Atlanta Falcons: Play-action pass will be key component of offense in 2015


The Atlanta Falcons are committed to improving their run game this season, and they will be hoping Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman can be the players to do this.

It was a bad start for the run game in the preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans, although neither Freeman or Coleman featured in the game due to hamstring injuries. Antone Smith, who started in their place, also went down with a hamstring issue during the game.

The Falcons want to achieve balance on offense, and there are a ton of benefits to running the football successfully. If Atlanta can achieve this, they will be able to dictate the tempo of the game while also opening up passing lanes for a strong group of wide receivers.

Another major benefit of a strong run game? The play-action pass.

As good as the Falcons’ offense has been in recent years, it has been somewhat one-dimensional due to a lack of a strong run game. This could be all set to change.

If Coleman and Freeman can force defenses to respect the run and bring up an extra defender to the box, opportunities will open for Ryan to fake the handoff and fire the ball deep to one of his receivers. Ryan is aware of the importance of the play-action pass.

“Play action is huge when you can get it going and you can make the defense defend the run. It opens up some lanes in the backend, and it worked perfectly tonight,” Ryan said. “We got the linebackers to suck up and then had some space behind there and Julio ran a great route, made a great catch and it was a big play for us.”

Kyle Shanahan’s offense will get Ryan moving in bootlegs and play-action passes, but the latter will rely on the Falcons posing at least some threat with the run game.

We will have to wait to see just how well the running backs perform, and we may get a taste Friday night against the New York Jets if Coleman or Freeman return from injury. With hamstring problems, there’s no reason why Dan Quinn will be wanting to rush them back.

If the Falcons can get the play-action pass working, this offense is going to be deadly.

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