Atlanta Falcons: Improving red-zone offense could add killer instinct

CMGd Single Player – AJC


FLOWERY BRANCH — All of the key players on the Falcons’ offense, from quarterback Matt Ryan to rookie right guard Peter Konz, believe the key to this season could be tied to scoring more touchdowns when they crash through the opponent’s 20-yard line.

The area is commonly known as the red zone. Some teams have dubbed it the “green zone” because that’s where money is made if touchdowns are scored, especially in the playoffs.

The Falcons, despite ranking 11th in the NFL in red-zone touchdown efficiency, at 56.4 percent, want to climb higher among the league leaders.

Several NFC teams and possible playoff opponents score at a higher clip in the red zone, including top-ranked New Orleans (71.4), Green Bay (67.8), Tampa Bay (66.6) and San Francisco (61.54). Also, Carolina (62.5) and Detroit (61.7) are scoring touchdowns at a higher rate than the Falcons in the red zone.

Last season, the Falcons scored touchdowns on 51.67 percent of their trips to the red zone.

“We want the touchdown percentage up higher,” running back Michael Turner said. “We need to score touchdowns, especially against these offenses that we are going to play. We have to put up points.”

The Falcons had an epic red-zone failure Sunday against New Orleans, when they couldn’t score after driving the ball to the 1-yard line with 1:56 left to play in the game, which they lost 31-27.

But Turner believes that the Falcons having to settle for a field goal on their second possession was key, too. Instead of a touchdown, Matt Bryant booted a 37-yard field goal after Turner was stopped for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-1, foreshadowing how dialed in the Saints were to the Falcons’ short-yardage run game.

Scoring more touchdowns will help the Falcons finish off teams and break their spirit. It’s the key to the team developing a killer instinct, a vital trait of championship-level teams.

Because of red-zone woes, the Falcons went down to the wire in victories over Carolina, Oakland and Dallas. They were 1-of-4 against Carolina, 1-of-2 against Oakland and 1-of-4 against Dallas on their red-zone trips.

“(Scoring touchdowns) breaks teams, and it puts them away a little bit,” Turner said. “When they hold you to a field goal they get a little energy.”

After dropping their first game last week in a thriller to the Saints, the Falcons have probably over-analyzed things.

“It probably would have been a different ballgame if we went up 14 instead of 10,” Turner said. “But you never know, it’s hindsight now. We just have to take care of the football and get in the end zone.”

Through nine games, the Falcons have improved over last season.

“We just have to execute a little bit better,” tight end Tony Gonzalez said. “When the play is called, we have to go out there as players and make sure it happens. We have a good scheme. But give defenses credit. We have to keep tweaking it and keep working on it.”

Several things have happened to stop the Falcons in the red zone. The biggest impediment has been the short-yardage rushing attack, but on the final play of the game against the Saints, Roddy White was open, but Ryan didn’t have enough time to throw a pass in front of White.

“If it’s not 100 percent, we know that we can improve,” Gonzalez said. “Obviously, we needed it last week, and we couldn’t get it done. It’s going to come up again, and hopefully we’ll be able to score when we have to.”

With White, Gonzalez and Julio Jones, the Falcons have weapons who are tough to defend. Against the Saints, the Falcons tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to offensive lineman Mike Johnson, who lined up as a tight end, so they do get creative at times.

“For the last two or three weeks we’ve been struggling down there,” White said.

Over the past three games, the Falcons have converted on only 42.8 percent of their red-zone trips.

“That’s been a big concern for us,” White said. “We’ve got to get a whole lot better in that area of the field. That’s an area where we are supposed to excel.”
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31 comments Add your comment

Dennis

November 17th, 2012
1:24 pm

The coaching staff has to have the killer instinct first. They don’t. When they get a 10 point lead, they go into what I call the prevent offense and lay back trying to protect that smallest of leads.

JayCool4DaBirds

November 17th, 2012
1:25 pm

Amen Dennis!!!!!!!

JayCool4DaBirds

November 17th, 2012
1:33 pm

And don’t get me started on the O-Line and that horrid blocking they’ve been getting away with. Last year it was Baker but this year it’s definitely the right side.

hiramsaint

November 17th, 2012
1:43 pm

tny g needs lipo on those skin flaps at the bottom of his face

Agent009

November 17th, 2012
3:42 pm

Is there a “jumbo package” on offense to employ on crucial short yardage plays?

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

Whadda Ya Know?

November 17th, 2012
7:43 pm

1. You have a weak OL
2. Play calling is predictable in the red zone
3. Turner is NOT Jerome Bettis AND OL again is not Steeler type OL as Smitty is delusional about
4. Spread defenses out and let Rodgers take it off tackle. Please leave the middle alone. McClure is a old, weak has-been
5. Gonzalez says they just have to execute better. Man please. Those plays are garbage to begin with and don’t put you all in a position to truly score
6. Try scoring from outside the red zone if the field is getting smaller and defenses have your number with Turner.
7. Finally…Smitty stay the he11 out of the play calling. That game against the Aints last week had YOU written all over it on offense and defense. Stop with your Turner love fest.

Whadda Ya Know?

November 17th, 2012
7:44 pm

They’d better get some killer instincts on both sides of the ball with this schedule coming up. Willie Mo and Decoud, I see you two are lost again. Stop with the air tackles, knock the ish outta the opponent and for God sake wrap them up!!!

Whadda Ya Know?

November 17th, 2012
7:47 pm

Dennis the culprit would be old conservative, gentleman Jack Smitty. He’s the epitome of conservativeness. Notice how the better teams HCs are very aggressive? Smitty had better change or get gone! I don’t wanna hear about no d@mn winningest coach in Falcon history. That just tells you how terrible all the others that came before him were.

techduck

November 18th, 2012
12:29 am

coulden ,shoulden,woulden. FALCONS are losers anyway.Your still a player on OF and 2 on DF from being a contender.

techduck

November 18th, 2012
12:39 am

remember fans, you paying a player over $100:000:00 a game to try and i did say try to get a yard (36 inches)and only get 12 inches own 3 rd down and then guess what ?thats right punt.Thats alot of money 100;000;00 for 1 game for someone that cant get 6 inches when you need 7 inches.

techduck

November 18th, 2012
12:41 am

laughing stock of NFL— ATLANTA FALCONS

techduck

November 18th, 2012
12:42 am

where the H is the pass rush at ?

techduck

November 18th, 2012
12:47 am

Stupid Stupid falcons,Thats why you dont get respect and want this year.Yall cant play with the BIG BOYS.You have know Heart.

[...] Atlanta Falcons This entry was posted in Atlanta Falcons and tagged Atlanta, could, Falcons, improving, instinct, killer, offense, redzone. Bookmark the permalink. ← Cowboys’ Rob Ryan ready for Cleveland reunion (The Associated Press) [...]

Me Too

November 18th, 2012
9:48 am

Whadda Ya Know?

You are absolutely right on every point. The Falcons think they have to crawl into the end zone and it is not the players but Smitty who is conservative.

meme

November 18th, 2012
11:00 am

STUPID STUPID “tech?”duck, last blog two lines, one incorrect sentence, one misspelled word, TWO LINES. you must have been sick a lot in the third grade, your last year of school. almost as bad as dol

Falcon James

November 18th, 2012
12:27 pm

Certainly the Coach and staff see that we cannot get a one yard run. It don’t make since that we we can get 4 or 5 yards on a screen, slant or quick out and don’t call that at least once when we have 4 tries to make it to the end zone. Everybody, except the Coaches apparently, know that the 1 yard up the gut play should be pulled from the playbook until we get MT and the OL straightened out.

8-1

November 18th, 2012
12:44 pm

Is it just me but teams that I don’t like I NEVER go to their blog sites (tech duck ) im just saying

Dennis

November 18th, 2012
12:46 pm

techduck, November 18th, 2012, 12:29 am:

> coulden ,shoulden,woulden.

What language is that? Even cajuns get the words right, even if they screw up the order.

> Your (sic) still a player on OF and 2 on DF from being a contender.

* You’re

meme

November 18th, 2012
2:38 pm

Enter your comments here

meme

November 18th, 2012
2:38 pm

if dol lets ya

goFalcons

November 18th, 2012
2:49 pm

Time to put the beat down on the cards……..

meme

November 18th, 2012
2:50 pm

goFalcons

November 18th, 2012
3:18 pm

Terrible start

Dogmatic meme

November 18th, 2012
5:03 pm

Dogmatic meme

November 18th, 2012
5:05 pm

saint lovers

WTF???

November 18th, 2012
7:01 pm

Michael Turner = DONE!

Whadda Ya Know?

November 18th, 2012
8:22 pm

We played a tough defense that knows how to get after the QB, disrupt his timing, and bat balls down all day. But d@mn if the OC did not do a thing to help Ryan out today. Roll him outta the pocket on bootlegs, throw more screens, go deeper down the middle of the field. Anything besides letting these guys go through a tip drill today for interceptions all day. Where’s the creativity on offense? The defense stepped up (again only in 2nd half) and was fortunate Fitzgerald didn’t hold the ball through the catch. This team had better grow some real balls fast instead of the green peas they carry into each game. They’re full of fluff…to damn soft to play with physical teams. That’s why NO beats them up.

B'Red

November 18th, 2012
8:24 pm

Michael Turner is still not the answer to our running game or short yardage situation.

Mike Hoggatt

November 20th, 2012
8:02 pm

Are there any running backs available. If Mike smith is evaluating the players he has got to see that Michael Turner is worn out. I say bench him and use quizz and atoine and snelling. It cant be any worse.