Problems with the Falcons Pass Protection
The Atlanta Falcons passing game is working better than their running game, yet they certainly are not the well-oiled machine they were in 2016. Matt Ryan has turned the ball over too many times this season. He has matched his interception total from all of last season with seven. He also has a fumble, to give him a troubling eight turnovers on the season.
Some of the Atlanta Falcons turnovers have been bad decision making by the quarterback. However many have also been the result of the offensive line’s inability to protect Matt Ryan.
Jake Matthews and Alex Mack have been the team’s only solid pass blocking options. Matthews leads the team with a solid PFF grade of 76.1. Mack checks in second with a grade of 73.6. Outside of those two men, the pass blocking has been horrid.
Kaleb McGary has performed worse as a pass blocker than he has in the run game. He has struggled with a grade of 52. 5 in pass protection. He had a very difficult time attempting to block Texans All-Pro J.J. Watt.
On the interior, the news continues to get worse. James Carpenter leads Atlanta Falcons guards with a low grade of 50.4. Wes Schweitzer has struggled to a grade of 45.6. Bringing up the rear is Jamon Brown, with a microscopic pass-blocking grade of only 43.7.
First-round draft pick Chris Lindstrom will be sidelined for at least another four games. The team badly needs him back, but there is only so much one man can do.
Kaleb McGary getting healthy will help and he certainly has the potential to get better. However, the signings of Jamon Brown, James Carpenter, and Ty Sambrailo all appear to be failed moves. Nothing in these payers past play, suggests that anything will be different anytime soon.
The Atlanta Falcons Play Calling Problems
Dirk Koetter has not proved to be an upgrade over Steve Sarkisian at all. The team runs basic route concepts. Dirk has not shown anything innovative to get the ball in the hands of playmakers such as Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. In fact, Ridley has seen his production drop significantly in the last three weeks.
The Atlanta Falcons often run medium and deep passing concepts despite a lack of pass protection, which is a recipe for disaster. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has shown no ability, nor the desire to make the game easier for Matt Ryan, by calling plays designed to get the ball quickly out of the quarterback’s hands and into the hands of top playmakers. The only visible thing Dirk has done is adding more screens to the team’s playbook.
The Atlanta Falcons could have landed Gary Kubiak as their offensive coordinator, had they been patient for another two weeks, while the Denver Broncos sorted out their coaching situation. Kubiak runs the same offense that Atlanta used to become a top ten offense in NFL in 2016.
Kubiak learned the offense while playing for Kyle Shanahan’s father Mike in Denver. Yet instead of being patient, Dan Quinn hired the wrong man for the job, for the second straight time.