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The Great Debate: If Offensive Failure Occurs in 2011, Is It Mike Mularkey's Fault?

In this series of posts, I say crazy things because I'm trying very hard to get you all to question my sanity. Now that we've cleared that up, here's some speculation, so stay calm out there.

Mike Mularkey. Mike Mularkey. Mike Mularkey.

That's the only name I see thrown around on this site anymore, almost as if it's his fault or nobody's fault.

Roddy White runs a post route and slips and falls on the ground. The pass, which was intended for Roddy, now finds its way to the safety who was covering deep. Whose fault is that? Every statistic from here to Timbuktu is going to say the same thing: Interception, which will in turn harm two things: 1) Matt Ryan's stats and 2) Every offensive statistic that suggests our offense is "good", which then falls on the Offensive Coordinator and/or the coaching staff.

Matt Ryan launches a missile at Michael Jenkins, who is running a drag over the middle. Jenkins is unable handle it, and the pass goes through his hands and into the hands of a nearby defender. Whose fault is that? It it Jenkins's fault for not being able to handle a hot pass? Or is it Matty's fault for throwing it too hard? Two very different, yet plausible faults.

These scenarios are two of many I could conjure up, but hopefully that has you thinking about different perspectives. Join me after the jump where I'll explain how offensive failure could rest not on the shoulders of Mike Mularkey, but on the shoulders of...

...Matt Ryan.

Make no mistake, I love Matt Ryan as much as any of you do, but the more I thought about this, the more it became apparent to me that offensive failure this year could be because we're overlooking some things. I'm not trying to turn anyone against Matty, I wouldn't do that, but here's a different angle for a few things.

Roddy White, bless his soul, was thrown at a billion times last year, and while he answered the call just about every time, what if he hadn't answered the call?

When Brent Grimes showcased his 96 inch vertical leap against the Saints, everyone and their brother yelled "Great play!" but could he have known that pass was coming and also known exactly where to be in order to snatch the ball from the heavens? If that's the case, whose fault is it then? Is it Brees's fault for not knowing Grimes had rocket boots? Is it the Saints' OC's fault for not knowing that? Or was it just a great play?

Matt Ryan is a great quarterback. I think he's easily top 8 or 9 in the league right now, and I think he's only going to get better, but that doesn't mean he's immune to blame, here.

We have the talent to do anything, now. I'm not disagreeing with that, I've never disagreed with that, and if I have at some point, then I fail.

A lot of you are upset at the lack of screen passes featured in our offense. As helpful as those can be, I think we've shown that they're not absolutely necessary. That being said, what if we sent Quizz/Snelling in only for screen passes? What good would they be, then? Turner, our multimillion dollar feature back, might as well not be thrown to, since his hands might be worse than mine.

Yes, we have backs that can catch now, but do we want to telegraph that? How would you feel if the first screen pass of next season gets taken the other way for a touchdown?

Would you want someone other than Turner in there if it meant we could run more RB dump-offs or screen passes? Who has to deliver those passes?

Ah, that's right. Matt Ryan does.

If Matt Ryan throws the screen over Quizz's head (very well could happen), whose fault is that? It's Matt Ryan's fault...but it's the screen pass everyone was calling for. Well, now we have a bit of a conundrum on our hands.

If you say that just the act of the screen pass is enough despite its incompletion (or worse), then I'll counter that with running up the middle repeatedly could be looked at in similar fashion, except that running up the middle poses a much smaller threat of a turnover and also doesn't stop the clock.

When we go no huddle, the offense runs better. Why is that? Is it because Matty is calling his own plays? Is it because someone in the booth saw a defensive package they liked and told Matty to go no huddle? Whose decision is it to go no huddle? Does Matty yell, "WE'RE GONNA GO NO HUDDLE!" with little or no warning as he sprints hysterically onto the field? No huddle plays are often more vanilla than regular plays because the more complicated you get in speed offense, the more chances you have for mistakes.

If Matty calls a bad play in the no huddle that makes our offensive look worse, how are we to know which plays Matty blew up and which plays MM blew up, unless stat gurus start separating QB-called plays from OC-called plays (if they do, more power to them, but I haven't personally seen any). Does that take audibles into consideration? How are we to know how many good plays Matty audibled out of because he felt like another play would run better, only to have that play fail? I watched Matty audible into a few up-the-middle runs that didn't work.

...I'm blitzing you with all these questions.

While some of them may seem ridiculous, I believe they are things that should be considered.

There are just too many variables for me to personally blame a single person for offensive failure, should it occur. That said, I don't expect many issues from the team this year. I'm just trying to voice that, while I'm sure MM will be worthy of some blame, just like everyone on the whole team will be at some point, you can't overlook the weight Matt Ryan carries not only in the play calling, but in just about every offensive statistic as well.