Dan Quinn has not been overly involved in the offense since arriving in Atlanta, and yet the offenses he’s presided over have tended to be built in a particular way, at least when it comes to the number of players at key positions.
The Falcons of this particular era have sported some good-to-great offenses, and they’ve typically done it on the back of a robust corps of receivers, a tight but multi-functional group of tight ends, and a nice 1-2-3 punch at running back. The offensive lines have been a real mixed bag over that time, but the Falcons have tended to roll four deep with reserves.
Let’s take a look at how the initial 53 man roster has tended to break down on offense. You’ll notice the trends I mention above hold up quite well.
Falcons Offense Building 2015-2018
The Falcons have had two quarterbacks, one fullback, and at least six wide receivers every season under Quinn, even though they’ve had two offensive coordinators. It’s fair to assume they’ll do much the same this year, because they never keep three QBs, they’ll have at least a nominal fullback in Luke Stocker, and they have five established wide receivers and interesting rookie Marcus Green to work with. From there things have fluctuated a bit more, but the team has always held on to nine offensive linemen regardless of the exact configuration, and aside from 2015 they’ve always carried three tight ends.
The twist here is that Dirk Koetter is now in charge of the offense, and he is not necessarily going to have the same philosophy as Kyle Shanahan and Steve Sarkisian. The biggest change in my eyes is likely to be a possible reduction in the number of wide receivers and certainly at fullback in favor of tight end and running back, but things should still shake out pretty close to this when all is said and done. Koetter kept four tight ends, four running backs and no fullbacks in 2018 with the Bucs, though he did hold on to six receivers.
In light of that the trends above and our expectations for Koetter, here’s an early crack at projecting who will make the initial 53 man on offense. This would give the Falcons 25 guys on that side of the ball, which would leave them room for 25 on defense as well.
QB: Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub
RB: Devonta Freeman, Ito Smith, Qadree Ollison, Kenjon Barner
WR: Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley, Justin Hardy, Russell Gage, Marcus Green
TE: Austin Hooper, Luke Stocker, Eric Saubert, Logan Paulsen
OT: Jake Matthews, Kaleb McGary, Ty Sambrailo, Matt Gono
OG: Chris Lindstrom, James Carpenter, Jamon Brown, Wes Schweitzer
OC: Alex Mack
Give us your best guess for the offense on the initial 53 man roster.