Should the Falcons use the no-huddle more?

Matt Ryan completed 22 of 42 passes for 210 yards with a TD and an interception in a loss to Pittsburgh. (Associated Press)

Matt Ryan completed 22 of 42 passes for 210 yards with a TD and an interception in a loss to Pittsburgh. (Associated Press)

The Falcons flashed their no-huddle attack three times against Pittsburgh.

Whenever the use it, they seem to march the ball down the field.

Quaterback Matt Ryan, who calls the plays at the line of scimmage in the no-huddle  is just in his fourth year, but should they use it as their main mode of attack?

Here’s the story on the no-huddle attack:

FLOWERY BRANCH –  The Falcons’ no-huddle attack passed its first test of the season against Pittsburgh’s vaunted defense after going unused in the previous two exhibition games.

Against the Steelers, the Falcons used their no-huddle three different times in the first half, and each time they cobbled together promising drives that resulted in Matt Bryant field goals.

“We moved the ball pretty effectively,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “Obviously, we would have liked to have been more successful in the red zone. But, all in all, I thought it was pretty good.”

Normally, the Falcons would have spent extensive time working on their no-huddle offense over the offseason. But because of the lockout, they’ve had to stuff that work into condensed time periods. But Ryan believes they are ahead of most teams because they have mostly established veterans on the field.

 

The Falcons have run the attack since Ryan arrived as a rookie in 2008. They’ve used it sometimes to set the tempo and other times to dictate the defense’s personnel. They can turn it into a hurry-up attack if they are behind.

“Sometimes we move faster,” Ryan said. “Other times, we’re slower and get the clock down to three or four seconds. That’s something that could vary that makes it tough on the defense. It’s hard when they have to stay in position for that entire 40-second play clock.”

In the first quarter against Pittsburgh, they went into their no-huddle for eight consecutive plays and drove from their 33 to Pittsburgh’s 5. They had to settle for a 23-yard field goal after Ryan threw incomplete passes to Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez.

The big-play in that drive was a 22-yard pass to Roddy White. Overall, they threw six passes and ran the ball twice.

“We’ve got a lot of fine-tuning to do,” White said. “Even though we did some good things, we did a lot of things that we need to get better at.”

Later in the second quarter, the Falcons went back to the no-huddle attack for seven plays. Ryan drove the ball from their 46 down to Pittsburgh’s 2-yard line. An apparent touchdown pass to Gonzalez was nullified when he was called for offensive pass interference. Bryant booted a 30-yard field goal.

Ryan completed two of four passes and they ran the ball three times in the next no-huddle stint. Bryant added a 46-yard field goal at the end of the drive.

On their next possession, the Falcons used the no-huddle for just two plays.

Overall, Ryan completed 7 of 12 passes for 59 yards in the no-huddle. The team rushed five times for 21 yards.

The attack has evolved from just being a  change-of-pace option, to where they can run it for the entire game.

Last season against Baltimore, they went to it exclusively for the entire game. Ryan completed 32 of 50 passes for a career-high 316 yards and three touchdowns in a 26-21 victory.

In 2009, the Falcons went into the no-huddle offense 16 times in five different games. They scored seven touchdowns and two field goals while in the no huddle.

It has become a potent part of the offense.

“We work on it every week,” Ryan said. “Every day at practice and we worked on it pretty much every day [during] training camp.”

The coaches were pleased with the no-huddle attack, but were noncommittal about using it more frequently.

“We wanted to get a good look at it,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “One of the things that it also does, [is] it also allows you to evaluate the conditioning of your football team.”

The 132-day lockout has the coaches doing more in-game experimenting during this exhibition season.

“A lot of the stuff that we’ve shown, if we’ve gotten enough work on it in minicamp and [oganized team activities] we wouldn’t have shown it as much just because we’d had practiced it,” Smith said. “Just because everything has been condense we’ve had to do some things a little bit differently.”

Smith believes that teams will still be implementing their attacks during the first quarter of the season.

“Just because of the pure volume we don’t have as much in because we haven’t had time to do it,” Smith said. “I think as you see throughout the league, there are going to be more and more aspects of people’s offense and defense showing up.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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73 comments Add your comment

First

August 30th, 2011
5:18 am

Enter your comments here

Carlos

August 30th, 2011
5:19 am

Falcons Will Win

August 30th, 2011
5:20 am

Waiting on the Season

Carlos

August 30th, 2011
5:21 am

I really do hope the Falcons use the no huddle offense more often this year. It has been proven to be a very effective weapon for us…

Falcons4Eva

August 30th, 2011
6:06 am

Go the the No-Huddle. Fire Mike Murlarkey AND save the extra money you’re paying for an offensive coordinator who’s play calling is OFFENSIVE.

It’s a WIN-WIN!

Go Falcons. Go Braves.

HATinGA

August 30th, 2011
6:12 am

Weather in no-huddle or not we need to throw more on 1st and 2nd down and try and keep the defence off balance more, the idea is to run the ball so that the safties and backers come up to the line and throw over the top, we get that look every 1st and 2nd down because we have run so much in the past. If we open it up more on 1st down it would also back the safties up so it loosens up the run also.

Ellabell 1

August 30th, 2011
6:22 am

I have enough confidence in Ryan to play the whole game in no huddle. Ryan seems to be able to call a better game than Murlarky.

Atl fan

August 30th, 2011
6:24 am

Yes! Yes!, YES!!!
We have the weapons on offense but our offensive coordinator is boring. I trust Matt at QB. It’s his team. Let him run up the score because the secondary will surely keep the other team in the game.
No Huddle or die.

HJones

August 30th, 2011
7:08 am

The Baltimore game ranks as the best game played by the offense because we beat a higher level team using our best weapons. Dled, you said the team would have spent extensive time working on the no-huddle. Maybe that is our problem, and we need to play free from the burdening controls of Mike Mularkey.

HJones

August 30th, 2011
7:09 am

Dled, I put in two sentences and it doesn’t post? What is wrong?

SeenThisB4

August 30th, 2011
7:15 am

The no-huddle offense is just a gimmick offense. The falcan’ts aren’t capable of running it anyway, All they would accomplish would be to punt the ball faster.

DeepDiver

August 30th, 2011
7:26 am

1. Run ball up middle.
2. Run ball off tackle.
3. Comeback/out route.
4. Punt
5. Repeat

Mularkey, I tell you.

DeepDiver

August 30th, 2011
7:28 am

Mularkey Flow Chart:

1. Run ball up middle — 2. Run ball off tackle — 3. Comeback/out route — First Down — Yes? — Repeat — No? — Punt

FAlcons24

August 30th, 2011
7:30 am

Seen ThisB4, have you watch them in the no-huddle. It is their bread and butter. They normally have good results from it. Matt Ryan is free to do what he is best at and that is seeing the field and evaluating. Can’t believe you think that they will fail at it and result in punting. Pittsburgh could not get people on the field fast enough and they were stuck with their base package and not allow to just pass rush Matt Ryan. I think that it is a good fit, so use it.

HJones

August 30th, 2011
7:32 am

T h e B a l t i m o r e g a m e r a n k s a s t h e b e s t g a m e p l a y e d b y t h e o f f e n s e b e c a u s e w e b e a t a h i g h e r l e v e l t e a m u s i n g o u r b e s t w e a p o n s. D l e d, y o u s a i d t h e t e a m w o u l d h a v e s p e n t e x t e n s i v e t i m e w o r k i n g o n t h e n o-h u d d l e. M a y b e t h a t i s o u r p r o b l e m, a n d we n e e d t o p l a y f r e e f r o m t h e b u r d e n i n g c o n t r o l s o f M i k e M u l a r k e y.

That paragraph was rejected without the spaces!

HJones

August 30th, 2011
7:35 am

I have found you cannot quote or use any sentence from the original Dled post or it will not appear. Dled, this needs to be fixed. I should not have to resort to putting extra spaces between letters to have something accepted.

HJones

August 30th, 2011
7:37 am

DeepDiver I like that flowchart. I am afraid we will have to endure some more use of it this year before it is torn up.

Season Ticker Holder

August 30th, 2011
7:49 am

The Falcons should run the no huddle offense. Matt Ryan should know what plays to call to fit his strengths. Matt’s play calling can’t be any worst than the offensive coordinator’s.

Albert Einstein

August 30th, 2011
7:53 am

I have found you cannot quote or use any sentence from the original Dled post or it will not appear. Dled, this needs to be fixed. I should not have to resort to putting extra spaces between letters to have something accepted.

I agree, esp when DOL uses this same story with 3 different headers. Or was it four? anyhow, maybe AJC was trying to get this guy out to do some real reporting and stop using the same story over and over with different headers. Anyone remember when we used to get REAL, INFORMATIVE stories about the players and team? Oh well. Pick it up Ledbottom or give that press pass to someone that will use it. This is just silly!

Falcon James

August 30th, 2011
7:53 am

If the no huddle work and give a change of pace, then we should use it. If the no huddle make is not working and dont give a change a pace, then we should not use it.

mountain_jim

August 30th, 2011
8:17 am

I agree with others here that Ryan calls a better game than Mularkey, and that’s why Mularkey will not allow Ryan to go free. Mularkey’s play-calling is an anvil around the Falcon’s collective leg.

Chandler going Deep..

August 30th, 2011
8:28 am

Hey MAD Mike Mularkey, You got your bags packed yet? 3rd and long yet again..

PaulieOldSchool

August 30th, 2011
8:32 am

The answer to your question is: Not only yes, but, hell, yes!

bob

August 30th, 2011
8:34 am

Really, we just need more imagination in the red zone. Ryan rolling out to the right and throwing it out of bounds is getting old. How about more play-action on first down, especially when inside the five. I want to see Kerry Meier in a drag rout like NE uses with Welker.

JYD

August 30th, 2011
8:42 am

Nice to be back fellas can’t waiting for the season to begin; Mularkey should show us what his made of no more excuses and Ryan is now in his fourth year. Apart from the defense i’m even more worried by our special teams, with the new rules on kick offs it seems the new kicker we signed doesn’t have enough leg to kick into the endzone like the guy we refused to pay and was signed by the Bucs, is it just me or does anyone see this as a concern?

rollo lawson

August 30th, 2011
8:45 am

I also get tired of us settling for field goals inside the twenty. I have noticed how Matt Ryan, after a failed 3rd and short conversion inside the 20, is so quick to just jog to the sideline. For once, i would like to see him urge the staff to go for it, a la Peyton or Brady. There is a conservative cloud hanging over the offense right now. Something needs to be done about Mr. Vanilla, Mike Mularkey. He needs to truly turn Matt Ryan loose.

rollo lawson

August 30th, 2011
8:48 am

“TDs Win Championships Not Field Goals”. See Green Bay and New Orleans

Mike Mularky

August 30th, 2011
8:58 am

Im just not feeling any love on this blog!

DC Dirty Bird

August 30th, 2011
8:59 am

We rely too much on Roddy and Gonzo in the redzone. We have to get more diverse in our play calling down there. I’d like to see plays designed for Harry to beat a backer or nickel inside or for Quizz coming out of the backfield. I’m still perplexed that we haven’t seen him play with the 1’s. That kid would be deadly in the no huddle because he’s a run/pass threat.

Larry

August 30th, 2011
9:02 am

I absolutely agree with you JYd. Our special teams play is atrocious. We definitely need someone who can kick the ball out of the endzone. It won’t work when he only kicks it 1 – 2 yards deep1

Larry

August 30th, 2011
9:04 am

We have an exciting team. Too bad we won’t get to see them perform up to their capabilities!

Stepchild

August 30th, 2011
9:06 am

Yes…they should use the no-huddle Defense to stop passing attacks…lol.

Seriously, the No Huddle Offense will potentially get you quick 3 and outs or quick scores…either way the Defense will have to hold up with short rest periods…..Use it situationally….but use it more!

DC Dirty Bird

August 30th, 2011
9:08 am

Jyd and Larry, I wouldn’t be suprised if Bosher begins to kick them deeper during the regular season. We have a lot of 3rd stringers who will be called upon to play special teams. I’m not sure, but maybe we have used the kick-offs to see who we keep. I’m more concerned with the punts from Bosher than the kick-offs. We were spoiled with Koenen but I do expect the occasional 60 yarder or coffin corner kick.

Stepchild

August 30th, 2011
9:08 am

If Mularky turns Matt Ryan loose….what will happen? Mularky sees Matt practice everyday…perhaps Mularky knows that he is not ready to be turned loose…hmmm?

If Matt is turned loose…will he be a turnover machine? That would definitely get you guys hopping mad!!!

Mike Mularkey

August 30th, 2011
9:19 am

Is a screen pass a movie loyalty card?

Tony

August 30th, 2011
9:28 am

teamguy

August 30th, 2011
9:44 am

I noticed that James Sanders, a safety released by the Pats yesterday, is coming in for a visit today. Maybe our safeties need to tighten up, or else.

I have also noticed that not much has been said about Ryan’s arm strength since he launched that beauty into the end zone on Saturday. That pass was perfect and should have been caught, though that’s easy for me to say. Got a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of those this year.

Load of Mularkey

August 30th, 2011
9:49 am

In a word:

OHELLZYESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

HJones

August 30th, 2011
9:53 am

DLed, PLEASE TELL US WHAT YOUR ANSWER IS TO YOUR QUESTION?

Gumbo

August 30th, 2011
10:11 am

Anything that takes MM out of the equation has to make our offense better……

SirReal

August 30th, 2011
10:11 am

YES!!! Its worked the last TWO years….If we drove down against PITTSBURGH then we can do it to anyone. We need to use it if not all game, at least for 70%

extremus

August 30th, 2011
10:11 am

I personally like the no-huddle and agree that the Falcons seem to move the ball much better when they use it.

I realize, of course, that preseason games don’t count, but SI.com and other national media types are saying after the Pittsburgh game that Atlanta has a long way to go to gel and be truly explosive as a unit. That’s discouraging considering most of these guys are in their third or fourth season of working together, and may indeed hint at a bigger problem.

I’m no offensive coordinator, so I’m not qualified to arbitrarily say Mike Mularkey should be fired. However, I do believe that given the number of pieces the Falcons now have in place for Matt Ryan to throw to (White, Jones, Douglass, Gonzalez, etc) that both fans and the organization will have a low tolerance for failure to execute with consistency on offense. If for whatever reason this year’s offense fails to impress, there will be no further room for excuses, and Mularkey’s job will almost certainly be in jeopardy.

I realize there will be close games over the course of any NFL season, but even at 13-3 last year the Falcons rarely if ever didn’t allow opposing teams to hang around and make the outcomes nail-biters. That offensive inconsistency was exposed as a gross weakness when they ran into a team that had no compunctions about running up the score: the Green Bay Packers. To win the Superbowl the Falcons will HAVE to adopt a similar killer instinct.

LexLuth

August 30th, 2011
10:25 am

So clearly they have known all along with those stats that Ryan does a better job at play calling than Mularkey. Its not only about the change of pace, its better calls. Straight hand off, straight hand off, Pass is Mularkeys style and it just doesnt work. Everyone in the league knows what he will do. Last year it was to many weapons to score so few points.

HJones

August 30th, 2011
10:27 am

Extremus you are exactly right. The Falcons rarely if ever got ahead of any especially lesser quality teams. They all were allowed to hang around. It also makes it difficult on the defense. If we were to get ahead by more than 2-3 touchdowns, the defense could play more aggressive on the pass. The way we played and the way it appears we playing points to a regular season of wins only. It was aggravating to me watching a team not performing to its potential.

SirReal

August 30th, 2011
10:43 am

To be honest…this is a make or break year for not only Mularkey but BVG also. His schemes are just as bad on the defensive side of the ball. I agree with extremus. They have to quit playing choir ball and go for the jugular week in and week out. We have the firepower on Offense…..but will it be held back. This team should be a pass happy offense this year that sets up the run instead of years past of the opposite.

Elvis

August 30th, 2011
10:48 am

first and ten, give to Turner. second and twelve give to turner. third and fourteen, ryan in the shotgun out route to roddy…first down.

joe white

August 30th, 2011
10:49 am

I loved the attack of the no hu7ddle we are ready to make a run this year, but the secondary needs help badly

dukester

August 30th, 2011
10:51 am

Dear Mike Mularkey I hope your stay in here Atlanta was a good one I suggest you and Van Gorder brush up on your resumes because after this 8 or 9 win season you guys will be made the scape goat for this team.

collegeballfan

August 30th, 2011
10:53 am

Based on my zero years experience in running NFL offenses I would say I do not have a clue.

Jax Falcon/Dog Fan

August 30th, 2011
11:18 am

Huddle or no huddle, until our franchise quarterback can consistently execute at a 60 to 70% completion rate, it really won’t matter. Too bad brains and accuracy don’t go hand in hand.