Earlier on Saturday, ESPN's Pat Yasinskas put out an article regarding an interview he had with Arthur Blank.
Blank answers some questions about why Atlanta has not been active in free agency, and Yasinskas reads into his comments. Hardly sounds too interesting, but there are gems from Yasinskas, such as:
I get the sense that the days of QB Matt Ryan rolling out and almost always checking down are over. I get the sense that the days of sitting back in the Cover 2 are long gone.
No more planned roll out every 6th offensive snap that failed every single time for four years? Perhaps now your interest has piqued.
“I feel good about where we are,’’ Blank said. “I know we didn’t make a big splash going into free agency. But that really wasn’t our intention going into this year. We really felt we had a lot of talent. ’’
That is correct. Despite the Falcons playoff offense making the 1906 San Francisco earthquake look like only a small blip on the Richter scale, Blank & Co. are content with bringing back every offensive player. If it's not the players...
Maybe the roster was just fine, but the coaching staff and the schemes were holding back the Falcons.
Many (myself included) have been blaming Mike Mularkey for years, and Brian VanGorder would always concern me when playing any team that could throw the ball well. But this is not a time for me to badmouth our old coordinators. I'll let Yasinskas do that.
Both men left on their own, but I get the impression that if they hadn’t, they might have been shown the door. Let’s be honest here. Mularkey’s offensive system reached its peak in 2010 and didn’t get any better even with the addition of talented rookie receiver Julio Jones last season. VanGorder’s defense was solid but never dominant, which was a disappointment because the Falcons have some individual talent on defense. Mularkey has been replaced by Dirk Koetter, and VanGorder has been replaced by Mike Nolan.
Alright, let me get in here a bit. I still believe both Mularkey and VanGorder were the correct hires at the time. They were able to do great things with a team in serious transition, but neither had the skills to bring Atlanta to the next level. There is a time to make a change. While I would have preferred it happened last year, it is good to know Atlanta does not plan to continue to add talented players to a team while receiving diminishing returns.
Yasinskas, as well with Blank, note that things will change with the scheme. The scheme will be based on players strengths. Everything fans have been asking for the past few years (hopefully). No more running the wheels off of Michael Turner. Shots down field. Screens. No zero-point offense in the playoffs.
Notice how teams that remain successful change schemes, either to utilize their talent or because of a new coordinator? The Patriots have had success running the ball, throwing deep, and even utilizing two tight-ends.
Atlanta has not made those changes despite added talent, but look to be making a change now for the better. It may be best to approach the new coordinators with cautious optimism, instead of believing they will be a panacea, but Blank sure does think a lot of the roster.