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It's Time For The Falcons To Torpedo The Shotgun

Matt Ryan stands alone. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Matt Ryan stands alone. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Eye-opening stuff from Pat Yasinskas over at ESPN today. He makes a simple, effective case for scrapping the shotgun.

For those of you who just were unfrozen and find football "frightening and confusing," the shotgun is a formation where the quarterback takes a long snap. This theoretically gives him more time to scan the field, and teams usually capitalize on that by sending more guys out wide. You would think that with the Falcons' offensive line doing its best impression of the Care Bears, the shotgun would be making a difference.

It is making a difference, alright...but a horrible difference! You'll have to insert your own gasps and peals of thunders.

In total, Ryan's thrown 77 passes out of the 'gun thus far in 2011. He's completed 58 percent of those throws for 425 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. In other words, he's been in the shotgun a lot. Those numbers aren't great by any stretch of the imagination, but you may wonder why this is so horrible.

Here's your answer: Our of the 13 times Ryan's been sacked, 10 of them have come while the Falcons were in the shotgun. A formation that is supposed to give Ice more time in the pocket has been getting him drawn and quartered by opposing pass rushers.

What's going on here? Once again, we have to indict the line. The pass protection is so bad—and the help so thin in a shotgun—that Ryan doesn't have any more time to drop back and make reads than he normally would. That's observation and anecdote-based, admittedly, but it would be tough to mount a convincing case to the contrary.

In light of that, I'm calling on the Falcons to start using the shotgun more sparingly. If the line improves, return to using it often because it opens up the passing game for you. Until that happens, though, Ryan needs a lot more help than that particular formation can give him.

Do you agree that the Falcons should back off the shotgun for now, or do you want them to keep blasting?