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  • 03 Sep
    There have been notable trends that will likely hold up again
    this year." />Skip to main contentclockmenumore-arrownoyesThe Falcoholic
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    PhotosOdds About Masthead Community Guidelines StubHub ✕How the Falcons have
    built their offense by position from
    2015-2018New Youth
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    ,8commentsThere have been notable trends that will
    likely hold up again this year. EDTShare this storyShare this on FacebookShare
    this on TwitterShareAll sharing optionsShareAll sharing options for:How the
    Falcons have built their offense by position from
    2015-2018TwitterFacebookRedditPocketFlipboardEmailPhoto by Steve Dykes/Getty
    ImagesDan Quinn has not been overly involved in the offense since arriving in
    Atlanta, and yet the offenses he’s presided over have tended to be built in a
    particular way, at least when it comes to the number of players at key
    positions. The Falcons of this particular era have sported some good-to-great
    offenses, and they’ve typically done it on the back of a robust corps of
    receivers, a tight but multi-functional group of tight ends, and a nice 1-2-3
    punch at running back. The offensive lines have been a real mixed bag over that
    time, but the Falcons have tended to roll four deep with reserves. Let’s take a
    look at how the initial 53 man roster has tended to break down on offense.
    You’ll notice the trends I mention above hold up quite well. Falcons Offense
    Building 2015-2018YearQBsRBsFBsWRsTEsOTsOGsOCsYearQBsRBsFBsWRsTEsOTsOGsOCsThe
    Falcons have had two quarterbacks, one fullback, and at least six wide receivers
    every season under Quinn, even though they’ve had two offensive coordinators.
    It’s fair to assume they’ll do much the same this year, because they never keep
    three QBs, they’ll have at least a nominal fullback in Luke
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    , and they have five established wide receivers
    and interesting rookie Marcus Green to work with. From there things have
    fluctuated a bit more, but the team has always held on to nine offensive linemen
    regardless of the exact configuration, and aside from 2015 they’ve always
    carried three tight ends. The twist here is that Dirk Koetter is now in charge
    of the offense, and he is not necessarily going to have the same philosophy as
    Kyle Shanahan and Steve Sarkisian. The biggest change in my eyes is likely to be
    a possible reduction in the number of wide receivers and certainly at fullback
    in favor of tight end and running back, but things should still shake out pretty
    close to this when all is said and done. Koetter kept four tight ends, four
    running backs and no fullbacks in 2018 with the Bucs, though he did hold on to
    six receivers. In light of that the trends above and our expectations for
    Koetter, here’s an early crack at projecting who will make the initial 53 man on
    offense. This would give the Falcons 25 guys on that side of the ball, which
    would leave them room for 25 on defense as well. QB: Matt Ryan, Matt SchaubRB:
    Devonta Freeman, Ito Smith, Qadree
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    , Kenjon BarnerWR: Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Calvin
    Ridley, Justin Hardy, Russell Gage, Marcus Green TE: Austin Hooper, Luke
    Stocker, Eric Saubert, Logan PaulsenOT: Jake Matthews, Kaleb McGary, Ty
    Sambrailo, Matt Gono OG: Chris
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    , James Carpenter, Jamon Brown, Wes SchweitzerOC: Alex Mack
    Give us your best guess for the offense on the initial 53 man roster. A subpar
    year by his standards."Where does the time go? Matt Ryan will be heading into
    his 12th season under center as the leader of the Atlanta Falcons in 2019, and
    it feels like just yesterday that he was drafted with the third overall pick out
    of Boston College.Join us in dwelling on the past a bit, as we wait for Year 12
    of the Matt Ryan era to commence. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a
    look back at each of Ryan’s 11 seasons individually — his best game, his worst
    game and what we learned from each season. You can find the 2008 article here,
    the 2009 article here, the 2010 article here, the 2011 article here, the 2012
    article here, the 2013 article
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    , the 2014 article here, the 2015 article here, and the 2016
    article here.Today, his 2017 season is on tap.His best game - Week 8 vs. New
    York Jets2017 was one of Matt Ryan’s weakest seasons from a statistical point of
    view. He had trouble meshing with first-year offensive coordinator Steve
    Sarkisian, and ended up throwing just 20 touchdown passes — the fewest in a
    season since his rookie year.The Week 8 win in East Rutherford against the Jets
    was Ryan’s most impressive game of 2017, not because he put up prolific numbers,
    but because of the adversity he overcame to secure a massive win. That game was
    played in the middle of a rainstorm, and both Ryan and Jets QB Josh McCown had
    trouble handling snaps all afternoon.Ryan nonetheless put up a very solid
    performance with 254 yards on 29 pass attempts, and two touchdowns (which tied a
    season-high) along with no interceptions. His 113.3 passer rating was also less
    than three points off his season high. Ryan connected with Mohamed Sanu on a
    clutch late touchdown to help secure a 25-20 win.After getting off to a 3-0
    start, the Falcons proceeded to drop their next three games in a row, all
    against AFC East opponents. Another loss to the Jets would’ve resulted in a
    widespread panic around the team, but Ryan kept them from falling below .500.
    Atlanta would eventually bounce back and win 10 games behind the strength of the
    defense.His worst game - Week 14 vs. New OrleansThis Thursday night game was
    actually won by the Falcons — it was the one where Deion Jones intercepted Drew
    Brees in the end zone at the very end to secure the W (Brees was apparently
    practicing for the overtime interception he would throw against the Rams over a
    year later in the NFC Championship) — but Ryan was truly horrendous throughout
    the evening.Ryan threw a season-high three interceptions — one was saved from
    being a pick 6 by a vicious Julio Jones
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    , one was completely Austin Hooper’s fault, and one was in
    the end zone. The touchdown pass he had to Sanu on third down in the fourth
    quarter to tie it was clutch, but Atlanta would’ve never needed to make a
    comeback if not for the mistakes.In addition to the interceptions, Ryan
    completed a season-low 15 passes and registered a season-low 55.2 passer rating.
    Defensive excellence and an incredible Matt Bryant (who kicked in a 52-yard
    field goal to take a late lead) ended up winning Atlanta this game, the same way
    they ended up carrying the Falcons to the playoffs.What we learnedWe learned
    that Steve Sarkisian could not replicate the magic of Kyle Shanahan from a year
    earlier. This was once again a case of Ryan having trouble clicking with a
    first-year OC, and it was red zone woes especially which really hurt him and the
    Falcons. Those issues in the red area would end up costing Atlanta its season in
    the Divisional Round against Philadelphia.However, we also learned just how
    lethal the Falcons could be with an actual defense. 2017 featured statistically
    the best defense Atlanta’s ever had in the Matt Ryan era and the result was a
    10-win season and playoff victory, even with a version of Ryan which was pretty
    subpar by his standards. Pairing the 2017 defensive performance with the 2016 or
    2018 version of Ryan would have resulted in a Super Bowl victory without a doubt
    in my mind.