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Some things are starting to leak out about the new Falcons staff’s video review of the roster.


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https://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-falcons-blog/cover-99-no-1-offseason-priority-is-to-protect-matt-ryan/K6Y3PCBDX5ELVCIJATWNTVSEJ4/

 

1. The No Spin Zone. Some things are starting to leak out about the new Falcons staff’s video review of the roster.


The new staff was appalled at the pass protection, and their No. 1 priority is to protect quarterback Matt Ryan.

Publicly, the new regime has been polite, and coach Arthur Smith has gone out of his way not to say anything that would be deemed even remotely disrespectful to the former Falcons coaching staff.

Hey, it’s a close-knit coaching fraternity.

But after going 18-30 since the Falcons were Super Bowl contenders, some cultural things must change along with the football play improving.

The new staff arrived at the conclusion that if given the time, Ryan will deliver his passes with the accuracy of 2016.

When under siege, the offense tends to sputter. Ryan had to rush too many throws, or receivers didn’t have enough time to get open over the past three seasons.

For review, Ryan has been sacked 42, 48 and 41 times over the past three seasons. Let’s take a deeper dive into the Falcons’ pressure numbers over that time.


In 2018, in addition to the 42 sacks, Ryan was hit 48 times and hurried 53 times for a pressure number (sacks plus hurries and hits) of 143, which ranked 13th in the NFL.

The Falcons drafted right tackle Kaleb McGary and guard Chris Lindstrom in 2019. They also signed guards Jamon Brown and James Carpenter during that offseason. Lindstrom was injured in the opener that year, and McGary, Brown and Carpenter struggled.

In 2019, in addition to Ryan’s 48 sacks, Matt Schaub was sacked twice to make it 50 overall. So, with 68 hits and 56 hurries, the team’s pressure number was 174, which ranked 28th in the league.

Last season, Lindstrom was back at right guard, but there was still a hole at left guard, and McGary continued to struggle against speed rushers.

In addition to Ryan’s 41 sacks, he was hurried 55 times and was hit 71 times for a pressure number of 167, which ranked 24th in the league.

The overall numbers are staggering: Ryan has been sacked 131 times, hit 167 times and hurried 164 times. That’s a pressure number of 462.

Establishing the rushing attack will be key to any offensive revival. Smith has a run-first reputation from his days in Tennessee with running back Derrick Henry as the No. 1 weapon.

Mike Davis is currently the RB1 on the roster after the team elected not to select a running back in the draft.

The Falcons will run outside-zone and inside-zone to power the rushing attack.

The Falcons added two offensive linemen in the draft. In the third round they picked Jalen Mayfield and in the fourth round center Drew Dalman. Also, over the offseason they signed Josh Andrews and gave Matt Gono a second-round tender. Center Willie Wright (6-3, 300) and Willie Beavers (6-5, 324) were also added from last season’s practice squad.

For right now on the unofficial depth chart, we have McGary at right tackle, Lindstrom at right guard, Matt Hennessy at center, Gono at left guard and Jake Matthews at left tackle.

Pretty sure that won’t be the starting lineup for the season opener, as only Lindstrom and Matthews are safe.

“We feel like we’ve got good young players who are here and have been on our roster and can help us now,” Smith said. “Obviously, we’re going to go as the line goes.”

Smith and rookie NFL offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford (they call him D. Led!) will have to fix this unit.

“We’re excited to work with those (offensive line players), and we’ll see what other pieces we can add throughout the (draft) and throughout this offseason,” Smith said before the draft.

2. Brotherhood signs. “The Brotherhood” was the theme of former coach Dan Quinn’s program. They were draped all around the facilities and in the meeting rooms.


They have all reportedly been removed.

End of an era.


3. Over 30-Club: Also, one of the things the new coaches were flummoxed about was Julio Jones’ practice schedule.

He didn’t show up often on the practice tape as he was battling a hamstring injury in 2020.

The Falcons “Over-30 Club” under former coach Mike Smith might have gone too far in 2013 when he coaxed Tony Gonzalez out of retirement to make another run at the Super Bowl.

Gonzalez missed most of training camp and didn’t practice much that season.

Roddy White, after battling through a high ankle sprain, received rest days late in his career.

Center Alex Mack took some rest days last season.

Former linebacker Mike Peterson said Smith’s rest days extended his career by two years.

So, were the Falcons expecting Jones to be at practice stretching or working out his hamstring?

Not sure, but Jones not appearing much on practice tape was peculiar to them.

4. Time to open practice back up. The Falcons, after having open practices from 1966-2013, have joined those repressive teams that allow the media to watch only the first 10 to 12 minutes of warmups and special teams to minimally meet their media requirements.

Hopefully, that’s going to change, at least for minicamps and the early part of training camp.

5. Ridley’s option picked up: Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley, the team’s top draft pick in 2018, had his fifth-year, $11.116 million option picked up by the team Monday.

It was previously reported that team was set to make this move, but general manager Terry Fontenot would not confirm it Wednesday during the pre-draft press conference.

“Yeah, those are things we discussed, but we need to discuss that with those players and those agents and make sure we have those communications with them as opposed to doing it in this forum,” Fontenot said to the local media when asked about Ridley and Hayden Hurst’s fifth-year options.

Ridley signed a four-year deal with a team option for a fifth season after being drafted 26th overall in 2018. In three seasons with the Falcons, Ridley has 217 receptions for 3,061 yards and 26 touchdowns - including 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020.

Ridley has been working with Atlanta Public Schools as he recently visited both Michael R. Hollis Innovation Academy and Lenora P. Miles Elementary school, where workers from Mercedes-Benz USA distributed ice cream to students to celebrate persevering after a challenging pandemic year.

6. Hurst’s option not picked up: Hurst’s option — worth $5.4 million — was not picked up. The Falcons drafted former Florida tight end Kyle Pitts with the No. 4 overall pick Thursday.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018, recently had his $18.8 million fifth-year option picked up.

Last season, the Falcons declined to pick up the $10.3 million fifth-year option for defensive end Takk McKinley. He was released in the middle of the season after requesting a trade on social media.

7. Drafted rookie jersey numbers: Tight end Kyle Pitts No. 8, free safety Richie Grant No. 27, offensive tackle/guard Jalen Mayfield No. 77, cornerback Darren Hall No. 34, center Drew Dalman No. 67, defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham No. 95, defensive end Adetokunbo Ogundeji No. 92, returner/cornerback Avery Williams No. 35 and wide receiver Frank Darby No. 88.

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3 minutes ago, falcons007 said:

It’s funny, Tannehill had much less time in TN than Ryan and was sacked 25 times. 
Then I realized it’s Dleds post. 

It may be that the new crew is appalled at the pressure Ryan took, but they plan on reducing it partially by system and quick throws.  They may not place all the blame on OL.

Also some of those time to sack numbers are misleading because a certain QB could only get sacked when it's a blown assignment (quick sack) but otherwise have time.

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17 minutes ago, Geneaut said:

4. Time to open practice back up. The Falcons, after having open practices from 1966-2013, have joined those repressive teams that allow the media to watch only the first 10 to 12 minutes of warmups and special teams to minimally meet their media requirements.

Hopefully, that’s going to change, at least for minicamps and the early part of training camp.

D-Led is mad cuz he can't hang with the cool kids, so he's whining like an entitled brat. You're relegated back to the media-zone, DLed, where you should've always been anyway. Their bidness ain't yo bidness. 

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4 minutes ago, takeitdown said:

It may be that the new crew is appalled at the pressure Ryan took, but they plan on reducing it partially by system and quick throws.  They may not place all the blame on OL.

Also some of those time to sack numbers are misleading because a certain QB could only get sacked when it's a blown assignment (quick sack) but otherwise have time.

Dirk Koetter - "Alright guys.  Get down in your stance.  We are going to have the RB stand in the backfield next to Ryan so the defense does not get confused.  Now, pop up and block for 8 seconds.  No, you dumb****s.  I did not say 5 seconds, or 6, or 7, I said block for 8 seconds.  Alright, let's try that again. "

Unidentified voice from OL - "Dirk, you are killing us."

Dirk Koetter - "I said block for 8 seconds.  You have to throw deep the beat these guys." 

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, PriMeTiiMe said:

I think Lindstrom will easily be the best but Matthews is no slouch. 

Lindstrom with good coaching is going to be a top 3-5 OG.

Matthews ain't great either. I could see Lindstrom being probably a top 10 G he just has to stay healthy.

Edited by Beast-N-Da-Sheetz
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14 minutes ago, takeitdown said:

It may be that the new crew is appalled at the pressure Ryan took, but they plan on reducing it partially by system and quick throws.  They may not place all the blame on OL.

Also some of those time to sack numbers are misleading because a certain QB could only get sacked when it's a blown assignment (quick sack) but otherwise have time.

Yep. Ryan held the ball too long last year waiting for some one to get open. AS was killing it with quick passes. Tannehill barely attempted any passes greater than 20 yards. Ryan had too many 20 yard + attempts. 
 

AS had Jonu Smith, Frisker and Brown attack the seams in the middle. Let Pitts, Julio and Hurst get ton of YAC. Hopefully Falcons don’t see high rate of dump offs to RB in 2021.

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11 minutes ago, falcons007 said:

Yep. Ryan held the ball too long last year waiting for some one to get open. AS was killing it with quick passes. Tannehill barely attempted any passes greater than 20 yards. Ryan had too many 20 yard + attempts. 
 

AS had Jonu Smith, Frisker and Brown attack the seams in the middle. Let Pitts, Julio and Hurst get ton of YAC. Hopefully Falcons don’t see high rate of dump offs to RB in 2021.

Yeah just get it out of his hands. We have the athletes for it.

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9 minutes ago, JohnnyFranchise said:

did he have less time or was his offense schemed with more quick hit passing plays so his time from snap to throw was shorter?

RT  time to sack was 2.9 seconds, MR time to sack was 3.55 seconds. MR was better in trying to avoid sacks and extend plays but his receivers and scheme didn’t do any favors. AS knew his OL can’t hold for long so RT used quick passes.

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I'm really glad to hear that they're not gonna go too easy on the vets anymore. That was a serious problem on this team, especially after the Superbowl.

People got really lazy and entitled, wouldn't work their assignments, and tried to play hero ball all the time. Instead of getting a dose of humility from that terrible loss, the team somehow got arrogant.

Pretty sure that's what happened with Vic and Takk. They were Quinn's special little pass rush boys and he clearly never kicked their *****. That's why the team loved him I guess.

So ready to see some actual toughness and grit drilled into these guys. This team has been soft for far too long.

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1 minute ago, Herr Doktor said:

Maybe I am old fashioned but, you don't practice you don't play.  It's really that simple.  I don't care who you are or what position you play.  If you don't practice in the lead up to the game, with the nuances, and wrinkles being added and PRACTICED to how do you get to play?  

 

Biggest problem with DQ was letting players skip OTA and camp.All teams give extra rest during the week to veteran or injured players.  JA55 revived his career with Smitty giving him extra rest and using him in limited roles. You can’t be all or nothing in NFL. Now Takk, Vic and other young guys have no reason to skip practices. Also Smitty had these guys limited to walk through not skip them or not show up at all. 

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