Despite an unexpected Super Bowl appearance for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016, the window is closing faster than anyone wants to admit.
Today’s NFL is feast or famine for offensive play callers and the Atlanta Falcons are front and center of this problem. If you aren’t putting up numbers like the Chiefs or Rams, fans and owners start getting a little antsy.
While the new rule changes benefit offense’s, as well as unique schemes introduced from the college game, offensive coordinators have less room for error. Such was the case for former Atlanta Falcons OC Steve Sarkisian, which in my opinion was a bad fire (save that for a later article). On a brighter note, it serves as a perfect example for the short leash that OC’s have these days.
On the flip side, a good OC can cause your team just as many problems. Seems counter-intuitive right? Let me explain. If you have a solid guy calling the plays, chances are, he won’t be there long. If you miss that window to get your championship and can’t find a replacement that maintains the offensive success, it can be detrimental to the progress a team has made with the previous coordinator.
The offense flourished under Kyle Shanahan. This franchise was able to reach, and as we all know, fall just short of winning Super Bowl LI. Following Shanahan’s departure, Steve Sarkisian took over playing calling duties. If we are being honest, Sark didn’t do that bad of a job. Regardless, the two had polar opposite fates with Shanahan moving on to a head coaching job and Sark getting the boot.
The constant change of play callers will eventually, if not already, start to take its toll on the team. And that brings us to the Falcons conundrum. The window is starting to get smaller for this team. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones aren’t getting any younger and if you look around the league you can see that finding that franchise QB is like finding a needle in a haystack. The Falcons decided to bring back experienced play caller Dirk Koetter; who also left us back in 2015 for another OC job. So the question that has to be asked is, with the carousel that is the offensive coordinator, how small is this teams window?
Fans have different stances. You have the optimists who think this is the year they bring home a ring and then you have the pessimist who think it’s the end of times and this team is in the gutter. The Falcons will win the division this year and make it to the Conference Championship.
It is next year that I truly believe this team will get over that hump and win a Super Bowl, but hey, that’s solely one person’s opinion. No matter what you believe, the fact remains that if they don’t break through the ceiling soon, it might be their white whale for decades to come.