Troubled Times for Falcons Offense


 Is OC Kyle Shanahan the REAL ISSUE Here?    

Special Guest Writer: Roddy E. Nixon, Jr. AKA Seminole Warrior

If everyone’s thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” General George Patton


Offensively, our Atlanta Falcons, is troubling at times to watch. But let me ask you a simple question? What did you REALLY expect?


This team is EXACTLY what many of us thought it was. Average at best with an array of issues that require significant attention. Many want to lay the blame at the feet of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. The Tee Pee is not included among those. I hear you; what the hell is wrong with you, SW? Have you seen this offense lately? Yes, I have. And I know what is missing from this offense. And I know the reason why?

sw2First, the WCO scheme, in order to be MOST effective, requires a smart, versatile quarterback that can get accurate in the short to intermediate passing game. MR2 is that man. He gives us the versatility to react to the play coming in from the sideline OR if need, call a play quickly on his own. It is that passing dynamic that actually ENHANCES the rushing attack.

sw3Second, the WCO scheme requires a dynamic running back; one that is talented at hitting the seams quickly, one that possesses quick cut abilities, and also serves as an invaluable receiving asset. It also requires a larger, complimentary back that can run with power, block effectively, and like the smaller back, be an effective receiver coming out of the backfield. This person can be a “third-down” specialist or perhaps, a fullback. The Falcons have all these components. Freeman is the better running back with Coleman as his understudy; the underrated Patrick DiMarco is the fullback.

sw4Third, WCO themed wide receivers and tight ends must have excellent hands, be extremely adept to making catching in traffic, and running very reliable routes. They focus on the short to intermediate routes as to loosen up a defense and tire them out early due to the need to react much quicker to the rapid evolution of the offensive play. Julio Jones, Justin Hardy, and Jacob Tamme easily fill these roles.

Fourth, WCO themed schemes make maximum use of effective zone blocking techniques. An effective ZBS offensive line requires quality scouting and coaching. The emphasis with ZBS linemen is on their mobility, their techniques, and their versatility.

sw8Under Kyle Shanahan (age 35) and offensive line coach Chris Morgan (age 36), the Falcons have attempted to make the switch to zone blocking. This is Morgan’s FIRST gig as a full time LEAD dog on the offensive line. At prior stops, Washington and Seattle, Morgan worked with experienced OL coaches and had MUCH better talent to work with. And remember that Kyle too is still emerging from considerable shadows. THESE POINTS ARE CRITICAL to note, friends.

sw7Remember that both men INHERITED the previous regime’s remains; a group that had FAILED in attempts at both power and zone blocking schemes. Recall that strength, conditioning, experience, and overall talent was significantly lacking; recall with me that, just like this season, Atlanta’s undersized linemen were CONSISTENTLY being overpowered by opposing defensive linemen. The running game, just like what we saw last week by the Bay, became almost non-existent and was especially ineffective in goal-line/short yardage situations. And our passing attack was limited as the QB was subjected to relentless pressure too often resulting in sacks, interceptions, and busted plays. YOU HAVE SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE, friends.


With all that now a matter of record, let me ask the following questions?

Why has the Atlanta offensive line been neglected for so long in your opinion given the substantial investment made on that side of the team (Ryan, Jones)?

After being pounded for the last two years, has Matt Ryan finally become fearful behind his offensive line? Could that fear be the reason for his unsteady play of late?

Why has Arthur Blank chosen to give TD and his key staff pass after pass only to have the same failures emerge each of the last three years?

If Arthur Blank retains TD and his front office team in 2016, do we really expect anything from them given the limited draft picks and the poor free agency record?

Is offensive line a MAJOR draft priority that requires at least two-three picks of our current draft allotment?

If most fans get their way and Shanahan is fired after one year, who should the Mighty Quinn turn to as his new offensive coordinator?

If Chris Morgan is scape-goated like the previous three OL coaches, who should the Mighty Quinn turn to fill that role?

652 thoughts on “Troubled Times for Falcons Offense

  1. LRD

    But you know what gnaws at me… Our very first series is Roddy, Roddy and Roddy… and I beleive was Shanahan saying, I heard you, you got to see him, and now I am going to do what I want to do. OH.. and I also let Ryan do no huddle to appease you unwashed masses…. to me, Basically a middle finger to all of us asking for a mix in the offense,

    Cuz after that it was feeding Julio, feeding Julio and feeding Julio. Now granted 11 is a beast, but dammit, up in my section I can see matt staring down 11 and I am suprised we didnt have another INT.
    Something is up with Ryan… and I am thinking it is something to do with his rotator cuff. THe lack of strength, the lack of smoothness, the fact he is throwing behind and low to me shows something is there in his shoulder that is affecting him.

    Our D did get 2 sacks tonight.. and we did get some good QB hits… but to me, the game was lost when we had the 3 penalties on pass intereference/holding that allowed Indy to march down the field to score. That was the game…. yea Ryan did throw a pick 6. but we had ample oppty to have stopped Indy and retained what was left of our first half mojo until that drive.

    our team was def different without Freeman… Hankerson did drop a couple (3 I believe, 2 being for first downs).

    1. Paddy O

      why lock onto to JJ? Because you are using your 2nd best WR as a feint? How stupid are we? Hankerson has earned a no confidence vote. Hardy has been decent. TE was missing in action. The FB should have been able to pull coverage after his first 2 TD’s. Shanahan is garbage.

  2. Arno

    There was one point in the first half when we had four receivers tied for two catches each. The plan was working. Then Devonta went out, and the run blocking just wasn’t good enough for Coleman. I hoped he would get his feet under him, but it didn’t happen. Ryan’s passing game then had to pay the price. That’s why we lost the game. And we will lose the rest of the season if they can’t get the run blocking fixed.

    1. Greg Mendel

      I agree completely. IMO, a horribly awful O-line has improved to become a simply awful O-line. “Pass protection” is good for no more than two seconds. Any seconds beyond that are devoted to Ryan running for his life, trying to find a target, and trying to throw — get off, really — a good pass. By contrast, notice how much time and lack of pressure opposing second-string QBs face. It’s how THEY win and why WE lose.

      IMO, it ain’t Quinn, Shanahan or Ryan. We have a crap O-line and no pass rush on defense. Remove Freeman (our entire running game), and we have a 12-cylinder offense running on 4 cylinders.

    2. gman

      I agree that we still have a lot of work to do on the lines, but fixing the run blocking isn’t going to help get MR’s accuracy back. As LRD said previously, in his opinion it looks like there could be a rotator cuff issue. That would certainly explain both the inaccuracy and the lob throws.

      1. gman

        I should add that over the last few games, there have been time when Matt had enough time and just flat out missed his target.

  3. Flo-Ri-Duh

    I’m sure this won’t be well received right now but perhaps we are overreacting a bit? The one thing I hang on to is that every single game the Falcons lost could have been a win. Once again the same old problems cost us a razor close game. Fumbles, interceptions and penalties. These are things that can be corrected.

    I’m seeing one problem that can’t be corrected with a talent upgrade. Matt Ryan isn’t working in Shanahan’s system. The chemistry is wrong. That’s one major change I see coming at the end of the season….. can’t get rid of MR -so the scapegoat is Shanahan.

  4. gman

    I am NOT and will never be a fan of replacing Matt Ryan I just want to get fixed whatever is bothering him. If it’s the system, fix it. If it’s an injury fix it. .If he needs a therapist…. fix it. He has done way too many GREAT things for this team and for whatever reason he is not himself the last 4 games. Just fix it.

    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      What I just said – in simple terms Matt Ryan & Shanahan’s system aren’t compatible. Yes, the OL needs upgrading. Yes, the down field options need improving. Yes, MR can be more accurate. Even if they correct all of that MR is not compatible with this system and I don’t think he likes this system. MR & KS aren’t compatible. If DQ is smart he will soon make a change at OC – since he can’t make one at QB.

  5. Paddy O

    OK- who want to explain why we execute so poorly ? ryan’s pick was unexcusable – but, even if the LB does not intercept – Tamme was covered – why does Ryan now feel obligated to force the ball in? Also, this is Coleman’s 2nd fumble. THAT appears to be a BAD habit. To me, Shanahan is similar to Malarkey – he places players into a box, and they only get certain routes. If Kyle still thinks Hankerson is a better WR than Roddy, he is an idiot. Use Roddy as your possession WR. Anyone want us to let Bosher try that last second field goal? No way MR2 has the arm for that throw.

    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      When MR threw to RW he wasn’t open either most of the time. None of these WR’s are creating space – other than JJ occasionally. The OL pass blocking is a major problem- especially on the interior. The pass rush is coming right up the middle.

      1. Paddy O

        which a competent OC compensates for. We saw it the last 3 or so games – at the end of the game, the opposition dials up the pressure – we can’t deal with it.

  6. Dewey

    Turnovers and bad penalties were once again the main culprit for our loss. As long as we keep losing in that fashion, the coaching staff will stick to their scheme, seeing poor execution as the flaw.

      1. Dewey

        Not trying to be an a$$, serious question, how do you fix it? You can’t climb into Ryan’s head and make him not throw certain passes. Coleman’s fumble was bad, but the defenders helmet hit square on it. Players know not to hold, jump offsides, etc. How do you hold them accountable where they don’t do it again?

        Anyone heard why the hit on Freeman wasn’t a head shot, targeting, whatever you want to call it? You don’t get more helmet-to-helmet than that.

  7. Dewey

    Matt Ryans problems haven’t just been the last few games, he’s been off target all season, it’s just now his inaccuracies are resulting in turnovers. Something is wrong. Could be injury. Could be not comfortable with the scheme. He’s never had the strongest arm. It could be something as simple as he’s just lost it. I don’t know how many of you follow baseball that much, but occasionally a pitcher will lose 3-5 mph off his fastball, or lose a couple inches off his control for no reason. Their bodies just wear down sooner than some. It might be something as simple as that.

    1. Paddy O

      considering the big change is the anal OC, I’d pull the OC and see what Ryan can do. could he have problems seeing over our own line? He has never had accuracy problems, but his arm strength does seem down.

  8. Hamad Meander

    This loss has done it. I give up. There is no hope. We do less with more than any team in the NFL. I’m going to spend my Sundays napping.

  9. waynester

    I haven’t given up on THIS season yet. With 6 games left we are still in the hunt. If the season ended today we’d be the 2nd NFC wild-card team along with MINN. We are our own worst enemy, however, with the penalties and turnovers. Eliminate those and we’re competitive in all those losses. Bear in mind that SEA was one of the most penalized teams along with NE and they won the SB anyway. Stay aggressive but reverse the turnover trend and we’re still in business.

  10. Wings

    Lrd said: “But you know what gnaws at me… Our very first series is Roddy, Roddy and Roddy… and I beleive was Shanahan saying, I heard you, you got to see him, and now I am going to do what I want to do. OH.. and I also let Ryan do no huddle to appease you unwashed masses…. to me, Basically a middle finger to all of us asking for a mix in the offense, ”

    When Roddy White was targeted three straight times at the beginning of the game, I said to myself “What the Hell!?”. A BIG BELL went off in my head. It was done for a reason and it could not have been done for a good or bad reason whoever decided to do it.

    Who made the decision to make those three targets? It could have been the OC, the HC, or MR#2.

    Something is wrong!!

    DQ is responsible for fixing it whatever it is, period!

    1. Mike In Minnesota

      I felt like a puppy who pooped on the rug and my master was rubbing my nose in it….Whoever decided was willing/hoping we would go 3 and out so that they could go back to their plan…And I think that could only be Shanahan.

  11. Grits Blitz

    2 words – implosion and regression come to mind after the Colts game.
    Predicted this game would be a snapshot of the rest of this season and the answer was supplied as far as I’m concerned.
    There are no excuses required as far as I’m concerned now. I’m convinced even multiple bye weeks won’t cure what ails this club.
    The train on this MO. RR is officially off the tracks and assigned to the roundhouse for repairs. Parts won’t be available until next year.
    Coaching blueprints for needed adjustments are also on back-order as status quo appears to be stubbornly locked-in for 2015.

  12. John Waynesworld

    Matt Ryan is presently the worst Quarterback in the NFC South and it really isn’t close. Without pristine protection Matt is a scared mess.

    Devonta Freeman’s success in the new zone blocking scheme is the engine of this offense, and until three weeks ago when the 49ers finally stopped him, the running game was masking our QB problems. Now without Freeman’s production there is only Ryan’s quick passes (and occasional moon shots) to Julio and without those we have nothing. Ryan is no longer the stoic passer he once was and I would go one step further and say that Ryan is mentally skittish, as in AFRAID FOR HIS SAFETY on every passing play. His inconsistency and his unease in the pocket, even when there is adequate protection, is evident to my viewing eyes. He is expecting to take a hit.

    Only 2 things are going to change this issue – 1) Get rid of Ryan, which is probably financially impossible right now, or 2) In 2016 draft two Offensive Linemen (#1 & #2) and sign at least one TOP Free Agent OL who are all solid pass protectors. Despite our pitiful lack of a pass rush, the only way for this team to succeed is to fix Ryan’s problem. The only way to fix that problem is to give Ryan a brand new secure pocket that he can believe in…completely.

  13. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Fumble Rate: Draft Class of 2015 RB’s
    Tevin Coleman fumbled once every 72 carries
    Todd Gurley was 2nd best at fumbling once every 192 carries

    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      JWW – Sounds good and all that but won’t happen.

      DQ was brought in by AB to build a competent defense – pass rush is priority #1 in this draft.
      Expect pass rusher or LB 1st pick and maybe even 2nd pick.

      OL help will come through UFA’s and maybe 3rd/4th Rd.

      Defense wins Super Bowls.

  14. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Did anyone see Gators/FAU game Saturday? Gators did not impress me much.
    Prediction: SEC Champ Game
    Alabama’s DL Way Too Much For Gator “O”
    No contest: Bummer Wins

  15. Grits Blitz

    Arthur, if you care anything about improving your money-making toy (Falcons) and that you’re serious about accountability,
    play Santa and:
    1. Hire an intelligent GM and FO – asap – and especially one that understands the importance of trench warfare! (Show T.D. and old FO dead weight the door.) New GM should have full authority over players acquired. “Input” by DQ okay, but let him concentrate on coaching and keeping his job! GM makes the player “decisions”, period.
    2. Start counting beans and targeting/scouting for offseason available, proven, young FAs now – not later.
    3. Let new/real GM come aboard asap and research draft choices likely available for our projected pick based upon NOT winning another ’15 game.
    4. Let new/real GM freedom to actually trade players when and where actually needed.
    5. Serve DQ notice to reconsider OC (and any other “assistant”) as they’ll all need to step-up their scheming and implement verifiable benchmarks
    (for coaching-up improvements) resulting in objective performance results on the field – beginning preseason game #1 for 2016.
    (Current KISS method appears to be a coach & player-killer!)
    6. Start oiling the player turnstile and revolving door now for 2016.
    (Dare I say…AT THIS RATE, perhaps by 2017, for DQ & Co. also if the situation truly is …over his head? Time and performance results tell all.)

  16. DePlane

    Watching Beasley “almost” get to the QB….along with everyone else…is frustrating. Right now…He’s not a DE….sorry. OLB a better position for his skills?


    1. Hamad Meander

      I never really thought Beasley would be an every down DE – he should be a pass rushing OLB. But some of the talk that he is too light to be DE is silly because he is nearly the same size as John Abraham, who excelled at that position. There is something else missing with Beasley and what I think it is: variety. He doesn’t have the moves to find his way to the QB with anything but speed.


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