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

John

August 30th, 2011
11:26 am

Trying to mimick the Patroits and Packers but don’t have the system players needed for such a offense. There’s a reason why Mularkey has the reins on Matty Ice, his interceptions went down dramactically when Ice wasn’t allowed to throw down the field last year. Now you have “Checkdown Matty”….

realitycheck

August 30th, 2011
11:55 am

The ball control offense of last year was the main reason that the Falcons were able to hide their defense. If they go no-huddle, then they better score or else that mediocre defense will be out there a whole lot and the results of that won’t be good.

Jax Falcon/Dog Fan

August 30th, 2011
12:23 pm

I understand the desire to get Julio Jones for Matt to throw at, (not necessarily to), but to not acquire any good secondary players via draft or free agency is just beyond my comprehension. We know how weak this unit is, and to count on a stronger pass rush to make them better? Who’s kidding who?

warfalcons

August 30th, 2011
1:18 pm

12 DAYS TO GO!!!!!

Chandler going Deep...

August 30th, 2011
1:29 pm

PICK SIX aint the one.. Mularkey will take the fall for that being so…

Chandler Deep ball was much more accurate too.

Dan Reeves, by far the best coach the Falcons ever had including this one who will be on the Hot Seat next year…

Congrats to #7 for another 100 mill! Talk about redemption? Awesome…

Bird Dawg Country

August 30th, 2011
1:31 pm

Riddle me this Riddler……Yes, no huddle me huddler

John Kimble

August 30th, 2011
2:12 pm

So who is being fired a week before the season starts. Looks like the pitchforks and torches are getting ready for some action.

hbcuclassics

August 30th, 2011
2:14 pm

HBCU Classics 2011 Pre-season
All-Americans

Offense

…QB Stan Jennings, Albany
RB Marcus Wright, Tx South
RB Nic Cooper, WSSU
RB Mike Mayhew, NC A&T
WR Justin Wilson, Del St
WR Marcellos Wilder, Jackson
TE Tony Davis, FVSU
OL Terren Jones, Ala St
OL Sanford Banks, Grambling
OL Kendall Noble, Norfolk
OL Natiel Curry, Bethune
OL Alex Monroe, Bethune
P Ronnie Partridge, Stillman

http://www.hbcuclassics.com

Wink

August 30th, 2011
2:28 pm

The NO HUDDLE should be our base offense. The routes can’t be longer than 10 -15 yards, but an occassional shot down the field. We can get the defense back on its heel and that will allow us to run out of this set as well, because linebackers will be dropping in coverage; not to mention the mismatches we could get with linebackers in coverage. We will limit their substitutions and we can target a guy out of condition, by keeping him on the field tired.

We have to score a lot of points with the defensive secondary we have. Points on the board will make the defense feel good about themselves…maybe more aggressive.

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Steve-O

August 30th, 2011
4:06 pm

Sure is a lot of pissing and moaning around here. Want to go back to the olden days of jailed quarterbacks, Jim Mora, Marion Campbell, and so forth?

Steve-O

August 30th, 2011
4:23 pm

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.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Joe Montana’s career completion % was 63.2
Peyton Manning’s is 64.9%
Dan Marino’s was 59.4%
Troy Aikman’s was 61.5%
John Elway’s was 56.9%
Tom Brady’s is 63.6%
Ben Roethlisberger’s is 63.1%
Brett Favre’s was 62.0%
Matt Ryan’s is 60.8%

So, you clown, based on the above numbers you think that Ryan is not a franchise quarterback?

Steve-O

August 30th, 2011
4:35 pm

John

August 30th, 2011
11:26 am
Trying to mimick the Patroits and Packers but don’t have the system players needed for such a offense. There’s a reason why Mularkey has the reins on Matty Ice, his interceptions went down dramactically when Ice wasn’t allowed to throw down the field last year. Now you have “Checkdown Matty”….

_________________________________________________________________________________

More crap. The Falcons had 3,705 passing yards in 2010 which was 9th in the NFL. Ryan’s INTs dropped from 11 in 2009 to 9 in 2010 but his TD’s increased from 16 to 28. How is this “having the reins” on a player? Ryan averaged 10.38 yards per completion while Drew Brees averaged only 10,31 yards per completion. Some bloggers love to hear their own “expert opinions” even when they are dead wrong.

Tyrone Shulaces

August 30th, 2011
4:47 pm

They should drop that Huddle house defense, you know the one with all that BURNT TOAST in it.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 30th, 2011
4:47 pm

Steve-o You shouldn’t come on here and make sense. It can get you flamed. Falcons fans will never be satisfied. This is the best 3 seasons we have ever had back to back. We have never had this much consistency. We began rebuilding from one of the worst seasons any team has ever had in this league. The Falcons are not just building a team, they are building a quality organization basically from the ground up. This team went through decades of bad ownership, bad management, bad contracts and bad coaching. I don’t know if people don’t remember that or what. We not had success in the playoffs… yet, but at least we have been to the playoffs 2 out of 3 years. I think even if we win the superbowl, people will find something to whine about here.

SeenThisB4

August 30th, 2011
6:08 pm

The no huddle offenses is purely a gimmick, and it won’t work, especially for an offense that is littered with low brow athletes. Run it falcan’ts! LOL!

hiramsaint

August 30th, 2011
9:29 pm

@ ken strickland – the entire planet is waiting to hear from you as to why the failcans play has been less than exemplory as of late!

hiramsaint

August 30th, 2011
10:07 pm

where’yat seen – i’ll be in town on thurs and at the titans game that night… WD!!!

SeenThisB4

August 30th, 2011
10:22 pm

Bring a SCBA, some falcan’t fans set the marsh on fire last week, and it got out of control. The smoke has blanketed the entire south shore from the wrigeleys all the way to Houma. It’s almost as bad as the air in the Georgia Dome when the falcan’ts and the can’thers play each other.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 31st, 2011
1:14 am

Big Dude – I don’t think you’re blocked. I just probably deleted that.

Lesa

August 31st, 2011
8:29 am

Steve-O, thanks for your comment. It’s refreshing to read a factual, reasonable comment on an AJC Falcons blog. Re. the no-huddle offense, I love it and hope the Falcons use it more often. It can really change the pace of the game to our advantage. It shouldn’t be used exclusively, but is a great change up. I am eager to see the playbook opened up this year. The Falcons have too much offensive talent to play conservative — I’d love to see them blow out teams the way the Patriots did a few seasons ago. RISE UP FALCONS!!!!!!!

Steve-O

August 31st, 2011
10:47 am

John

August 30th, 2011
11:26 am
Trying to mimick the Patroits and Packers but don’t have the system players needed for such a offense. There’s a reason why Mularkey has the reins on Matty Ice, his interceptions went down dramactically when Ice wasn’t allowed to throw down the field last year. Now you have “Checkdown Matty”….

________________________________________________________________________

More crap. The Falcons had 3,705 passing yards in 2010 which was 9th in the NFL. Ryan’s INTs dropped from 11 in 2009 to 9 in 2010 but his TD’s increased from 16 to 28. How is this “having the reins” on a player? Ryan averaged 10.38 yards per completion while Drew Brees averaged only 10.31 yards per completion. Some bloggers love to hear their own “expert opinions” even when they are dead wrong.

hiramsaint

August 31st, 2011
9:01 pm

the patriots???????????? you do know that you’re talking about the failcans don’t you?