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Alex Mack: Falcons Are Re-Committing To Outside Zone


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This is great news for the team as a whole if Koetter & Co. follow through on this promise.  Gurley is the best in the business finding vertical seams on outside zone.  
 

Falcons focusing on outside-zone run scheme 

Atlanta Falcons center Alex Mack said the offense is committing to more extensive use of an outside-zone run scheme this season. 

WHAT IT MEANS:

"I think it's an emphasis of the whole offense to make sure that's something that we want to be really good at," Mack said. "So, in order to run the wide zone, you have to have a full commitment of all of the guys on the field to make that work. It is a really powerful offense. It's something that we have a lot of experience with." Mack is referring to the Falcons' running strategy before coordinator Kyle Shanahan left to become the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. After finishing 30th in rushing yards per game (85.1) and 29th in attempts (22.6) last season, Mack is eager for the offense to make a change. “The better we can run that, the more it opens up the field, the more play-action opens up,” Mack continued. “Having that weapon really opens up the offense. I know it’s something that I’m excited about. I like hearing that because it means we get to run the ball more. It means we have more play-action passes. In general, it’s something that I do well. I think if we can get that going, we’ll have a very powerful offense.” The improved run-blocking should help free-agent addition Todd Gurley bounce back from a disappointing 2019 campaign. He averaged a four-year low 4.2 yards per touch (52nd among the 59 players to average 6.25 touches last season) on a career-low 16.9 touches per game. 

The Falcons ranked 19th in numberFire's advanced team rushing metric last season. Per Pro Football Focus, the team ranked 11th in run blocking.

 

The highest-graded runners within the data set with at least 40 carries on wide zone were:

# Player TM Year PFF grade
1 Todd Gurley II Rams 2019 82.1
2 Derrick Henry Titans 2019 81.3
3 Todd Gurley II Rams 2017 79.9
4 Raheem Mostert 49ers 2019 79.6
5 Tevin Coleman 49ers 2019 78.0

 

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Again, why in the world did the Falcons take 4 years to realize, oh wait, lets try to run our offense like we did in 2016?  Why did we mess with the 3-4 or what ever we were doing the first half of last year?  What's going on here?  Is Arthur Blank shouting demands ?  

Falcons should have hired an OC with experience in Kyle's system.  Falcons should of just taken 2016 and just add players to it.  I don't get it. 

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1 hour ago, itsryanwonder said:

Again, why in the world did the Falcons take 4 years to realize, oh wait, lets try to run our offense like we did in 2016?  Why did we mess with the 3-4 or what ever we were doing the first half of last year?  What's going on here?  Is Arthur Blank shouting demands ?  

Falcons should have hired an OC with experience in Kyle's system.  Falcons should of just taken 2016 and just add players to it.  I don't get it. 

Falcons gonna Falcon LOL

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We kept the wide zone under Sark. We didnt really abandon it last year, they just tried to mix it in with Keotter's power scheme. 

So what  I got from this is that this year they want to master one run scheme and do it really well instead of doing multiple things average or below. 
 

Edited by LightningDawg58
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My personal opinion, I think Kyle and Quinn got into an ego maniac contest.  One or the other wanted all of the credit for the Super Bowl run.  I think Quinn hiring Sark was another sign of just plain ego.  Trying to prove he can do it with out Kyle.  Then we as fans had to suffer for 4 years of trash just because Quinn and TD wanted to prove it was all them?  How can you sit there for a full year and watch a team be so successful, number one offense in the league, defense held its own and you want to just turn all over and start all over?  WTH were they thinking?

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I got excited when I read the article, but then I saw the ajc article which includes Koetter’s quotes and I’m less optimistic.  This dude is a dud

 

“In general, it’s something that I do well. I think if we can get that going, we’ll have a very powerful offense, said Mack

Falcons coach Dan Quinn has mentioned running more outside-zone repeatedly over the offseason, while offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was vague when he was asked about the outside-zone attack.

Let’s forget about Koetter’s responses for the moment.  Mack believes that adding running back Todd Gurley will help the offense return to being one of the top units in the NFL.  Assuming they actually run the ball, he might just be right.

@PokerSteve @Vandy

 

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@Vandy

Here Mack agrees with your position on the importance of running the football.  

 

“The better we can run outside zone, the more it opens up the field, the more play-action opens up,” Mack said. “Having that weapon really opens up the offense. I know it’s something that I’m excited about. I like hearing that because it means we get to run the ball more. It means we have more play-action passes.

If the Falcons are more powerful running the ball, that will help them in pass protection. The Falcons’ offensive line gave up 50 sacks and 135 quarterback hits in 2019.

In addition to having trouble running the ball, the Falcons were behind in several games and forced to pass. If they can run the ball better in the outside zone system, that will keep the opposing defenses off balance.

Mack and left tackle Jake Matthews are the stalwarts on the line. There will be an open competition at left guard, while right guard Chris Lindstrom and right tackle Kaleb McGary are expected to make big jumps in their second seasons in the league.

“Chris is going to be a really good player,” Mack said. “I know he works very hard and he’s mentally tied into things. He has pretty good vision on the field.

“Those things are going to take you a really long way. You add that with his physical ability for how quick and strong that he is, he could be as good as he wants to be. He’s got the work ethic to take him there.”

Lindstrom missed 10 games last season with a broken foot he suffered in the season opener.

“If he stays healthy, he’s on the field and he’s learning every day, he’s going to be a good player for a really long time,” Mack said.

The Falcons drafted Matt Hennessy, who played center at Temple, possibly as Mack’s heir apparent.

Mack, 34, is set to enter his 12th season in the league.

 

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They better run more of the wide zone as that’s been spouted off since February. Would be really weird to see a lack of identity on offense but here we are wondering if Koetter is asked to run the previous system or his own. Last year was a failure trying to change to much on both sides of the ball and why Mularkey peaced out.

Who can reach wide zone and coordinate the rush game plan week to week? We still have Chris Morgan but every year without Mike McDaniel has gotten worse. Started with losing Levitre/Chester/DiMarco and then Lolo and more OG problems + Schraeder hitting an early wall in 2018 left us completely without a ground game in 2018 after a slight drop in 2017.

We all know Dan wanted to be more physical after 2018 and “impose our will” was preached but the failure to see those visions come together on defense and offense was The setback of 1-7.

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4 minutes ago, Ergo Proxy said:

They better run more of the wide zone as that’s been spouted off since February. Would be really weird to see a lack of identity on offense but here we are wondering if Koetter is asked to run the previous system or his own. Last year was a failure trying to change to much on both sides of the ball and why Mularkey peaced out.

Agree. But can you make an old dog go with a new run scheme? Koetter doesn't strike me as the  type who will change anything he does if he can avoid it.

I'm afraid he'll try a couple of wide-zone running plays early, and if they don't get yards, he'll routinely revert back to his power run comfort-zone for the rest of the game. Bye-bye play-action, hello Ryan sacks.

Not trying to be on the man's case. I want Koetter to take this offense to the SB trophy, but I have to see way more effort from him this year to run this offense the way it's had the most success and the way this offensive unit was built to operate.

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37 minutes ago, PokerSteve said:

Agree. But can you make an old dog go with a new run scheme? Koetter doesn't strike me as the  type who will change anything he does if he can avoid it.

I'm afraid he'll try a couple of wide-zone running plays early, and if they don't get yards, he'll routinely revert back to his power run comfort-zone for the rest of the game. Bye-bye play-action, hello Ryan sacks.

Not trying to be on the man's case. I want Koetter to take this offense to the SB trophy, but I have to see way more effort from him this year to run this offense the way it's had the most success and the way this offensive unit was built to operate.

I think DK is on a short leash. Koetter really has no excuse. On paper, the Falcons easily have one of the most talented, if not the most talented offense in the league. Shanny was able to produce a historic offense with less overall talent. 

If Koetter plans on sticking around he better find ways to make effective use of all the pieces he has and not try to rely on them to make things happen. Can he and the staff put together a dynamic rushing attack? Can he produce a dynamic passing attack that meshes with that rushing attack? Koetter was never really one to disguise his plays, use motion, or run multiple plays out of the same formation. Even Sark figured out how to do that. 

We'll see. Not getting my hopes up though.

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2 hours ago, itsryanwonder said:

My personal opinion, I think Kyle and Quinn got into an ego maniac contest.  One or the other wanted all of the credit for the Super Bowl run.  I think Quinn hiring Sark was another sign of just plain ego.  Trying to prove he can do it with out Kyle.  Then we as fans had to suffer for 4 years of trash just because Quinn and TD wanted to prove it was all them?  How can you sit there for a full year and watch a team be so successful, number one offense in the league, defense held its own and you want to just turn all over and start all over?  WTH were they thinking?

Turn it over? They told him to use Shannys offense dude.

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2 hours ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

I got excited when I read the article, but then I saw the ajc article which includes Koetter’s quotes and I’m less optimistic.  This dude is a dud

 

“In general, it’s something that I do well. I think if we can get that going, we’ll have a very powerful offense, said Mack

Falcons coach Dan Quinn has mentioned running more outside-zone repeatedly over the offseason, while offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was vague when he was asked about the outside-zone attack.

Let’s forget about Koetter’s responses for the moment.  Mack believes that adding running back Todd Gurley will help the offense return to being one of the top units in the NFL.  Assuming they actually run the ball, he might just be right.

@PokerSteve @Vandy

 

What Koetter comments?

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3 hours ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

It’s possible.  Like hm or not, I’ll be rooting for him to succeed.  We have the pieces to make a run 

He's got the guts to run between the tackles. Unfortunately he doesn't have the burst to get to the outside anymore. I don't think Freeman slowed down, but he seems tentative.

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Every single year since 2016 we've had an offseason article talking about us 'returning' to a zone scheme. Feels like maybe we should just give up the goat and start getting power scheme players since that seems to be the default we have to 'return' from every year. 

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