The Atlanta Falcons can’t decide who they want to be. With the addition of Luke Stocker, a tight end who specializes in run blocking, the Falcons are becoming more and more transparent. The Falcons offense suffered last season by being too easy for defenses to read.
It was obvious to teams what a passing formation was for the Atlanta Falcons, and same goes for their running formations. The offense will continue to struggle with the same problem this season.
Last season, the Falcons were too transparent on offense. The opposing defenses knew Atlanta was running the ball when Logan Paulsen was in the game. And when Austin Hooper was in the game, it was a passing down. Paulsen was targeted 9 times all last season while playing in 15. Hooper was targeted 88 times in 16 games. With Paulsen exiting, Stocker will be the new run blocking option. This is going to cause the same issue for the offense this season. If the Falcons are too one dimensional to get a solid season from the offense, this team is going to struggle to find success. This issue falls onto Dan Quinn’s lap. His lack of involvement with the offense could be the thing to doom his tenure with the Falcons.
It’s no secret that Dan Quinn has no interest in the offense. He’s made this obvious since the day he got hired. When he came in, Quinn hired Kyle Shanahan to run the offense the way he wanted to run it. Quinn would have no say over in any play-calling or schemes, even if that meant not overriding the coach when he called a pass when a run would have sealed the biggest game of Quinn’s coaching life. Quinn’s next choice, after Shanahan was hired away, Steve Sarkisian, was an issue out of the gate. Sark never could get the offense humming as it did under Shanahan, and he was fired after two seasons. New offensive coordinator, and former, Dirk Koetter, is back with the team.
It’s unknown what he will be able to achieve with this offense, but he has had prior success with Matt Ryan, so there is some hope. Dan Quinn has put himself into a position where he had to get this hire right. This feels like Quinn’s last opportunity to get it right. Quinn struck gold by hiring Shanahan to run the offense but struck out big time with Sarkisian. Koetter is Quinn’s last hope.
Dan Quinn has made a lot of mistakes as the Falcons head coach, but none feel bigger than neglecting the offense. When Quinn showed in Atlanta, the defense was in shambles. He drafted well, signed the right players, and made smart moves on that side of the ball. And now, the defense is a lot better than what he had when first hired. However, the offense is what led Atlanta to the most successful season under Quinn.
It feels like a waste of talent and time to let players like Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have to deal with so much turnover and change. The offense, as constructed today, is good enough to carry this team back to the Super Bowl, but with bad coaching and telepathic play-calling is going to doom this team to more and more letdowns. It’s frustrating to watch so much talent be used in the wrong way.
Maybe I’m being a little too hard on Dan Quinn. It’s a gamble every time a new coach is hired. You don’t know if the team is going to get Kyle Shanahan or Steve Sarkisian. It’s all up in the air. But I do blame Quinn for not having at least a philosophy for his offensive strategy. Quinn has been incredibly blessed with a lot of success during his tenure with Atlanta, but that’s mostly due to the infrastructure that was in place when he was hired. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Devonta Freeman were already in the building when Quinn was hired.
The offense has gotten worse as Quinn’s time has gone on. That’s not how successful NFL franchises operate. There has been no consistency when it comes to Atlanta’s offense. The Falcons won’t find team success until the offense is performing on a consistent basis. I’m starting to wonder if that can happen while Dan Quinn is still the head coach.