There has been quite a bit of talk of how Kyle Shanahan simply isn’t the answer for the Atlanta Falcons at offensive coordinator due to his checkered past.
In the seasons to which he’s been an offensive coordinator, his teams have done well in accumulating yards when it comes to statistics. However, Shanahan’s offense has not performed well when it comes Red zone efficiency and average points per game.
The Atlanta Falcons offense moves very well between the ‘twenties,’ but more often than not the offensive drive stalls out in the red zone.
As a result, the Falcons settle for three points. This is a film review of what goes wrong with plays run in the red zone in regards to personnel, playcall, and execution.
Red zone play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This was a third down play at the Tampa Bay 11 yard line which is a clear passing down with six yards to a first down.
The Atlanta Falcons are running ’11’ personnel ( ‘1’ Running Back, ‘1’ Tight End, 3 Receivers), and it’s run from the shotgun formation. Justin Hardy is sitting at the X Receiver (Split End) position at the bottom of the screen, Julio Jones is at the Y(Slot) position and Mohammed Sanu is at the Z(Flanker) position.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are running a cover-two zone (which employs two deep safeties). This is ultimately designed to keep everything in front of them and cover short passes effectively. There are definite weaknesses to the cover two, but implementing it in a condensed field makes it difficult on the offense to take those underneath throws.
At the snap, we see three routes run into the end zone to clear the middle of the field and two routes run underneath.
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Immediately the read is underneath as Tevin Coleman runs a pivot route and Hardy runs a slant. Matt Ryan goes to Tevin Coleman against the Cornerback and the pass is incomplete.
This is a classic case of over-thinking plays in the red zone. The throw was made well short of the first down marker and it was made into good coverage. Also, a running back against a cornerback in that situation isn’t exactly a favorable match up. As a result, the Falcons ended up going for three.
The Atlanta Falcons must mix up personnel groupings, call plays that feature their best offensive weapons and be more aggressive in the red zone.
Against the Oakland Raiders, there was much better play calling and execution. The arrow is certainly pointing up, so here’s to hoping that the offense continues to improve in the red zone as the season progresses.