Atlanta Falcons: Koetter, Ryan fine with pass protection

Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter applaudes a catch by wide receiver Julio Jones in approval of a well run play in Flowery Branch on Saturday, July 28, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter applaudes a catch by wide receiver Julio Jones in approval of a well run play in Flowery Branch on Saturday, July 28, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and quarterback Matt Ryan have been pleased with the pass protection through the first two exhibition games.

The offensive line’s pass protection is a major concern entering 2012 after they gave up 26 sacks and 84 quarterback hits last season.

“It was definitely better this week in the second game,” Koetter said. “We’ve called over 60 pass plays. We had some pressures and some hurries, but I thought our chips with our [running] backs was really good.”

The Falcons have given up four sacks, all by the reserves. They also gave up five quarterback hits against Baltimore and four against Cincinnati. Ryan has not been sacked when the first-unit has been on the field.

“I think two games into [the exhibition season] I haven’t been hit yet,” Ryan said. “I keep telling them ‘Keep that up and it’s going to be fun year.’”

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32 comments Add your comment


August 20th, 2012
2:04 am

The Burner Turner

August 20th, 2012
6:22 am

Well he may be happy about the O line protecting him but what about the holes as wide as a semi truck that I need to get more than -3 yds a game. I know I can run over bad defense, but I am talking about NE and San Fran type defense. Damn me hungry right now.

I am thinking about putting on some weight to give me more push when they try to knock be back into the backfield.

Breakfast, I just had my appetizer which I snuck in from the meal room. Four eggs, toast, ham, bacon, sausage, green peas. I can eat a quart of green peas at a sitting.

So what does this season mean to me as Miami looms this week ? Well to put it milding, Miami sucks so I should run enough to keep my job at least. I heard they have a buffet in Miami that is top tier.

My hip hurts today and I had to sit in the whirlpool for 3 hours. I had 12 twinkies available so it helped with the healing.

Hey Matty Ice, dont tell anyone but this O line aint your friend son.

When you need them most they will bail.

Good thing we got Julio so we can get some points this year. Yesterday the new punter hit me in the back of the head with the ball on a kick where I was taking up some space. Do it again junior and see where your next chow meal ends up. Harrrruumppp … in my belly .

Did some push ups yesterday but they hurt my back so I stopped.
My belly got in the way of reaching the ground.

Looks like I am second. See ya at chow.

Damn me hungry.

The dinner list came out. Mashed taters and beef. Cant wait.


Michael M.

August 20th, 2012
7:43 am

Andrew Luck look like another great quarterback in the making in that Sunday night game 16-25 175 yds

Falcon James

August 20th, 2012
7:48 am

Let;s hope that the OL keep Ryan clean when it counts.


August 20th, 2012
8:08 am

Enter your comments here

Whadda Ya Know?

August 20th, 2012
8:32 am

Yeah right. That’s some propaganda there for B.S. speak. Pass blocking might be ok, but what about the horrible run blocking? These guys still cannot open holes for quicksand running Turner.


August 20th, 2012
8:43 am

Since when can turd be polished?

Cleveland Ave. Turk

August 20th, 2012
9:01 am

D.led u burning the midnite oil with this story…Gud info though. I cant get excited until late december. Even if we go 16-0 i wont. The regular season is irrelevent…..Playoffs wins baby.


August 20th, 2012
9:15 am

Big year for the passing game but worried that Turner is no longer the right type of back for our offense. We’ll probably see more Jacquizz, but I’m not sure if he can handle the load either. It could be a draft priority for next season. Looking forward to the season, though!

Another Rick

August 20th, 2012
9:26 am

Quizz can handle the load, think Warrick Dunn in his best years! We are on to something here, if Turner wants to be a part he now must fit into what is happening with this offense. I am excited!


August 20th, 2012
9:28 am

Excited to see this offense wide open in week 1 Matt Ryan looked comfortable back there against the Bengals.


August 20th, 2012
9:44 am

D.Led, I honestly have not seen any improvement from Baker. Are there any servicable LT free agents out there? I just don’t understand why we are still sticking with this guy.

pushy lil granny

August 20th, 2012
9:54 am

come on falcons, let’s start the season off right!


August 20th, 2012
10:00 am

Ryan does a great job of getting the ball out too though. The protection has been much better so far than it ever was last season, but that said, it’s nowhere near where it needs to be to get over the hump.

I want to see guys stonewalled and stuck. I want to see defensive guys moving backwards on running plays. I know they are all professionals and everyone gets a paycheck. I know it’s hard, but to get where they expect to get the line has to be a lot more brutish DURING the play not afterward.


August 20th, 2012
10:01 am

Clifton, the Mythbusters proved that they can indeed be polished.


August 20th, 2012
11:12 am

@chucktownfalcon………….I think the improvement we have seen is that they are not calling his name. I think we should worry when they start pointing him out for missing blocks, or getting trucked! As long as they dont recognize him during preseason I think, so far so good. Wont hurt to see whats on the waiver wire but right now, lets give him his do. The best thing about offense lineman is when they dont call your name or when they only call it in introductions.


August 20th, 2012
11:13 am


August 20th, 2012
11:19 am

Guess I need to get my eyes checked cause I saw Ryan running for his life a couple times last game. To his credit Ryan was still sharp completeing 11 of his first 11. I know Asante gambles and will get beat from time to time but other than that Dalton to AJ deep ball the D has looked very good. There were some bad calls by the replacements that kept Cincy drives alive though


August 20th, 2012
12:03 pm

@Cleveland Ave Turk Yep, we gotta get there first and then MAKE SOME NOISE MAN!!lol lol :)
@Chucktown Man, I completely concur. What happened to this “open competition” at the LT spot. In the games I’ve seen, he got worked by Baltimore and only held up slightly better against Cincinnati b/c he had RBs and TEs chip on his side. The guy is garbage and for the life of the team I cant understand what they are seeing beyond wishful thinking.I KNOW there’s a guy out there who could better serve at that spot b/c Baker isn’t the long term solution. We’ll see how he holds up in extensive action Friday. I think we both know that Ryan will get his first sack of the preseason….smh…more than likely from his side.


August 20th, 2012
1:59 pm


the Bills just made a surprise move & cut Shawne Merriman. I wasn’t due to injury, it appears they just had to much $ invested in DE’s with Mark Anderson & Mario Williams ahead of him. Can you poke around & see if there’s any interest in picking him up. If we can get him for a reasonable price it seems like a really worthy investment.


August 20th, 2012
2:30 pm

Chuck, I don’t think baker is near as bad as when he was getting pushed around by Chicago last year, but he is definately not the long term answer and anyone we can pick up at this stage would be just as bad ….a respectful screen game should help the line……hopefully, next season we can get the long term solution we need……


August 20th, 2012
2:35 pm

If we took a chance on Tatupu….why not Merriman? Same situation. ….


August 20th, 2012
2:38 pm

That’s what i say Rick & Shawne Merriman has alot for upside for our needs because we could use him strickly as a situational pass rusher & he’s produced more recently than Lofa. If we could get him for close to the vet min i say go for it!


August 20th, 2012
2:51 pm

The O-Liine is looking much better so far. Reynolds looks much better than he did last season. I’m now wondering if Konz will be able to crack the starting lineup. If he doesn’t, it will still be nice to have the depth that he provides and I’m sure it won’t be long before he is playing. Its so nice to see P. Jerry looking strong again. If his knee has fully recovered, as seems to be the case, he will be a beast for us. We are seeing renewed vigor and lots of depth at D-Line too. Would like to see a little more depth at middle linebacker but we will see of someone emerges. Man, I really liked the Redskins’ third string QB, Kirk Cousins. If they cut him (doubtful), that would be a pick up for our Falcons… GO FALCONS!


August 20th, 2012
3:18 pm

This article is BULL. Did anybody watch the game? He wasn’t hit because he was either immediately rolling out or doing the old “dink and dunk” routine. The defensive line was in his face all night. He has ZERO time to go deep. We need OFFENSIVE LINE players NOW!


August 20th, 2012
3:35 pm

Without PED’s Merriman doesn’t merit being an NFL player.

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

August 20th, 2012
4:02 pm

I agree with the statements made by GameReviewer. Matt Ryan still does not have the amount of time needed to look downfield for the open receiver because of the mediocre offensive line. He has had to rollout several times during preseason because of the pocket breaking down really fast.

Just saying……Sam Baker must have some illicit pictures on somebody which would explain why he is still playing with the first team.


August 20th, 2012
4:43 pm

You people must be playing “Madden”….. “get him”…. “trade him”…if you’re playing poker you don’t show your true hand….this is preseason

T h e Burner Turner

August 20th, 2012
5:42 pm

well they dont let me post here for some reason. I am hungry. Went to breakfast and ate alot. Then it was lunch and I put the feed bag on my head and just melted. I think I am losing weight. I just took off some leg weights and dropped 20 lbs. I cant wait for Miami. They got some killer steak houses there and when I am done it will cost someone hundreds. I like to eat. Well got to go to practise now. Still got some muffins from breakfast. Sometimes I sneak them into the huddle.

El Snipero

August 20th, 2012
7:27 pm

The pass protection was why we kept losing to good teams last season. It’s also why we haven’t been successful in the postseason (one of several reasons, but a big one nonetheless).

So the fact that Ryan hasn’t been running for his life in the preseason (as he was LAST preseason) is nothing but a good sign.

Having said that, a new OC who focuses on Ryan getting the ball out of his hands quicker has made a huge difference. Ryan needed to be coached up in that regard, and we’re already seeing the difference.

Who cares about the run blocking? This team is not, never has been, and never will be a power running team. We simpy had a power running back. That’s his style.

Let me clue some of you folks in on something – teams are winning with power running schemes. The best RBs in the game are successful not because of superior blocking, but because of their own skills and OCs who use those skills to the proper purpose. The best RBs in the NFL right now all hurt you by gashing defenses ….not by running folks over because their OL is blasting you 5+ yards off the ball.

It’s what Arian Foster, Matt Forte, Maurice Jones Drew, Ray Rice, Chris Johnson and others do – they all hit the hole quick, can make you miss, and have speed to gash a defense.

Turner has none of those traits and is slower than he was 2 – 3 years ago. It’s precisely why JaQuizz Rodgers needs to be in the game more in the first 2-3 quarters. It’s why Turner is now strictly a 2nd half RB. He’s good for pounding a defense and controlling the clock AFTER your team has gotten a decent lead.

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August 21st, 2012
12:29 pm

el snipero – you clearly know your stuff. thanks for the post. agree 100%. actually did not remember till you mentioned, ab our Oline struggles in the 2011 preseason.