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How Alex Mack has helped transform the Falcons offense

He’s been the linchpin for a resurgent offensive line.

NFL: NFC Divisional-Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The prolific and downright historic offense of the Atlanta Falcons has been one of many exciting storylines of this Super Bowl season (!). While MVP frontrunner Matt Ryan and his cadre of weapons dominate the highlights, we Falcons fans know the key to unlocking this phenomenal offense has been the team’s All-Pro center, Alex Mack.

Robert Mays of The Ringer recently wrote an insightful piece looking at just how talented Alex Mack is and what a “stabilizing force” he has been for the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive line. Having witnessed Mack’s impact, we can agree with Mays that:

....a great center is the foundation on which an entire offensive line can be built and Mack’s presence has rippled through Atlanta’s front in every conceivable way.

Mays examines the physical attributes, technical proficiency, and communication ability that make Alex Mack such a unique and valuable talent. You should definitely read his extended look, but here are some notable points.

On the one hand, Mays notes, Mack is taller and heavier than most centers. And yet he brings power and even speed to a position that’s not usually known for quickness (fast: check; physical: check). Furthermore, Mack is exceptionally flexible. This flexibility allows Mack “to maintain leverage while quickly changing direction and finding his footing.” Mays takes an insightful look at how this plays out in Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme and how it allows the offensive line to function at an optimal level, observing that “it’s just one of the small, subtle ways that Mack’s signing has been about more than an upgrade at a single position.”

In addition to his play, Mack’s technical understanding, leadership, and communication have been an invaluable asset to the Falcons’ offensive line. His linemates admire how “thorough” Mack is and how he wants to “know everything—every blitz, every alignment, every wrinkle that the Falcons could ever see.” Mack, in turn, uses these insights to deliver instructions and assignments and keep the line coordinated.

“To be successful,” Mack notes, “everyone has to be on the same page.” And he has done a terrific job of making sure of that. As Mays concludes, “no single change has made a more significant impact on Atlanta’s historic output than the offseason signing of Mack.”