There was a time in Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White's career when he never said the right things. In fact, just a few years ago, following his discovery of the social media website Twitter, we wondered whether the front office could somehow, maybe without him knowing, restrict his internet usage. Now, for whatever reason, we seem to have a more measured, calculated Roddy. He speaks his mind, but it's more subdued. And when he talks, you listen.
The Falcons haven't played well on offense lately. That's no secret. But how do they fix what's ailing them? Per ESPN's Vaughn McClure, Roddy thinks the answer is simple: tempo. Up the tempo.
"We're playing methodical football," White said. "Everything looks slow. The tempo's not up ... I keep telling people we need to play ourselves into a groove, but we're not doing that [and] we go down there right before the half and score a touchdown when we feel the pressure is on. And then we just come back out and be methodical and we run the ball and we throw the ball, then we have incomplete passes, a miss here or there, and then third-and-long. When you get in those situations, they just drop back and play zone, rush three people and tackle you before you get to the sticks. That's just NFL football. You've got to stay ahead of the chains. And if you don't, it's an easy way to get beat every week."
Trying to read between the lines in these comments to the press is an inexact science. That said, Roddy's comments seem to indicate that someone isn't hearing him. He thinks the offense needs to up their tempo, he's expressing that opinion, and someone isn't listening. The question is simple: who's not listening?
Look, I'm not trying to stir up a controversy where there isn't one, but I strongly suspect the answer is Kyle Shanahan. Dave will have more about Shanny tomorrow, and for the record, I'm strongly opposed to firing him. He's worked magic with the running game, and he's significantly limited in the pass protection department because of the personnel at his disposal. But pace is something you can control. Roddy's idea isn't farfetched, and like it or not, Shanny needs to listen to him.