Atlanta Falcons: Can Koetter Utilize All His Weapons?

No More Excuses for Offense

Koetter's Getting Benefit of Doubt (AJC)

Atlanta Falcons fans have been wondering for a long time whether or not someone can enact an offensive philosophy that can utilize all the weapons at their disposal. Mr. Mularkey had the likes of Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, Michael Turner, and recently Julio Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers, but failed to make any dent on being a legitimate and fierce offense. The hope is that since Mularkey is gone from Atlanta that a new coordinator will take the new Atlanta offense to another level. Whether that actually happens or not is another story.

Tons of Talent

Here’s the facts: Koetter has superb talent on offense. He has Michael Turner, Jason Snelling, and Jacquizz Rodgers at running back, which can be extremely potent if used correctly. Turner can get you tough yards and for all the talk of him slowing down, he still gained over 1,300 yards rushing last year. Rodgers is an superb change-of-pace back who has shown great potential in the pass game. Snelling is a back who can do it all and one of the most underrated players on the entire team.

Koetter Must Find Ways to Get JJ the Ball (AJC)

The Falcons wide receiving corps, particularly the top 3, have the potential to be as good as any in the league. Roddy White’s already made 4 Pro Bowls and is still one of the premiere receivers in the NFL. Julio Jones is no secret anymore and is poised to have a huge year. The greatest wide receiver in history, Jerry Rice, says that Jones is his favorite to have a breakout season. Slot receiver Harry Douglas may could the key to unlock the Falcons true offensive firepower. Sure handed Kerry Meier looks to be sewing up the 4th receiver spot and could be the next Brian Finneran if he can stay healthy. There’s a ton of competition for the 5th spot and whoever gets the nod will have surely earned it.

And then of course there’s the greatest tight end to ever play the game in Tony Gonzalez. New draft pick Bradie Ewing was the best fullback in the draft and can do it all, including running, blocking, and catching. Michael Palmer an excellent #2 tight end. The cupboard is stocked for new coordinator Dirk Koetter. The big question is can he utilize all the talent he has at his disposal?

How Many Touches for Turner?

This will be one of the most interesting aspects of Koetter’s new offense. Mike Mularkey relied exclusively on running Turner up the gut over and over and over and over with little variation or creativity. Those runs would net little to nothing, forcing Matt Ryan into the predictable third and long, with little success most of the times. Turner showed a little bit better agility in the pass game, but no one will confuse him with Ray Rice anytime soon. How many touches will Turner get, what types of runs will he get, and will he feature in the pass game are the biggest questions heading into 2012.

Major or Slight Role for Rodgers?

Many are expecting a big year from Rodgers with a new offense seemingly catered more to his style. Even though his stats won’t blow you away, he netted over 50 carries in Mularkey’s hyper-conservative offense. Although limited, Rodgers hauled 21 receptions and netted a 9 yard average per catch. It’s going to be very intriguing to see exactly how much Rodgers is used and in what capacity. Estimates are varying widely with fans with some thinking he may get up to 50% of all the RB touches, while others think he’ll play a similar role as he did in 2011. This much is certain: Rodgers stands to benefit as much as anyone in Koetter’s new system.

What Role will Snelling Play?

Can Koetter Balance a Crowded Backfield? (AJC)

As mentioned in an earlier post, it will be interesting to see how Snelling fits into the running back picture. The jack-of-all-trades RB was thought by some to possibly takeover at fullback, but the drafting of Bradie Ewing essentially ended that speculation. Will Snelling get a third of the touches or will his role be reduced even further with the advent of Jacquizz Rodgers? No one knows, but it’s great to have Snelling as a Falcon the next 3 years, regardless of his role.

Enough Passes for Roddy?

The 4 time Pro Bowler is still one of the best wide receivers in the game even though he’s over the 30 age limit. White can do it all: short, intermediate, deep routes, run after the catch, and find the endzone. With Julio Jones being more of the deep threat, #84 should have his lay of the land and has gone on record saying how excited he was in Koetter’s new offensive setup. Although Roddy dropped a few passes this year, there’s no reason to think he won’t get that fixed. The big question is whether or not there will be enough balls to go around between White, Jones, Tony Gonzalez, and hopefully, Harry Douglas?

Can Julio Take the Next Step?

Julio Jones is on everybody’s list for potential breakout starts in 2011, and for good reason. The former Alabama product had a fantastic rookie year hauling in 54 balls 959 yards and 8 touchdowns, including some plays that were ready-made for the highlight reel. The unbelievable diving catch against the Colts, the 80 yard afterburner TD also against the Colts, and the TD against the Bucs where he caught the ball, fell down, got back up, and fought off two defenders for a touchdown. All this while missing 3 games (basically 4 since he was injured very early against the Packers). AJ Green may have gone to the Pro Bowl, but Julio’s stats would have easily surpassed Green’s had he not missed almost 4 games. Pressure shouldn’t really be an issue after playing for Nick Saban and having to live up to “the trade” that most of the media completely obsessed over as a rookie. Jerry Rice has picked #11 as his breakout star of 2012. If his rookie year is the standard for Jones, can the former Crimson Tide take the next step? Can Koetter get creative on getting him the ball, likely facing heavy coverage?

Will Harry Douglas Finally Be Utilized?

One of the most frustrating things for Falcons fans the last few years has been the absence of Harry Douglas in the gameplan. The rookie form Jonesboro wowed in 2008 showing excellent ability in getting the ball and gaining yards after catch. Along with being a special teams ace, HD had a bright future and was going to form a lethal trio with Roddy White, then starting receiver Michael Jenkins, and Tony Gonzalez. He of course tore his ACL in training camp in 2009. He would need time to recover in all of 2009 and it was understandable that he may not get a ton of looks in 2010, but his absence last year was simply inexcusable.

Time for HD to Get Utilized (AJC)

As Douglas proved in the Saints game at home, the ability was there as he almost single-handedly led the Falcons to a comeback win. Of course once Jones returned from injury, HD was never heard from again. And therein lies one of Falcons fans biggest complaints with the previous offensive coordinator: he was either unwilling or unable to incorporate more than two receivers at a time. The idea of having Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas, and Tony Gonzalez seemed unstoppable. Unfortunately, Mularkey found a way to get stopped, rather easily at times. Will Douglas finally reach his true potential under Koetter?

Will Players Like Kerry Meier and Antone Smith Get Looks?

Even though Falcons fans are repulsed by their bounty-conducting enemy Saints, they have to admit that their use of all their weapons is pretty outstanding. They find ways to get all their offensive playmakers involved, including all their running backs and receivers. If Kerry Meier can stay healthy, he really can offer a great option as a possession receiver. Whoever wins the 5th receiver spot, such as Kevin Cone, Drew Davis, or James Rodgers, can surely bring a new dimension to the offense as well. Assuming Antone Smith makes the team, his speed would surely be welcomed in a backfield trio that doesn’t possess the homerun threat. Finally, rookie fullback Bradie Ewing can run and catch as well as block. Will Koetter look more like Sean Payton or Mike Mularkey in his use of his entire roster?

Any Chance Tony Gonzalez Gets Minimized?

There were reports when hired that Koetter’s offense didn’t put a premium on tight ends and there was a chance that Gonzalez may not play a prominent role in his last season as a pro. Those reports will likely turn out to be unfounded as Koetter has said on several occasions how important the Hall of Fame tight end is to the offense. He may not be able to stretch the field as much as he used, but he doesn’t have to with White, Jones, and Douglas in tow. Falcons fans are hoping that their Beloved Birds finally give TG his long awaited and much deserved first playoff win. How will Gonzalez operate and be used in Koetter’s new scheme?

“The Mularkey Malaise” – Fans Need Proof

Maybe it’s just cautious optimism or the fact that fans need proof before believing, but there’s surely a little skepticism to the Falcons becoming a high-powered offense. Call it the “Mularkey Malaise” if you will. The talent has been there for a long time, but for whatever reason, the former coordinator (and perhaps Smith as well), just could not figure out a way to maximize all the offensive talent, especially against elite opponents. Most all fans are hopeful that the offense will finally take off, but there’s definitely a little bit of skepticism that will remain until they start seeing some cold-hard evidence of that actually taking place.

Can Meier Make An Impact (AJC)

Some of that negativity from the malaise was apparent when the Falcons named Koetter. Not the biggest or most well-known name and all anyone could think about was the fact of him leading the last ranked offense in the NFL in 2011. Fans have warmed up to him considerably after hearing players themselves talk about the positivity, and by comparison, the inefficiency of the Mularkey era. Finally, this isn’t meant to be a hatchet job on Mularkey. The Falcons won a ton of games with Mularkey and had some outstanding bright spots including having winning seasons 4 years in a row, making the playoffs in three of them, gaining the #1 seed in the NFC, directing the Rookie of the Year in 2008, and sending countless players to the Pro Bowl. However, it became painfully apparent last year that the offense had peaked and regressed under Mularkey and he was unable to maximize his vast talent. Hopefully, Koetter is the man to take this offense to the next level.


Your Turn

1) Simple Leadoff: Will Koetter take this offense to the next level?


2) Where do you predict this offense heading in 2012?


3) Where does the Falcons offensive talent rank among the NFL?


4) How will / should Koetter use Turner in 2012?


5) What kind of role will / should Rodgers and Snelling play?


6) Will there be an odd man out at RB? Who would it be?


7) Can Koetter utilize all his receivers together?


8.) Will this finally be the year we see the true potential of HD?


9) Any chance guys like Meier and Antone Smith get touches?


10) What role will Tony Gonzalez play? Will he see his catches drop?


11) Are you suffering from the “Mularkey Malaise?”


12) What evidence will do you need to see that Koetter is getting it right?

224 comments Add your comment

Unca' Bob

July 21st, 2012
11:23 am

Enter your comments here

D3

July 21st, 2012
11:26 am

Not good news on the eve of Training Camp. Hopefully, nothing too serious………

http://www.atlantafalcons.com/2012/07/tatupu-injured-during-workout/

JJ

July 21st, 2012
11:34 am

D3, great blog. IMHO, it all depends if Smitty (smittyball) stays away and of course LT.

LRD

July 21st, 2012
11:54 am

D3 WOw… just read that link too… and my first reaction was… Lofton gone…. DOH.

falCANS

July 21st, 2012
12:03 pm

hmmm mite be good news lets see if Dent steps up. Im sooo excited to see the defense take the feild!! defense really hurt our offense last year forcing us to “keep up” rather than play at thr slow methodical pace that ensured our success. O yea early bird predictkon Nrent Grimes challenges Revis for “shut down king”

LRD

July 21st, 2012
12:09 pm

Koetter better utlize all his weapons or Smitty may be looking for a new job.

Dhunt

July 21st, 2012
12:29 pm

1) Simple Leadoff: Will Koetter take this offense to the next level?
No way to know until they hit the field for some real time work, preferably against another team. Let’s hope he at least has a crystal clear understanding of the expectations. OPEN IT UP!

2) Where do you predict this offense heading in 2012?
Should be a top five offense. This is not homerism. Two potential top five receivers, potential top five RB, potential top five QB.

3) Where does the Falcons offensive talent rank among the NFL?
I can’t think of any team that is better at WR, (although Green Bay is right there), We are top 10 with the entire RB corps, and Ryan’s close to top 10, should break into that group this year. Falcons have to be considered top 5 in offensive talent

4) How will / should Koetter use Turner in 2012?
Hope for a healthy MT, better play design. Running Turner into a stacked box is just not going to work. We potentially have two great pulling guards, and using that could re-make Turner into a beast, even with fewer carries. He should get 15-20 touches a game, and a couple of those should be passes. Give him more space to run when he does get the ball and he will be outstanding again.

5) What kind of role will / should Rodgers and Snelling play?
If Rodgers and Sproles aren’t neck in neck for production all year, that will be an indication that the Koetter plan isn’t working. That means he has at least half as many touches a game as Turner. A good offensive game for us should see at least 30-35 touches for the RB’s. Quizz has to get at least 10-15 of those. That only leaves mop up duty for Snelling (5-10) touches a game), but gives us a fresh dangerous back to put in the game at any time.

6) Will there be an odd man out at RB? Who would it be?
Cox. Only five RB make active roster. Don’t need to carry two FB when you have Snelling (who by the way should see the field more in two back sets where the backs are blitz protection and outlet receivers). Smith gets to stay for Special teams. Hope there’s PS eligibility for the rest of them.

7) Can Koetter utilize all his receivers together?
Play design and route combinations. This is the key to having two 1200+ yard receivers this year. The other key is, how well does Matt Ryan transition from throwing a bunch of stop and comeback routes, to hitting his receivers in stride. We are going to see a lot of zone, because nobody can cover our receivers man to man. Will the route combinations have guys properly spaced, and taking advantage of the gaps in the zones? If so, we have three spectacular run after the catch guys, possibly the next coming of Brian Finneran, and oh yeah, Tony G.

8.) Will this finally be the year we see the true potential of HD?
If HD isn’t being used in a similar fashion to Welker, that will be another indication that the Koetter plan is faulty. Harry has to be on the filed for 50% of the plays. That is a radical departure from our offense over the past four years, but that’s the offense we need to see. There’s no doubt HD can be a standout slot receiver.

9) Any chance guys like Meier and Antone Smith get touches?
And this is the third area to watch to see if the Koetter era will be boom or bust. Not so much Smith. If he sees the field on offense we have had catastrophic injury issues. But assuming Meier is the 4th receiver, and he is as good as advertised when healthy (which we haven’t really seen yet), then he needs to be an integral part of the offense. 4WR sets, when properly designed, devastate most defenses by creating matchup nightmares. They are a staple of the more prolific offenses (GB, NO, NE) and should be an integral part of the Falcons offensive philosophy shift.

10) What role will Tony Gonzalez play? Will he see his catches drop?
Yes his catches will drop. But he should get more red zone targets, which is where he can still out play a lot of the new top tier TE’s. We’ve got more athletic guys to exploit the seams in the middle of the field. TG will be much more of a possession receiver and red zone threat. The majority of his targets should be third downs and the rest in the red zone. He is the best decoy in the league, because you just can’t leave him uncovered at any time.

11) Are you suffering from the “Mularkey Malaise?”
We try not to use the M-word around my house. Since this isn’t supposed to be about bashing the old regime… let’s move on.

12) What evidence will do you need to see that Koetter is getting it right?
Let’s assume that no matter who was “responsible” for the conservative offensive approach last year, the word has come down to open up the offense. We will know soon enough if Koetter is the man for that job. Things to look for (In no particular order): Routes and route combinations, personnel groupings, can he get everyone involved, can he adjust to defenses and to the strengths of his players, creativity. And does Matt Ryan go no-huddle for 75% or better of each game. And not that lazy, “run the play clock all the way down” no huddle. I’m talking about keeping it up tempo, running different packages on the field and putting a lot of pressure on defenses.

Dhunt

July 21st, 2012
12:32 pm

RE: Tatupu, I was really hoping this guy was going to come back as good as he was in Seattle. That would have guaranteed an outstanding defensive unit. Now we get to see if Akeem Dent has greatness in him. and if Dimitroff can find more gold on the scrap heaps. The LB’s are going to be critical this year.

SeminoleWarrior

July 21st, 2012
1:08 pm

Down south visiting with my Angel…a quick hit.

It is too early to say whether DK will use all his weapons.

First, we have to first see the battle plan.

Second, we have to esnure a high state of readiness in our forces (our team). This readiness means a commitment physically, mentally, and collectively.

Third, DK has to understand his weaponary and must understand that FLEXIBILITY is the key to a successful engagement. Status quo and an inability to adapt results in embrassment or worse, defeat.

Fourth, there has to be a killer instinct. We have to attack CONSTANTLY and CONTINOUSLY. There is no such thing as a convenient victory. All REAL victories are earned.

Fifth, accountability has to be ensured. No ONE member is larger than the team. Constant, realtime evaluation ensures a ready force and the capacity to strike quickly and decisively. A reliable yet flexible battle strategy, complimented by an effective, ready team, gives us the BEST chance of achieving the supreme objective, victory.

SeminoleWarrior

July 21st, 2012
1:10 pm

A little something to hit on. Will dive deeper into the mix when I return to the TeePee later in the weekend. See you all on the other side. I’m out.

tjhook

July 21st, 2012
3:47 pm

Koetter will show the world that we are ready to lay a can of whoop a## on the NFL and I predict that not only will Mularkey’s Jaguars suck but they may suck bad enough that the team may leave for somewhere else. And I say this as a person who was born in Jacksonville and hope that they do not lose the team. But Mularkey can cause that kind of ripple with his crappy offensive attack.

snacktastic

July 21st, 2012
5:05 pm

Excellent post, D3. Inconsistency was the name of the game last season, and just one area in which that was apparent was our ability (or inability) to score. We can’t have our defense on the field the entire game by failing to convert on 3rd/4th down, we can’t leave teams with an opportunity to come back in the second half, and we can’t score at will on some teams and leave points on the field against others. Offensive explosions like we had against the Colts, Jaguars, and Bucs last season aren’t going to impress anyone if we can’t put up any points against a team like the Giants. This offense needs to show the best in the league what they can do.

chzbykr

July 21st, 2012
6:36 pm

All this talent on offense, but the secret ingredient that is still a mystery for it all to work will be the OL. I’m hoping hugely that we can make strides there. If not I’m not sure any O weapons are enough.

John Waynesworld

July 21st, 2012
7:01 pm

As I was saying…

Sucks bad about Lofa. Bring back Peterson I guess, maybe sign Brackett or Diggs, who knows. Dent will perform well but we need depth. Too bad Bear Woods signed with the Alouettes.

JB FALCON

July 21st, 2012
7:40 pm

Offense? If fully used correctly, we should be able to score every time we get the ball. If we don’t? The answer to the question about DK is, he is not doing his job. We simply have too many ways to move the ball. We have spent four years under Bullarkey with his simple minded play calling.
I agree with chzbykr (had to copy/paste that handle), if the OL line can develope in something that looks like protection we should be a scoring machine. Paddy O will get his 35 pts per game.

As far s Lofa, I think Kerney had the same problem and he dropped off dramatically after that. I was pulling for him to make a comeback but since he probably injured it lifting weights, I figure he was trying to hard. Hopefully Dent can step up but it worries me that we do not have a backup, or, if we do, who would it be?

Big Ray

July 21st, 2012
9:02 pm

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-blog/2012/07/21/atlanta-falcons-lofa-tatupu-to-miss-start-of-camp/?cp=2#comment-161144

Not worried about this. Dent is the guy the Falcons want to step up, Tatupu is a guy who was brought in as insurance, with an ability to mentor somebody like Dent (and the other LBs).

As for the offense, Seminole Warrior summed that up pretty well. No need to follow it up on my part….one thing stood out to me, though:

Fourth, there has to be a killer instinct. We have to attack CONSTANTLY and CONTINOUSLY. There is no such thing as a convenient victory. All REAL victories are earned.

Man, oh, man. All I can think of is the game against Seattle last year where Mike Smith left the sideline at the end of the game like we’d just won our first playoff game since he was hired. That “celebration” on his part made me F’in’ sick to my stomach. No, really. Why? Because that was a thin escape, not a freakin’ victory. Yeah, it was a win, but not I REPEAT, NOT a victory .

This “control the clock and win by the skin of our teeth” sh!t has to stop. So too, does the foolishness where we get a lead and then decide to cruise on out and just play to not make mistakes. Get the damn win any way you can, I agree….but don’t ever let it be a question of continuous effort, or a desire to put your foot on your opponent’s neck.

We need a “crush the opposition” attitude. Need it bad.

JB FALCON

July 21st, 2012
9:35 pm

This “control the clock and win by the skin of our teeth” sh!t has to stop. So too, does the foolishness where we get a lead and then decide to cruise on out and just play to not make mistakes. Get the damn win any way you can, I agree….but don’t ever let it be a question of continuous effort, or a desire to put your foot on your opponent’s neck.

BR, you are regressong back to our former CS. I’m sure your words were the exact, or close to, the same words AB told TD and MS. IF the Falcons do not meet our/his expectations this year there will be heads rolling. JJ mentioned Smittly Ball and I’ sure MS knows that he is under the choppin block.

snacktastic

July 21st, 2012
11:20 pm

@JB: I really hope Blank used those words when speaking to Smitty and TD. Fans could be screaming about killer instinct from the mountaintops for months, but if they hear it from the guy in charge, they’ll listen.

D3

July 21st, 2012
11:44 pm

Alright Peeps! Here we go…………..

Turner
Well, let’s see how Mr. Turner is going to manage. I can’t see a ton of extra type of runs coming down the pike for the man Turner. He has been a burner up the middle, right of the middle, and left of the middle. Turner has gotten pulled down with little fight, but he has not much value in terms of the future.

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Rick

July 22nd, 2012
8:00 am

1) Simple Leadoff: Will Koetter take this offense to the next level?
I like what I’m hearing about this offense. It seems to be designed around the strengths of the individual’s….but the players have to execute far better than they did last year…especially the offensive line and Roddy White can’t lead the league in dropped passes if we expect anything more than what we’ve seen already.

2) Where do you predict this offense heading in 2012?
The same basic offense, but with more creativity…more players involved in the game. It should be fun to watch.

3) Where does the Falcons offensive talent rank among the NFL?
Top 5

4) How will / should Koetter use Turner in 2012?
Nothing wrong with turner carrying the bulk of the load, he still has it….the problem in the past has been the offense is too predictable….and boring…use turner the same, just less

5) What kind of role will / should Rodgers and Snelling play?
Snelling is a beast up the middle and Rodgers is great around the end….Rodgers will also make a good decoy and could open up the middle of the field if he line up to the outside.

6) Will there be an odd man out at RB? Who would it be?
Snelling

7) Can Koetter utilize all his receivers together?
If he wants to continue to be a coordinator in the new high powered NFL he has to.

8.) Will this finally be the year we see the true potential of HD?
Yes …if he stays healthy …I hope they use Rodgers as the return man …..they need to keep hd fresh.

9) Any chance guys like Meier and Antone Smith get touches?
Yes …they are going to spread the ball all over the place …I think roddy’s comments a few weeks back about taking less touches indicates everyone is buying into this offense

10) What role will Tony Gonzalez play? Will he see his catches drop?
No …Ryan has to much confidence in him …he is the go to guy and will co time to be in tough yardage situations.

11) Are you suffering from the “Mularkey Malaise?”
Not any more!!!

12) What evidence will do you need to see that Koetter is getting it right?
Ryan running the offense in no huddle, less up the gut from turner and less stalled drives.

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Big Ray

July 22nd, 2012
8:43 am

JB ,

Am I really? We’d all better hope so. You say “our former CS”….last I looked, we have the same HEAD COACH. And that, my brother, is what I’m referring to when I talk about the things that must not be, this season.

Ken Strickland

July 22nd, 2012
8:50 am

Here’s how I view Koetter’s chances of taking our OFF to the next level. At Jacksonville, he had the NFLs absolute worst passing OFF, and bottom ranked overall OFF. The Falcons under Mularkey had the NFLs 8th best passing OFF, and 10th best overall OFF. Yet, the Jaguars managed to field a 12th ranked rushing OFF to the Falcons 17th ranked OFF.

In both cases everyone knew both teams were going to run the ball most of the time, and DEFs played for the run most of the time. The difference was in Koetter’s play calling and blocking scheme, which didn’t allow DEFs to overplay the run even though their passing OFF was all but nonexistent. Even with an 8th ranked passing OFF to work with, Mularkey’s play calling and conservative approach still couldn’t generate a consistent rushing OFF.

All Koetter has to do is tweek and modify last yrs 8th ranked passing OFF, and he’ll do it by adding screen passes and vertical passing routes. He’ll definitely improve our rushing consistency and production by incorporating the same blocking scheme and play calling he used so successfully in Jacksonville. Unlike our DEF, our OFF system won’t have to go through a complete overhaul to get to the next level.

If he utilizes 3-4 WR sets and passes more often than we did under Mularkey, especially to our RBs, he’ll definitely be able to incorporate all of our weapons. The key to improved production in our passing OFF will be the result of YAC. DEFs will have to protect their perimeter against screen and swing passes, their intermediate areas from quick hitting vertical passing routes, and over the top against the speed and quickness of JJones, RWhite, and HDouglas.

That’s going to present a front 7, and secondary, that will be spread out trying to defend the entire field. This will present our OL and rushing OFF a complete 180 degree change to the stacked DEFs Mularkey actually encouraged and insisted on challenging with is predictable and conservative play calling. With the level of talent we have at all of our skill positions, including depth, what we’re expecting from Koetter is achievable for any competent OC that understands 21st century NFL football.

Ken Strickland

July 22nd, 2012
8:58 am

BIG RAY-You did a smart thing by turning away from then Hawks blog after seeing all of the ignorance that was going on. TRUTH SERUM got so out of hand it’s been shutdown. Rather than putting forth the effort to eliminate the troll that’s creating all of the problems, the AJC would rather punish everyone else by shutting it down. They’d rather punish the many for the sins of the few.

Jordan Dencklau

July 22nd, 2012
9:27 am

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Big Ray

July 22nd, 2012
9:28 am

1) I hope so. I think he has the extra wrinkles to do so, starting with the screen pass concept.

2) Depends on the health and effectiveness of the OL, as well as the proper implementation of the No Huddle offense, and how we call plays.

3) That’s not easily determined. You can look at things on paper, but even there we don’t have enough proof. I’m of a mind to believe that Roddy White can get past his case of the “dropsies”, that there is a better way to use Mike Turner, that Harry Douglas could/should be used a lot more than he has been, and that Quizz/Rodgers have yet to really have the opportunity to show us what they can really do. As long as they’re healthy and Mike Smith doesn’t get a case of the grabby hands on offense, then we’ll see what they can do. And THEN you can rank our offense. Until then, it’s a moot point. Just go with whatever the pundits are saying. Our last game produced 2 points in the postseason. Let’s start there.

4) Koetter will run Turner off tackle, I reckon. If he’s smart, he’ll let Ryan call the plays from the No Huddle and change things up instead of going with Mularkey’s “1st down, 2nd down, then pass” mantra. Will he dump off some passes to him as well? Possibly, but I wouldn’t look for too many of those, Turner is not a natural in that sort of role and is much more useful as a blocker. In fact, here’s a thought:

Koetter may employ screen passes where Turner is the blocker/bait, and Bradie Ewing is the receiving target. Don’t be surprised if you see that….it would be a great way to catch a defense off guard when they’re SURE it’s going to be a Turner run play….

5) Oddly enough, I don’t think Snelling’s role will change much. He’ll be Turner’s backup. When he’s in the game, he’ll get carries like Turner does, and will probably see more screen passes “per snap” than Turner will, because he can catch and run with it better than Turner does. But more than likely, we’ll be seeing Quizz on the field more often. He’s the guy who can make defenders miss and be a threat to score in the screen game. I see Jason Snelling as a more properly utilized 3rd RB. But a 3rd RB he remains.

6) Unless somebody else steps up as a major running/pass catching threat (or somebody on the squad gets hurt), anybody not named Turner, Snelling, Ewing, or Quizz IS the odd man out. I’m not even sure we keep Mike Cox, seeing as how Snelling is a backup FB as well. It’s possible that we keep 5 RBs, but I kinda doubt it. If anything, one can be signed off a practice squad or otherwise picked up in free agency.

7) Yes.

8 ) In regard to Harry Douglas, it’s now or never. A healthy HD is something we failed to take advantage of last season. If he remains healthy again but is largely ineffective, somebody will have to answer for it.

9) In the case of Kerry Meier, it largely depends on his health. I think he’s good enough to be our 4th WR, especially with Eric Weems gone (I think a healthy Meier is better than Weems, but never got to see that proven or disproven). Will he have competition? Kevin Cone, Michael Calvin, and James Rodgers seem to be guys who might have something to say about that, but I also think that two of those guys may make the squad (maybe just one of them) along with Meier. But I still see Meier as the 4th WR on our depth chart.

Antone Smith – I’ll say it again….unless we decide to keep a pile of RBs, I think he, Dimitri Nance, and quite possibly Mike Cox are either looking at the PS or jobs elsewhere.

10) Expecting TG to snag another 80 balls this season is not only somewhat unrealistic, but you only want to see that happen as a result of teams having to cover our WRs all the time. TG still widens and stretches the field, and he’s still an above average TE. However, he’s not able to stretch the field the way the Rob Gronkowskis and Jimmy Grahams of the League are able to today, and that has everything to do with footspeed. I want to see TG go out with a bang, but it would be better if he caught 50+ balls while HD’s catches go from 39 to 50+, Roddy keeps doing 90 or so, and Julio gets AT LEAST 75 catches (I want him closer to 90, but a diverse offense may not allow for this right away).

Why such a “low” number for Julio? Well, it’s because he’s a “big play” WR. His yards per catch average was monstrous for us at 17.8 yards per snag. Don’t think that’s significant? Consider that despite missing basically 4 games, his yards per catch average ranked 7th in the NFL last season…and that’s coming from a rookie. Yep….ranked AHEAD of names like Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Steve Smith, Mike Wallace, and Desean Jackson, to name a few. Well ahead (11 spots and 6 spots, respectively) of rookie classmates A.J. Green and Torrey Smith….

So yeah. Consider what Julio did with 12-and-a-half games (41 yards short of 1,000 for the season…8 TDs) and 54 catches….and jump that number up 21 snags to 75 catches. You’re looking at a probably Top 5 peformer with Larry Fitzgerald yardage (1,400) and Jimmy Graham scoring (11 TDs, if not more).

So excited I got off topic….

11) Not anymore. He’s gone, therefore I’m in a better mood in that respect.

12) I’m less worried about Koetter, more worried about Smith. I think Koetter already has better sense than to start every offensive series with 0-2 yard runs on first and second downs with predictable 7 or 8 yard passes to the sideline, where the WR has no chance to extend the play. I think he also realizes that the important thing is WHEN to run a play, not WHETHER a play works or not. He demonstrated as much by not destroying the offensive playbook and rewriting it in his own image. Koetter also may prove (and we’ve already gotten the lip service at least) that he’s doing the one thing that might matter most – establishing a real relationship with Matt Ryan, getting to know what Ryan’s strengths, weaknesses, and preferences are, and establishing trust.

You MUST trust your starting QB. If you don’t, then the man can’t play with his head on straight. Ryan has been missing this from his NFL life. Bill Musgrave was the only guy he had any sort of relationship with, that I can tell. It shows in his confidence level, in how he plays the game. Trust the man, let him run the no huddle, listen to what he has to say.

Based on what we have seen in quotes from articles, etc….Koetter is on the right path with this. It will make all the difference.

Believe it or not, it will even make a difference when you’re having OL problems. That’s when you need to trust the QB to run the offense his way THE MOST. Why? Because the QB (if he’s a cerebral fella, and Ryan certainly is) will know where the weaknesses are on HIS offense as well as the defense he’s playing against, and he’ll know how to work it from there.

We saw this when Ryan was allowed to run the no huddle last season. All of the sudden, our running plays worked, our pass plays worked (when we weren’t dropping the ball, that is).

‘Nuff said. Y’all gotta be tired of reading my sh!t by now….. :lol:

Big Ray

July 22nd, 2012
9:29 am

Ken ,

Good points, all.

And yeah, it’s disappointing to see how things continue to be over there in Hawks land. Ugh….

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TELL THE TRUTH

July 22nd, 2012
10:50 am

Hello Cagers.Good one D3…you keep cranking them out. Can Koetter utilize all his weapons? Totally depended on Mike Smith, his hands on/off approach.

Lofa’s comeback has hit a snag, with report of injury…hope it turns out to be less serious than initially reported. Dent will secure the starting MLB position. Glass full/half empty senario IMO…would you rather have experience of Lofa, or the Athletisim of Dent?

IMO, this is not the linebacker position of major concern…Stephen Nicholas is a gigantic ? We are seriously weaker at lineback than most would think. Its pass time Adkins earns his keep, regretfully, his opportunity may come sooner, than later.

Redcoat

July 22nd, 2012
12:13 pm

Solid OL makes it all go!

Ken Strickland

July 22nd, 2012
12:18 pm

I don’t think Tatupu’s injury will have any long lasting effects on the MLB position. It might keep him from getting the starting nod, but not from making the final roster. OLB MPeterson did a very good job filling in last yr as a starter. He just wore down as the season wore on. Apparently he wasn’t resigned due mostly to the same reason MLB CLofton wasn’t resigned, his issues with pass DEF, due mostly to the effects of age.

1-When you have a Probowl or Probowl caliber player at every skill position, how difficult is it for a qualified OC to take an 8th ranked passing OFF to a top 5?
2-When you’re the OC of the NFLs absolute worst passing OFF, which was so bad the overall OFF also ranked last even with the 12th ranked rushing OFF, you know you can improve a 19th ranked rushing OFF when you have a potential top 5 passing OFF at your disposal to spread things out.
3-When your predessors OFF was inconsistent because if was narrowly focused and hindered by what it wouldn’t do, like using screen and swing passes, vertical routes, or outside runs, you know you can improve that OFF by doing those things.
4-When your players can get so excited, during OTAs no less, about your systems, schemes, and approach, that they actually break their silence about their issues with the previous systems, schemes, and approach, you know the OFF will improve.
5-When you look at your #8 ranked passing OFF, #10 ranked overall, and realize that no other NFL OFF has a Probowl or Probowl caliber player at every skill position, you know damned well this OFF will improve.

The thing is, Koetter doesn’t have to be a top notched OC to take this talent ladened OFF to the next level. He just has to take better advantage of the available talent, and install a system, scheme, and approach that will allow it to happen, and he’s already doing that.

Ken Strickland

July 22nd, 2012
12:35 pm

REDCOAT-We have the makings of a solid OL. With only 1 exception, RG HDahl, we managed to win 13gms in 2010 with basically the same OL. If losing 1 OLineman causes your entire rushing and pass blocking scheme to fall apart, then there’s something else wrong, which is probably why Broudreau was let go. The AINTS lost their starting RT and OC before last season started.

The replaced their OC with a FA, who walked out at mid season, and then had to replace him. Yet their OL didn’t fall apart or even flinch. They managed to lead the NFL in total OFF and finish ahead of us in rushing. The Bears lost their LT and replaced him with a rookie. They also lost their starting OC to the AINTS, and replaced him by moving their starting OG to OC, which meant they had to replace their OG. That’s 3 OL changes, and guess what, their OL didn’t fall apart like ours did.

We were victimized by a coaching staff that had certain key individuals that only knew one way to do things, and that left little room for changes or adjustments.

Big Ray

July 22nd, 2012
2:12 pm

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TELL THE TRUTH ,

I totally agree on the LB position. The reports keep saying that the Falcons prefer Dent to win the job anyway. Personally, I agree with that sentiment as well because like any young Falcons player, I want the man to get his feet wet.

I take that back, sink or swim. Run with the wolves. There’s no substitute for real game time experience. Weatherspoon has some experience under his belt, it was high time he was made a leader. Dent has been in the system for a year, let him get his run under a true DC in Mike Nolan. I’m all for it.

Agreed on Stephen Nicholas. Dude’s got speed/athleticism if he can stay on the field. I’m about read to see Adkins earn his keep as well. Let these guys do their thing.

Our saving grace at LB might be a combination of Nolan’s 3-4 hybrid sets, and guys like Kroy Biermann, who I think would be a natural at the OLB position in such a set. Hell, he may be able to play it in a 4-3. Worth a try, no?

snacktastic

July 22nd, 2012
2:41 pm

@Ken: Very interesting points. I never considered that our lack of creativity last season extended to the OL coach, but if that was the case, then I look forward to hearing positive news come from that part of the team this training camp as well.

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Redcoat

July 22nd, 2012
3:17 pm

Ken….They just didn’t show consistency and was concerned that production seemed to drop so much because of one player change….Point is without that line doing it’s job, the rest is just pure talent on the skilled players part……that line has to be solid to get to that SB in NO!

Redcoat

July 22nd, 2012
3:19 pm

Coaching change at OL and the results, I’ll be watching.

Dekalbdawg

July 22nd, 2012
4:46 pm

1) Yes our Offense will be explosive! Only question is if they throw out mularkys playbook Entirely!
2) A Top 5 Offense able to score on Anyones Defense. Not dependant on Turner getting touches! One that’s able to PASS as well Run at any time.
3) Among the very best! We have talent that is at least equal to NO and GB! They must be utlized properly though!
4) Turners touches should be reduced to around 200 to 250 rushing attempts! this should reduce wear and tear!
5)Rogers should be used as a Screen threat and wildcat role! Snelling should get at least 40% of the Run touches!
6) Turners touches should be reduced! Smith will be the Odd man out! unless there is an injury!
7) Yes he can! If he can convince Ryan to take what the Defense gives on Every Play1 No forcing the ball into ANYone’s hands.
8) Health and MR have held HD back! Ryan must make an effort to find his 3rd reciever when there is a weak nickle back in coverage!
9) Only on Certain Plays where the defense is completly fooled. Or barring injury!
10) Certainly TG catches will drop! and they should, with the emergence of JJ and HD! its not the number of catches but when they are made in the game!
11) NO! MM had enough time to develop this offense and yet we are still not Elite! Time for a Fresh Approach!
12) MR decision making! Deep Passes! Play calling on 1st dwn! Wide Reciever Sets!
And Predictabilty! 4th and a inch does not always call for a run up the middle!!!

JB FALCON

July 22nd, 2012
5:46 pm

BR, I know what you meant about still having MS. Only thing is we are stuck with him for the time being or maybe forever. He was voted as the 9th best HC in the NFL so I will lean on the positive side and hope for the best.

JJ

July 22nd, 2012
6:41 pm

Just keeping it REAL”

July 22nd, 2012
6:24 pm

Choke, you are the biggest racist in all of these blogs. You know if MR was black, you wouldnt be here. Its all about race with you since your lord n savior got humiliated a few yrs ago.

Believe it or not, ALL races over on D3 fan blog are falcon fanatics-we all bleed red n black. We dont care about skin color, we care about our team! Ask BR, ask SW, ask JJ, ask JB…color does not matter!!! GROW UP KID AND READ SOME KING SERMONS!!!!!!!!!!!!

but your a racist, you only care about the color of skin your qb has…welcome to the ATL!!!!!!!
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Ken Strickland

July 22nd, 2012
6:51 pm

SNACKTASTIC-The real problem with our OL was with our one dimensional power blocking scheme. It’s a scheme that works to perfection when you have the personnel to make it work, and the Steelers have made it work for decades. The problem is, it relies mostly on brute power and strength, and when you lose an OL that fits that bill, it’s hard to replace him.

The closest thing we had in an OG that could possibly replace the physical play that HDahl brought to the table was MJohnson, who got hurt during training camp. Maybe that need for more physicality is why they were so insistent on putting an OT(GReynolds) at RG. Because Mularkey OFF and Boudreau’s one on one power blocking scheme were so inflexible, and they couldn’t find a physical enough replacement for Dahl, things just fell apart.

There will be no more ignorant and arrogant attempts like Mularkey’s repeated attempts to have our OL bang its head against a wall of stacked DEFs. The screen gm, and the use of quick hitting vertical routes, will take tremendous pressure off our OL by forcing LBs and safeties to do more than pin their ears back and blitz MRyan.

This will be the 1st time in the last 4yrs that our OC will actually do something designed to help our OL and QB in slowing or stopping the pass rush. Under Mularkey, DEFs seldom had to protect their perimeter, over the top, or against a quick hitting pass route. Someone mentioned that teams will play a lot of zone against us because they won’t have a secondary that can cover our top 3 WRs man to man.

All zones have holes, therefore getting to the QB before he can read the DEF and find those holes is crucial. We saw how that worked for 4yrs with VanGorders cream puff zone with no pass rush.

JJ

July 22nd, 2012
6:56 pm

Sorry for this but it needs to be discussed, Not chocke/JSS but the issues they raise. I have many friends in this cage who dont have my pigmentation. Does it matter?

This city we all love has a huge problem that everyone wants to avoid…race. This very blog bring friends of all races together as brothers/sisters in the fanatical falcon fan section. Race does not matter here, we are all brothers.sisters.

Just wish we could transform or maybe transport the respect we have for each other to the rest of the city. This is not just about choke (could careless about him).

My dream is the same as SW and many of you cagers. We celebrate down ptree for our parade and hug/high five as one, as victorious falcon fans! (not black, brown or white)

Unca' Bob

July 22nd, 2012
7:12 pm

SNACKTASTIC-The real problem with our OL was with our one dimensional power blocking scheme. KS.

We had noone to play RG. Plain and simple. Blaim it on whatever or whomever you choose but the fact remains that we had noone to fill in at RG. Period.

JB FALCON

July 22nd, 2012
7:22 pm

JJ, your last post would, and should go viral in the internet. What you said does not only appy to this blog but to the entire United States. I do not know your race and you don’t know mine nor do I care. You are a Falcon fan and you are my brother. A true Falcons fan is a fan and to bring race into a blog is downright disrectful to this entire blog.

Unca' Bob

July 22nd, 2012
7:24 pm

Ken Strickland,

And while I’m on the subject, From the very few games I got to see last year, we showed up as buffoons. The penalties we racked up from O interference to off sides and illegal pro’s, we played with our collective heads up our Falcon’s helmets. We had more drive stopping plays called back last year than I can ever remember…Just a thought.

JB FALCON

July 22nd, 2012
7:26 pm

disrespectful, and that’s a fact!

Unca' Bob

July 22nd, 2012
7:28 pm

PS and by the way, congrats to Earnie Els. Great Open.

JJ

July 22nd, 2012
7:43 pm

JJ

July 22nd, 2012
7:59 pm

JB, ,my apology for bringing this non-falcon subject to the cage. I’ve been in this city (Dunwoody) since the early 70’s and what Ive learned/taught up here in N. Fulton?

nothing…

But that was 30yrs ago. We have D3 the school teacher (math but just passd a english exam I think…bravo buddy–get to principal then ceo of all dekalb education) and SW, WE, Coach Ken – all of whom known me for yrs !

WHY, cant we treat each other as we do here in the cage?

Its all about respect and I respect ALL of you cagers for putting up with me and rock!

JJ

July 22nd, 2012
8:11 pm

Typo – WE is my buddy WR!