Atlanta Falcons: How good will the offense be in 2015?


In recent years, the Atlanta Falcons have always been known for their high-powered offense rather than their defense. The Falcons have landed in the top 10 in the NFL in total yards, three out of the last five years including 2014.

While the running game hasn’t been good for Atlanta in the last few years, the passing game led by pro bowler, Matt Ryan has never faltered throughout the years. In 2014, Ryan finished fifth in the NFL in passing yards with 4,553.

But, heading into 2015, the Falcons may have a very new look on offense. What has been wrong with the running game since the departure of Michael Turner before the 2013 season? The Falcons have failed to establish any sort of running game since then, but 2015 may be the year that begins to change.

When Ryan came into the league in 2008, the Falcons had a surprisingly good running game. This great running attack continued for several years under Turner, but the offense slowly turned into a pass-first team rather than a run-first team.

The Falcons failed miserably with the addition of all-pro running back, Steven Jackson, who had his worst two seasons as an NFL running back in his two-year stint with Atlanta. The mixture of his old legs with the terrible offensive line pay led to the perfect ugly storm.

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With Jackson now out of the picture, Atlanta has chosen to go into full rebuild mode with the running game. Atlanta’s new head coach,

Dan Quinn

brought in offensive coordinator,

Kyle Shanahan

who has made himself known for producing quality running backs around the NFL.This should play right into the Falcons hands into establishing the run in 2015. But, to do this the Falcons must do a better job of protecting.

Heading into training camp, the Falcons seen to have a decent group of guys to project Ryan and the running backs. Atlanta released tackle, Sam Baker and added guard, Chris Chester to replace Justin Blalock. Atlanta will also get back center, Joe Hawley who suffered a season-ending injury against the Minnesota Vikings in 2014 as well as second-year tackle, Jake Matthews and RT, Jon Asamoah.

So, with the offensive line somewhat in check, who will be patrolling the backfield for the Falcons in 2015? Atlanta will plan to use a combination of second-year running back, Devonta Freeman and rookie, Tevin Coleman while Antone Smith will also get some carries. It is unclear who will be the week one starter at this time, but as of right now it is Freeman by a slim margin.

Shanahan has a lot of experience with young running backs, and will hope to continue that trend in Atlanta. The Falcons finally have two young, shifty backs capable of turning around the running game for good.

With a lot of talks surrounding who will run the ball for the Falcons, who will catch the ball is already very clear. The big change the Falcons made in the offseason was the surprise release of slot receiver, Harry Douglas. To replace him, Atlanta nabbed Justin Hardy in the 2015 NFL draft and added Leonard Hankerson in free agency to help out Julio Jones and Roddy White. To help out the tight end position, Atlanta signed veteran, Jacob Tamme who will likely start for the Falcons come week one.

Jones and White are going to get their catches, and while none of the other receivers have a ton of receptions in the league, Ryan will distribute the ball to them just like he always has. Ryan turns solid wide receivers into great wide receivers.

So, at least at the moment, the Falcons seem to be in great shape. Quinn is here to help the defense while the addition of Shanahan is here to help the offense alongside of Ryan. I see no reason why the Falcons wouldn’t finish in the top 10 in total yards once again in 2015.