The 2019 Atlanta Falcons season brings a lot of familiarity within the organisation on both sides of the ball and and with that come high expectations.
Following the Atlanta Falcons 2018 season, that saw the team finish below .500 for the first time since 2014, a lot of changes have come this off-season to help right the ship. Offense was a focal point, as the team made a change at offensive coordinator and addressed a dire need with the O-line in the draft.
Following the hire (rehire) of Dirk Koetter, many around the league forsee a bounce back year for the team. Articles are being posted wondering if Koetter will be able to bring the spark back to the Falcons offense. Thing is, that spark was never gone. For as much flak as the offense has gotten over the years for their production, the actual numbers tell another story.
When things start going wrong, you begin cutting the areas that seem to be the issue. After only two season, Steve Sarkisian was let go. From the outside, it looked as though the offense was stagnant and couldn’t find rhythm. After going back and looking where the offense ranked against the rest of the NFL last season, something stood out.
In 2018, the Falcons offensive stats ranked near the top of the league finishing sixth in total yards, fourth in passing yards and with a less than impressive 27th in rushing yards. A matter of fact, the Falcons offense has only finished outside the top 10 in total yards once since 2011 and has been in the top 10 in passing yards every season since 2011. Those are impressive stats seeing as the team has had four coordinators since the 2011 season and somehow they continue to put up the numbers.
Enter Dirk Koetter.
The former Tampa Bay Bucs coach is a well know name in Atlanta, playing against the Falcons for the last four seasons and as the play caller from 2012 to 2014. Fans remember him most for his first season as OC, finishing 13-3 and leading the team to the 2012 NFC championship game, but looking back some perspective might be helpful. In that season, the offense finished eighth in total yards, eighth in passing and 29th in rushing.
Those numbers are eerily similar to this past season in which the outcome was much different. The point is, there are a lot of factor that come into play each given year. Legitimate questions need to be answered this season, namely the O-line and how they will perform with the new additions as well as whether or not the team can overcome their red zone struggles.
These are serious things that can be the difference in making the playoffs or sitting home another year. Koetter will do his part to address what he can and he will help keep this team in the running just as they have been for the better part of a decade. Patience isn’t what fans want to hear, but in the end it will save you a lot of frustration and high blood pressure medication.