Welcome to Falcons offense Thursday! Until the weekend, we’ll probably continue to talk about little else, given the stakes.
To preface this article, we should note that Dan Quinn is not an offensive-minded coach. He hired Kyle Shanahan, and subsequently Steve Sarkisian, to effectively handle that side of the ball for him with their staffs. Raheem Morris has been somewhat of a bridge between the two, but Quinn is not about to tell his offensive coordinators what plays to run.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he wants to see in the high 20s for rushing attempts per game to establish the run... https://t.co/ftevmVvx6B— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) October 25, 2017
Quinn and company have been focusing on third downs and red zone opportunities in practice this week and will continue to do so, but ultimately, Quinn wants to see the team lean heavily on a successful ground game, at least until the passing game finds its way.
This is just and fair, though volume alone isn’t going to solve the team’s offensive woes. The Falcons have averaged 22.5 carries per game, as McClure notes, but they had 22 against New England and just 18 against the Dolphins. It will allow the Falcons to use more time, hopefully extend drives, and put the ball into the hands of two of their most dynamic players. That all seems smart to me.
Let’s just say it out loud: This offense is not going to be the unit it was in 2016 at any point this year. They can be good if they can start fixing the things that are ailing them, but we should dial down our expectations and hope they can surprise us. Establishing the run a little more effectively—and especially keeping drives rolling by converting more third downs—will go a long way in that regard.