Atlanta Falcons: White set to do less in diversified attack

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White talking to the media after OTAs on Tuesday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White talking to the media after OTAs on Tuesday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH — In order for the Falcons’ offense to soar under new coordinator Dirk Koetter, Pro Bowl wide receiver Roddy White figures that he must do less.

“I know that sounds crazy, but we’ve got other guys out there that can play,” White said. “Julio [Jones] is going to be a big part of the offense this year. Harry [Douglas] is going to do wonders in the slot. We have to maximize our talent and get the ball in everyone’s hands.”

White, a three-time Pro Bowler, has been the most productive wide receiver in the NFL over the past two seasons in terms of receptions. He led the NFL with 115 catches in 2010 and was second with 100 in 2011.

White, who’s set to enter his eighth season, became the eighth player in NFL history with five consecutive seasons with at least 80 catches and 1,000 yards receiving in 2011. He also led the league with 15 dropped passes in 2011.

For the offense — which was ranked 10th in the league last season (376.6 yards per game) — to be more prolific under Koetter, White figures they must diversify.

Under former coordinator Mike Mularkey, who left to become Jacksonville’s head coach, the offense leaned heavily on White and running back Michael Turner.

The unit tested some of the new concepts against the team’s defense in non-contact organized team activities Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“We switched some things up,” White said. “We are doing the things [Koetter] likes to do. He’s a smart guy, and he knows what we do best.”

Koetter is tailoring the offense to fit his players’ skills.

“[Koetter’s] been watching film, and he knows how to get the ball into our hands,” White said. “He wants to get it to us quick, make people miss and then get after guys like that.”

Koetter has been an early hit in the locker room.

“He’s a lot calmer and relaxed guy,” White said. “But he’s intense on the football field. He does a lot of talking to us back there in the huddle, and he’s a funny guy. He tells jokes and things to keep everybody loose. We need a guy like that around here.”

White said you can expect to see more five-receiver formations from the Falcons under Koetter.

“There will be a lot of wide receivers out there, tight ends and things like that,” White said. “We’re going to try to get the ball to the backs in the screen game. We are going to try to get it in everybody’s hands.”

Turner has more than 300 carries in three of the past four seasons. Smith has stated that Turner’s carries will be more closely monitored in the new attack.

“[Koetter] wants to throw the ball more this year,” White said. “We still have Michael Turner and he’s a great running back, but we have so many weapons at the skill positions. We’ve got to find a way to get everybody the ball and keep everybody happy.”

White is not the only one with high expectations for Jones in the new attack.

“He’s just going to continue to get better and better,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “I thought he had a great season last year, and we anticipate the maturation process to continue.”

With the more diversified attack, teams will no longer key on White and Turner to stifle the offense. The new approach could lead to more big plays in the vertical passing attack.

The Falcons had 67 plays (11 runs, 56 passes) that gained 20 yards or more, which ranked tied for 13th in the league last season. Carolina led the league with 90 explosive plays.

“We missed like 15 of them,” White said.

White has noticed that quarterback Matt Ryan’s passes have a little bit more zip on them after a ramped-up offseason weight lifting and conditioning program.

“He throws it a little bit harder than he did last year,” White said. “He’s done a lot in the offseason, he’s been working out since February, so there really wasn’t a break for him.”

The offense likely needed some sprucing up. The unit, with five former or current Pro Bowlers, was blanked by the New York Giants’ rugged defense in the 24-2 wild-card playoff loss Jan. 8. The defense scored the lone points on a safety.

For Ryan, the goal of the new offense is simple.

“We’ve done some good things, but we really haven’t been great at anything,” Ryan said. “We’ve got to strive to be great at everything we do.”

Koetter’s offense, which featured a rookie quarterback and a porous receiving corps, was ranked 32nd (259.3 yards per game) in the league last season. Smith and Koetter were the coordinators in Jacksonville for the 2007 season.

“Dirk is going to be able to put his spin on the offense,” Smith said.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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102 comments Add your comment

don

June 3rd, 2012
6:12 pm

I coulda done without reading Koetter’s offense ranked 32nd last year….

Bird 4 life

June 3rd, 2012
6:29 pm

Words cant describe how freakin excited I am….. ” teams will no longer key in on white and turner to stifle their attack”!!!!! Dam right. not with Julio and HD handin out HAM SAMICHES (good one right)

James

June 3rd, 2012
6:36 pm

8-8 and obviously no playoffs. I feel the same way about the future of this team (or lack thereof) as I did after that inexcusable, indefensible 2 point performance against New York. Why should I have reason to believe any differently?

Mike is back

June 3rd, 2012
6:46 pm

Dled, great to see White embrace the new approach of the OC…really excited about this upcoming season for the BIRDS.

ezzy

June 3rd, 2012
6:49 pm

JAMES is fan like you i hate give up on a team after a few lows. WE COULD BE LIKE THE RAMS, BROWNS, BILLS, JAGS….. YOU’LL LIKE THAT RIGHT

SeenThisB4

June 3rd, 2012
7:12 pm

This has the same futile theme as last year’s claims of a diversified offensive attack that exploded for two points in the playoffs – oh wait, that’s right, that was the defense!

Jack Box

June 3rd, 2012
7:48 pm

James, with fans like you – who needs enemies?

Jack Box

June 3rd, 2012
7:50 pm

SeenThisB4, why would you waste your time reading DLed’s blog, if you are so incredibly down on the Falcons?

Gasman

June 3rd, 2012
7:56 pm

The Falcons will continue on their path of mediocrity for at least another season. Couple of things to remember Tim Tebow has won more playoff games than Matt Ryan, and I could have lined up under center and just by farting gained those six inches for the first down. SeenthisB4, you the man. I like your comments, keep them coming.

Rev Blake

June 3rd, 2012
8:07 pm

Peyton Manning won his first playoff game after his seventh (that’s 7th)playoff appearance.

tjhook

June 3rd, 2012
8:10 pm

The talent is there- the team just needs to be diversified on offense and inspired on defense

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

chem

June 3rd, 2012
8:36 pm

If they lose a couple in a row, expect Roddy to cry for more touches.

GT Alum

June 3rd, 2012
8:36 pm

don – Well, you can take some comfort in the fact that he has a LOT better tools to work with here in ATL than he did in JAX.

Greg

June 3rd, 2012
8:45 pm

Is anybody else tired of hearing about the “current or former” Pro-Bowlers? Please. Just stop this nonsense. We’re as good as we are right now. Period. Let’s begin with honesty. Recognizing that is how you can begin to get better.

Darius

June 3rd, 2012
9:15 pm

This year is our year if our o line protests and we eliminate dropped passes we can atleast get 1 playoff win guaranteed …..RISE UP 2012

HandsOfStone

June 3rd, 2012
9:56 pm

Fantastic to hear about less Roddie White, catcher of fantastic passes and dropper of easy catches for big yards. Now if he could be muted … agh that would be asking to much … now if we get Matty detoxed from check off passes and maybe down under 5 seconds in delivery … now that would be a sight to see’!

SeenThisB4

June 3rd, 2012
10:00 pm

James

June 3rd, 2012
6:36 pm
8-8 and obviously no playoffs. I feel the same way about the future of this team (or lack thereof) as I did after that inexcusable, indefensible 2 point performance against New York. Why should I have reason to believe any differently?

Gasman

June 3rd, 2012
7:56 pm
The Falcons will continue on their path of mediocrity for at least another season. Couple of things to remember Tim Tebow has won more playoff games than Matt Ryan, and I could have lined up under center and just by farting gained those six inches for the first down. SeenthisB4, you the man. I like your comments, keep them coming.

Ok, so I like to pat myself on the back.

SeenThisB4

June 3rd, 2012
10:02 pm

I am sorry I cannot come up with better handles………….how bout an Avatar!!

[...] and 1,000 yards receiving in 2011. He also led the league with 15 dropped passes in 2011. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution   [...]

Bird 4 life

June 3rd, 2012
11:10 pm

you guys are true turds!! lol all we were missing was better coaching/coordinators and we have a top 3 defensive coordinator and a offensive coordinator that comes with a voucher from Andy Reid!! How can you not be optimistic??? And you guys must not know seenthisB4 is a New Orlean native -_-

BIRDSFLYHIGH

June 3rd, 2012
11:14 pm

I swear that we have the worse fans in the world!!!! All some of you on here do is whin & B***h!!!! If you are a real Falcons fan, knock the bs off & support your team!

dawgforlife

June 3rd, 2012
11:40 pm

stb4=Saints fan nuff said

[...] Atlanta Falcons This entry was posted in Atlanta Falcons and tagged Atlanta, attack, diversified, Falcons, less, White. Bookmark the permalink. ← Buffalo Bills hold their breath on Ryan Fitzpatrick [...]

FalconJim

June 4th, 2012
1:30 am

Well, sometimes less is MORE. And maybe this year for White, it’ll be more about quality, than quantity.

Stay tuned…

[...] White was quoted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter as saying he needs to take a smaller role: “I know that sounds crazy, but we’ve got other guys out there that can play,” White said. “Julio [Jones] is going to be a big part of the offense this year. Harry [Douglas] is going to do wonders in the slot. We have to maximize our talent and get the ball in everyone’s hands.” [...]

[...] Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution [...]

just sayin'

June 4th, 2012
6:47 am

what else is ‘rodney’ gonna say now…wait till the only passes that come his way are the ‘dinks’ over the middle…what will he say then?…can’t wait….

just sayin'

June 4th, 2012
6:47 am

oh, wait…those ‘over the middle dinks’ are for TG….now what?

Frontman

June 4th, 2012
7:40 am

Don’t know if I would want to play “hard” for a coach named Dirk Koetter, jerry…

Jimmy Crack

June 4th, 2012
7:58 am

As far as Koetter’s offensive ranking last year, two reasons…Blaine Gabbert plus ZERO receivers worth a crap. If it wasn’t for MJD the Jags would have been 32nd in rushing and passing. The very presence of MJD was the only reason Gabbert didn’t play much worse.

RobbE33

June 4th, 2012
8:11 am

I’m optimistic but realize that so many stars must align to have post season success. I like the way the organization is taking a systematic approach and hope that health, intelligence and a little luck is ours come January.

Bud

June 4th, 2012
8:35 am

Born and raised in Atlanta, never loosing hope. Everyone bashed the braves, then look what happened in the 90s. Don’t like our teams then move, less people for me to talk junk to when I go to the games and cheer them on rain or shine.

Redcoat

June 4th, 2012
8:43 am

Less = More!

Mikey

June 4th, 2012
8:53 am

This is music to my ears! This is exactly what needs to be done with this offense. It is stacked with talent and has great capability. Its just that when you run plays that are doomed from the snap, it doesn’t look too good. We did a LOT of that last year, especially in the playoffs.

We have one of the best QBs in the NFL with elite receivers all over the field. We just need to get them involved in the offense. We saw some of that last year when Ryan was calling the hurry-up offense. Unfortunately, that wasn’t used much in the playoffs. If I could do one additional thing in the off-season, it would be to teach Michael Turner to catch a football. That is the one missing ingredient on this offense. I am very optimistic about the coming year and think they are really on the right track. GO FALCONS! RISE UP!

Falcon James

June 4th, 2012
9:19 am

My hope is that the Falcon get no respect from the media at all. I think this will drive the Falcon to dish out a lot of punishment and will give them something to prove. The Falcon always to better as the underdog. They need to play with a chip on the shoulder and play some smack mouth football. Make the critics say “We never saw this one coming”. Every Falcon fan know what kind of team we got. I want this to be the best kept secret until opening day. They isn’t one team out there that got the kind of power, depth and wepons that this team got. This is the Falcon year.

Section 322

June 4th, 2012
9:33 am

I’ve heard some of this before. It’s up to Mike Smith to change to offense. You can’t blame everything on the coordinator!!! He allowed Mularkey to run that scheme for too long without stepping in.

SeenThisB4

June 4th, 2012
9:37 am

The falcan’ts won’t get any respect from the news media and why should they? They have never demonstrated any reason they should get respected, in fact, they only thing they have accomplished is generate reasons being the object of ridicule and cynicism.
If there is any team in this division that will be playing this year with a chip on their shoulders and playing smash mouth football, it is the current defending division champions;they will be defiant, and they will win.

Falcon4life

June 4th, 2012
9:44 am

SeenThisB4 is just another Saints troll with nothing to spew but pure drivel and weak a$$ homerisms. Good luck with this upcoming season, its going to be fun to watch you fools cry and moan.

SawThat1nce

June 4th, 2012
9:49 am

Yeah, but what about the OLine?
I hope that they fixed it.

SawThat1nce

June 4th, 2012
9:55 am

btw, the dirty-saints are an organization of thugs, from the owner down to the towel boy.

I bet Drew Brees is proud to be a member of their club. Do you think?

It is shameful that the NFL Commissioner let them off so easy, with such weak punishments.

Falcon James

June 4th, 2012
10:02 am

The current division champion will be about as relevant as a knat on elephant dung. And seriously, does anybody really care what a no life, useless piece of flesh Saint fan has to say on Falcon Blog? The Saint fan need to take that crazy talk somewhere else. It old, repetitive, nagging, boring, and down right ignorant. Much like they wife and entire team.

hiramsaint

June 4th, 2012
10:07 am

@SeenThisB4

is the current defending division champions;they will be defiant, and they will win.

they will win some games but I am certain they will finish 3rd in the nfc south, try to remain positive during the course of the humiliation

SeenThisB4

June 4th, 2012
10:09 am

We are sure gonna miss Carl Nicks. If we ever get Brees signed he is going to spend a lot of time on his backside.

Nut

June 4th, 2012
10:20 am

Offense should be better this year based on young guys gaining exp alone then add in quality coaching and it should be big things. But im more excited about defense replacing that bum lofton with tatupu will do wonders, edwards should be ready this year and samuels in the d backfeild will keep robinson from being such a liability.

[...] Roddy White said that he expects a reduced role this year with the young and quickly emerging Julio Jones targeted more often under Dirk Koetter’s new offense, and he’s OK with that. [Atlanta Journal Constitution] [...]

PMC

June 4th, 2012
10:33 am

Same thing happened with John Abraham and he got better.

It makes all the sense in the world really. Forcing the ball to Roddy because he was the only viable option is part of the reason for the offenses futility.

[...] For the Falcons to succeed in 2012, the offense must spread the ball around more. According to Roddy White, that means touching the ball less. [...]

Saints=Dung

June 4th, 2012
10:39 am

The Saints could easily travel down the Colts path last year. Can you spell i-m-p-l-o-d-e?

[...] For the Falcons to succeed in 2012, the offense must spread the ball around more. According to Roddy White, that means touching the ball less. [...]