Since the reemergence of the Atlanta in 2008 with the selection of Quarterback Matt Ryan and the hire of head coach Mike Smith, the Falcons have soared to four straight winning records and three playoff berths. But in all those playoff games, all of which many experts predicted them to win, the Falcons have lost.
The goal now for Atlanta is not reaching the playoffs, but winning a playoff game, and if possible, multiple ones. Receiver Roddy White has a suggestion in improving on the team’s playoff blues: in the new offensive system, he must touch the ball fewer times.
““I know that sounds crazy, but we’ve got other guys out there that can play,” White said according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
. “Julio [Jones] is going to be a big part of the offense this year. Harry [Douglas] is going to do wonders in the slot. We have to maximize our talent and get the ball in everyone’s hands.”
White has the most receptions in the NFL in the past two seasons with 115 in 2010 and 100 last year. He also became only the eighth player in NFL history with five consecutive seasons with at least 80 catches and 1,000 yards receiving.
The three-time Pro Bowler has a good point with receivers Julio Jones and Harry Douglas playing better. As a rookie, Jones caught 54 balls for 959 yards, but that was with a short offseason because of the lockout. Coach Mike Smith expects Jones to make a huge splash in 2012 with a full offseason program. Douglas, who made 23 catches for 320 yards, expects to play a bigger role as the slot receiver in the new system.
Now running the offensive in Atlanta will be newly hired offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. He was the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator from 2007-2011. Jacksonville made one playoff appearance during his tenure in 2007. Ironically, 2007 was Mike Smith's last season as Jacksonville's defensive coordinator.
Koetter will have big shoes to fill as former offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey left to become the head coach Koetter departed from: the Jacksonville Jaguars. But spreading the ball around and putting less pressure on White and Running Back Michael Turner sounds like a good initial plan.
Only one thing, however, will prove whether Koetter’s plan works or not, and that won’t come until January.