they averaged 3.94 yards per carry, which was just No. 21 in the NFL. To the left, they averaged 3.06 yards, which ranked them 26th. Unless the Falcons want to bring the usage of this play down to around 3 to 5 percent, they’d be better off just scrapping it altogether. How to fix the run game moving forward Focusing more on inside and outside zone plays should help the team gain a lot more yards. When the Falcons focused on keeping their runs between the tackles or just off-tackle, they averaged 5.19 yards per carry. When they tossed it outside, they averaged 3.44 yards per carry. Along with some fresh talent in the trenches to help Jake Matthews and Alex Mack, this could help Atlanta take the next step as an offense in 2019. Replacing former offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian with Dirk Koetter should help in this area because at least he will likely scrap most of the ineffective toss plays. Also, the front office needs to focus on bulking up the offensive line to run the outside and inside zone plays more effectively. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.