Mike Mularkey: Falcons won’t force deep passes

 

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) fires a pass against the Chicago Bears in the second half. He's been ordered not to force the deep ball. AP

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) fires a pass against the Chicago Bears in the second half. He's been ordered not to force the deep ball. AP

FLOWERY BRANCH — Fox analyst Jimmy Johnson, in a column on foxsports.com, called for the Falcons to open up their offensive attack.

“I don’t think the Falcons can keep throwing the ball underneath like they did against the Bears and expect to win in the long run,” Johnson wrote. “They have to find a way to get Roddy White deep and find more ways to create something big.”

The Falcons also made a big 5-for-1 draft-day trade to move up 21 spots to draft the fleet Julio Jones with the hopes of adding more explosive plays to the offense. In the 30-12 defeat against the Chicago Bears, the Falcons did not challenge the Bears

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.

 cover-two zone defense deep down the field.

The tried to attack by throwing underneath. The Falcons were hoping their receivers could take the short passes and then beat defenders up the field. The Bears did a good job of tackling and keeping the Falcons in front of them.

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey defended his attack. He clearly doesn’t want quarterback Matt Ryan forcing the ball into coverage.

Falcons offensive coordiantor Mike Mularkey and quarterback Matt Ryan opened the game against the Bears in the no-huddle attack. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).

Falcons offensive coordiantor Mike Mularkey and quarterback Matt Ryan opened the game against the Bears in the no-huddle attack. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).

“I don’t know what that means,” Mularkey said when asked if the offense could be more aggressive. “When they’ve got guys down there and they are taking away the deep ball; you throw it underneath. You can force it down there and turn the ball over more possibly; which we obviously don’t want to do.”

Mularkey did say he was surprised about the number of check-down passes that Ryan threw.

“There were a number of times where we tried to get the ball deep, but that’s Tampa-2,” Mularkey said. “That’s the scheme of things and that’s probably the most check downs that I can remember that I’ve ever been involved with.”

Mularkey thought running back Michael Turner, who caught three passes for 40 yards did a job when he was the check-down receiver.

The Falcons are going to remain selective when throwing deep passes.

“We are trying to get them down there, but we are not going to force the issue,” Mularkey said.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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174 comments Add your comment

SeenThisB4

September 14th, 2011
7:05 am

Only way eagles don’t win this week is if M. # I c K goes down.

@king_of_peons

September 14th, 2011
7:10 am

Expect a loss but wish we could get this monkey off our back. BTW we are the only fans who can say “that’s a bunch of Mularkey” and mean it.

Concerned Fan

September 14th, 2011
7:10 am

Who is designing the middle/deep routes? Either poorly conceived or poorly executed (in the cases of White and Jones, got to give them a chance with better routes). We’ve got some of the most capable receivers, need to send them for the kill, not for a 10 yard gain.

gadawgs

September 14th, 2011
7:10 am

Mike..you are full of Mularkey. Just tell every team on our schedule that we WON’T force it deep. That way they can all play Tampa 2 and do the exact same thing Chicago did to us. You have to take chances to be explosive.

Yo mama

September 14th, 2011
7:40 am

DOL, please for the love of god copy edit your material. Your mistakes are carrying over into the falcons play. C’mon man it’s your job to get it right. Read it out loud! You will find your mistakes are rampant. This is not Twitter or FB! You get paid to do this brother. It’s really annoying that don’t seem to care or do anything about. Get snappy!

Ease

September 14th, 2011
7:43 am

If the season goes awry, here is the beginning of the blame…

“I don’t know what that means,” Mularkey said when asked if the offense could be more aggressive.

Michael M.

September 14th, 2011
7:43 am

Thats the Gameplan, you tell one thing and do the complete opposite, they better play Hayden and Sanders in that game whether they feel like they ready or not simply because it don’t take much to replace what they already have. I thought Ryans head came off Sunday when he got hit over at the sidelines trying to run for a play. If he gets hurt then they are done because they have not got a QB better than him. Why on Earth did they let Matt go to Houston Texans, they never really gave him a chance, grrrrrrrrr!

Ease

September 14th, 2011
7:45 am

Mularkey thought running back Michael Turner, who caught three passes for 40 yards did a job when he was the check-down receiver.

How cool is it that Turner has a job, and did it!

I usually just read but....

September 14th, 2011
7:50 am

News Flash, Mularkey. Unconverted 3rd downs turn the ball over also. I can’t decide if our punter’s booming kicks or an interception would leave us with a better position. For me, I think force it a little if that’s all you got!!

jrh1971

September 14th, 2011
7:51 am

#firemikemularkey….Ease has it correct above in reposting the “I don’t know what that means” quote. This guy has NO CLUE. This season is going to be 8-8 at best because of Mularkey’s offense. And unfortunately, it’s too late to do anything about it.

MonkDaddy

September 14th, 2011
7:53 am

It looked like he Ryan was running for his life more than usual. Got to fix the O line….. and grow a pair. Throw it dowin field….. It’s not THAT complicated Mularkey

MonkDaddy

September 14th, 2011
7:56 am

And how about stopping them on the occasional third and long? Are we really having conversations about TACKLING in team meetings? Does that come before or after the conversation about breathing? Some things should be natural at this level.

Shady

September 14th, 2011
8:01 am

Mularkey is in denial, we got out played, out coached and Ryan looked like Joey Harrington out there.

Mikefalcon63

September 14th, 2011
8:08 am

Ryan looked like Joey Harrington for sure. Mularkey has to go if he is afraid to let our athletes challenge deep coverage. He is holding Ryan back for sure. Peyton Manning is not scared to challenge coverage. Teams pick a part our deep zones, but we are scared to pick others a part?

Greg Moundine

September 14th, 2011
8:11 am

I agree with Coach Mularkey. The problem was with the O line. When four D linemen can put pressure on a team and then be allowed to drop seven in coverage then any QB will have a problem and have to check-down. If Ryan would have had a lot of interceptions throwing deep against seven, then people would have had a problem with that.

ATL needs to fix the O line problem, run more screens (because Philly will), use the edge more, and use two tight ends to block to prevent pressure.

Jay Cool 4daBirds

September 14th, 2011
8:15 am

47 yds on 9 carries add the 53 yds on 1 carry =100 yds on 10carries sounds like Turner should’ve gotten the ball more.

HJones

September 14th, 2011
8:15 am

It is as suspected! Mike Mularkey doesn’t have a single CLUE! We heard it from the HORSES MOUTH. If he doesn’t know what aggressive means, he needs to be replaced.

Jay Cool 4daBirds

September 14th, 2011
8:17 am

The O-Line didn’t play their best but it wasn’t their worst. But if we show 5WR sets then duhh who isn’t going to drop 7 into coverage and dare Ryan to throw.

JSS

September 14th, 2011
8:18 am

“That’s the scheme of things and that’s probably the most check downs that I can remember that I’ve ever been involved with.”
– Mike Mularkey –

I still haven’t stopped laughing yet! He’s not holding Ryan back, he’s not the one checking down. Matt Ryan needs to stop being Employee Z from ACME and actually lead. He stands over the line and sees the defense. I thought he was this great student and film study prodigy. Does he not know his playbook and know how to audible to another play when he’s not in the 2-min or hurry-up?

punjabiinatl

September 14th, 2011
8:20 am

can mike smith handle def. duty, bring someone from greenbay to run new off. !

HJones

September 14th, 2011
8:20 am

On NFL Network, the Chicago Bears was the ONLY team in WEEK1 to prevent opponent from scoring OFFENSIVE touchdown.

That means the ATLANTA FALCONS were the only team not to score an offensive touchdown out of 32 teams.

Greg Moundine

September 14th, 2011
8:24 am

@Jay Cool 4daBirds, I agree to a point. But if they are getting to our QB with four and we would have shown 5 WR, then that would have made it easier for them because they were getting to us when we had the blockers in.

I think I think

September 14th, 2011
8:29 am

It’s Matt Ryan folks!!! Mularkey just stated that he was calling for the deep passes and Ryan was checking down!!! We can’t blame the coaching staff for player shortcomings just because we LIKE this particular player!!! Geesh!!!

I think I think

September 14th, 2011
8:30 am

Mularkey was SUPRISED by the number of checkdowns by Ryan!!!

Gumbo

September 14th, 2011
8:30 am

When Michael Jordan was at UNC, people said the only one that could hold him under 30 pts was Dean Smith (his coach for you youngsters).. The only one who can hold this offense under 30 is Mike Mularkey. What an awful game from an awful coach. Its like driving a corvette 25 miles an hour.

SCFalcon

September 14th, 2011
8:34 am

Calling Jeff Jagodzinski!

MGD

September 14th, 2011
8:38 am

Shouldn’t the team be training, and training hard instead of having fun with the firefighters? Who makes their schedule? I could do better for the millions they make. Mr Blank, any openings?

tyron shustrings

September 14th, 2011
8:40 am

Jay Cool 4daBirds

September 14th, 2011
8:17 am
The O-Line didn’t play their best but it wasn’t their worst. But if we show 5WR sets then duhh who isn’t going to drop 7 into coverage and dare Ryan to throw.

1,000,000,000% agree!! For once put the FREAKIN DEFENSE ON THEIR HEELS instead of playing what they give us. Let them play to what we give them!! White, Jones, HD, Weems, and Meire(sp)……one of them will be open.

SealT2

September 14th, 2011
8:49 am

QUOTE: The Falcons are going to remain selective when throwing deep passes.

“We are trying to get them down there, but we are not going to force the issue,” Mularkey said.

NO GUTS, NO GLORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Patriots, Packers, Eagles, Ravens forced deep balls and won Week 1. Falcons, played safe and did not come close to winning, COULD IT BE UUUUHHHH COACHING????

lombardi

September 14th, 2011
9:05 am

Mark my words. This coaching staff will never make it to the big dance. That’s the super bowl for all you idiots out there.

Mitch (the one in Rome)

September 14th, 2011
9:06 am

You know, the truth is that if the deep ball is defended, and the Bears were doing that well, then it’s not smart to force it. Bottom line is that turnovers killed us. It was not failing to “throw it deep”. Turnovers. We clean up turnovers and make the picks Cutler threw to our safety, we win, and it’s a different story.

JSS

September 14th, 2011
9:08 am

Typical Falcons fan call to a psychic…
“I see a check down in your future!”

Bear

September 14th, 2011
9:20 am

throw it deep and let Roddy and Jones make a play. They have the hands to go and get it.

joe white

September 14th, 2011
9:24 am

Sounds like we need a new offensive mind if you cant figure out how to get the ball down field and other coachs with half the talent we have get big plays. Time for MM to go as the OC and BV as the DC.

ctfalconsfan

September 14th, 2011
9:30 am

Mike Mularkey:

“I don’t know what that means,” Mularkey said when asked if the offense could be more aggressive.

Is he playing dumb or is he dumb? He doesn’t know what being aggressive means!

DOL u need to flat out ask him how does our hyped-up offense, with all these weapons, now sit at DEAD LAST, 32nd, in offensive TD’s with 0 after 1 game? How is this possible?

RED ZONE 1

September 14th, 2011
9:31 am

Everybody’s coming down on M. Murlarkey, and I’m definitely not defending him either, but he’s not all to blame. If you read between the lines, said that was an unusual amount of check downs (that’s on Mat Ryan), also the OC knows or should know the strengths and weakness of his players. Mat Ryan coming out of college threw a large amount of INT’s (lack of arm strength and deep ball accuracy). Ryan himself shows a lack of confidents in stretching the field as he prefers to take a knee or throw it out of bounds when plays break down versus extending the play by having 1 or 2 of the WR’s break off their routes for something deep, i.e. Ben Roethlisberger.

AJC Should Do Better

September 14th, 2011
9:37 am

You know why the deep ball wasn’t open all day, because the play calling was so predictable. Where was the screen all day, why was Rogers running up the middle on every touch he had, where were the slants, where was the reverse, and why on God’s green earth do you keep running that bootleg, it doesn’t work and Ryan doesn’t like it, the no huddle works go to it more than twice a game. Start out with it and use it the whole game, come up with some better routes for our recievers to run, it’s to vanilla, and the rest of the league has figured it out, that come back route is going to get picked off on 3rd down to many times this year. We need to use the pass to set up the run, because our o line sucks this year, maybe it will get better when Mcclure gets back but right now it is bad. In 4 years I have seen one creative game plan and that was last year when Baltimore came to town, we knew ahead of time that we would not be able to run the ball. Bottom Line Ryan made some mistakes, but the play calling was horrible and put him in a position to make those mistakes. The play calling on offense and defense is holding this team back, and BVG you need to find out how wide recievers can get so open on third and long and fix it, or don’t let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out.

SirReal

September 14th, 2011
9:38 am

This interview confirms my thoughts. For the longest I wondered if it was MM holding Ryan back with his super conservative basic vanilla offense…or what it a noodle-armed qb who is smart but makes dumb decisions sometimes. Now I know its a bit of both. Ryan cant grow bc the coordinator’s lack of creativity and restraint of him and MM cant execute some of his plays b/c of what Ryan does or doesnt do. Seems like their chemistry isnt what it should be for guys who’ve been together FOUR years now. I’m just gonna wait and see what happens.

ctfalconsfan

September 14th, 2011
9:38 am

Hi Red Zone agree with the check downs and that also goes back to the poor OL play we had. If Matt doesn’t have that extra second to look down field because a DL is in his face he is going to have to hurry his decision and just settle on the underneth stuff..

SirReal

September 14th, 2011
9:40 am

Too conservative. Guess that lets me know we’ll be boring and drab once again.

ctfalconsfan

September 14th, 2011
9:43 am

Just thinking here, if a defense is swarming all over the QB and your receivers are going deep wouldn’t that open up the draw play or screen pass?? I don’t think Mularkey has those types of plays???

Angelo

September 14th, 2011
9:44 am

It would not shock me to see the Atlanta Falcons 0-16 this season. Mike Smith needs to step it up and take control of their game planning . Watchout because here comes Carolina!

Da Birds

September 14th, 2011
9:47 am

MULARKEY HAS TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE TD – GET RID OF HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

iceBIRDcold11

September 14th, 2011
9:51 am

Rather have a 50 yard interception than a two yard one. You MUST take shots down the field so you can RUN/PLAY ACTION/PASS……………………….Win a game!

nateslice

September 14th, 2011
9:51 am

i agree they have six five months off a year

Bama Falcon Fan

September 14th, 2011
9:52 am

Agree, Mullarkey is in over his head. I wonder if Smith has the balls to dump him and Van Gordon. We may have another incarnation of Norv Turner as coach.

Snake Doc

September 14th, 2011
9:58 am

Red Zone 1 hit the nail on the head. And that is why this team will never be a Superbowl champion!

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

September 14th, 2011
9:59 am

I totally agree with those who have stated that Mularkey needs to go!!!!! Any OC that would have a play that tries to run Rogers up the middle is outright DUMB!!!! What about a screen pass to get Rogers into open space with the football……..MULARKEY THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE DUDE!!!!!!

No NFL QB will be able to survive the entire season playing behind our offensive line. Sam Baker….I mean really??????

D Money

September 14th, 2011
10:00 am

Ryan is now Check down Charlie. I’ve given up on seeing the deep ball. Though it’s one game Chicago has shown everybody how to play against us. Philly, TB, and Greenbay has that ability. Looks like a 1-4 start to the season with the only win coming in Seattle.

Bob

September 14th, 2011
10:05 am

Chicago was taking away the deep passes and Matt had to dump the ball off on check downs, so why didn’t we bring in J.Rogers and Snelling to make some plsys on check downs. I know Turner had 40 yards receiving, but I thought that is why we drafted J.Rogers for his playmaking abality out of the backfield and on check down passes. I am not sure if he had any catches in the game. Go Falcons and win this Sunday and no one will be remember the Chicago game and everything will be fine and looking up.