Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons benefiting from Kyle Shanahan’s system


The Atlanta Falcons have had a perfect start out of the gate with a 3-0 start. Most coaches think of the season in four quarters. The worst the Falcons could do this quarter is 3-1 which is a win for any coach. If a team goes 3-1 in each of the four quarters of the season that means they would finish the season with a 12-4 record, almost guaranteeing postseason play.

Finishing has been a theme head coach Dan Quinn has repeated to his players. Quinn has drawn a ton of praise for the Falcons start and rightfully so, but there is an unsung hero for the Falcons 3-0 start—new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Shanahan has done a tremendous job with the offensive unit. He has successfully emphasized the strengths of this offense by getting Matt Ryan and Julio Jones off to a fast start. More importantly he has helped improve the unit’s weakness which is the offensive line.

Shanahan has used a precision short passing game to go along with well-timed deep throws and quick hitting runs to the tune of 29.7 points per game which is third in the league entering Week 4. They also average 411.7 yards per game, good enough for third most in the NFL. Perhaps the most important thing he has gotten the offense to do is third down conversions. They converted 53 percent of third down situations, which helps to keep offensive drives alive and allows the defense to rest.

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Shanahan has done a tremendous job of keeping defenses off balance. He has installed the zone-blocking scheme but also mixes in a bit of power running up the middle. He had the intelligence to realize Matt Ryan has enough athletic ability to get out of the pocket on rollout plays and designed bootlegs when Ryan’s previous offensive coordinators thought he was a pocket quarterback only.

Rollout plays present a different challenge for the defense after linebackers have seen stretch run after run and then Kyle dials up a play-action roll out pass which has allowed the wide outs to get behind the linebackers for wide-open receptions.

Shanahan has done a brilliant job moving Jones all around the field so that defenses have to guess where he will lineup and what type of routes he will run. He even lined up at tailback against the Cowboys.

The Falcons are 3-0, and Shanahan is a major reason this. What are your thoughts of his offensive scheme?

Next: Ten thing the Falcons must do to beat the Texans

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