Rejoice, Falcoholics, the time has come. The Atlanta Falcons will kick off their training camp this week. It's been a long, soul crushing off-season. But fear not, the content drought is coming to its merciful end. A lot will happen in the weeks ahead. I'm excited. You're excited. Dave is drunk. Various camp battles will materialize and sound bites won't be in short supply. As for me, I'm keeping my eye on Kyle Shanahan. More specifically, his effect on the Falcons offense.
Matt Ryan is obviously central to our offensive attack. The poor guy unfairly gets a lot of flack for what is incorrectly perceived as a vanilla demeanor and overall mediocrity. They don't make any sense but his critics do exist. What's usually overlooked are the obstacles Ryan has overcome while consistently performing exactly like you'd expect a franchise quarterback to perform. From bad coaching to a lackluster supporting cast, Ryan's road hasn't been an easy one.
And here comes Shanahan. With the implementation of a zone blocking scheme, his effect on the running game alone will make Ryan's job easier. But bringing the best out of quarterbacks, even the mediocre ones, is what Shanahan does best. It's not outlandish to expect that trend to continue. So what can Shanahan specifically get out of Ryan that his previous offensive coordinators couldn't? To be frank, improving Ryan's skill set won't be the point. Instead, Shanahan will look to adapt an offense that best suits Ryan.
Shanahan's ability to adapt offenses to fit a quarterback's strengths is uncanny. He's done it before - just ask Matt Schaub and Brian Hoyer - and he can do it again. Ryan isn't the stubborn type, making Shanahan's job even easier. If these two can work together, the results will come. While the Falcons may lose Shanahan to a head coaching gig sooner rather than later, he may stick around just long enough to help Ryan over the hump. And with that figurative hump in his rearview mirror, Ryan may shake some of his critics.