The Atlanta Falcons are finally going to ditch the conservative, ball-control offense that marked their ascent over the last three years. In its place will be an aerial attack full of sound and fury, signifying awesome.
That's the guess from Steve Wyche, a former Atlanta-Journal Constitution Falcons beat writer who graduated to NFL.com. He got that impression from interviewing one Sharrod White, whose talents for talking up his team are exceed only by his ability to catch passes.
It's a far-ranging sort of interview and story, so you'll want to read the whole thing. The highlight—besides Matt Ryan picking Harry Douglas as the offense's likely breakout player—is White's vision of a Falcons offense unchained.
Roddy's shrewd enough to know that the Falcons can't simply outrun teams, even with Douglas burning it up in a slot role and Julio Jones already flying down the field like . Instead, he notes, they're going to have the opportunity to beat the crap out of defenses, throwing short routes and relying on the combination of physicality from White/Julio/Tony Gonzalez and the blocking chops of everyone on the roster.
Of course, when you're dominating on the short passes, you can afford to air it out. The Falcons have at least three receivers who can get downfield and make that happen now, so you'll see plenty of that.
Michael Turner won't be forgotten, of course. But he and the running game will, if all goes well, be less the featured piece than the effective complement. That should, in turn, keep the Burner fresh and ready to pound the rock when the Falcons have a lead. It's perfection on paper, and it ought to at least be effective on the field.
If you want chills, let White tell you why he's so confident:
"Teams can't guard all of us. We just have to capitalize on those mismatches and go after people."
We don't live in an ideal world, but damn. If nothing else, this offense ought to be thrilling to watch in 2011.