New Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter made his first local impression Monday morning, dazzling with talk of next-generation weaponry like screen passes, downfield throws and no-huddle attacks. We have no idea what he's talking about, but assume it's all some sort of fancy dive play.
He said he's excited about working with Matt Ryan and watching film from every 2011 Falcons game. He talked about balance and developing schemes that match personnel strengths, but the quote that's going to jump out is the one about Mike Smith specifically requesting Koetter bring Atlanta's screen passing game up to snuff.
If you're just now joining us, you wouldn't believe how much time Falcons fans spend complaining about how useless this team has been at screen passes. With Alabama screen master Julio Jones outside, the Falcons should be able to count at least a couple of screens among their base plays. But, as Pat Yasinkas dutifully chronicled, the Birds were perhaps the league's worst screen team.
Koetter's said before that he prefers taking shots downfield over high-percentage short stuff, but the thing about Jones, Harry Douglas, Jacquizz Rodgers and even Roddy White is that short plays could become big plays if drawn up right.
Too often under the previous regime, explosive Falcons receivers got the ball at a standstill, unable to develop any momentum before defenders arrived. While Tony Gonzalez seems to work better when he's able to pivot and assess before making something of a reception, most receivers should be able to catch the ball in spots where they're ready to move and add yards after the catch, especially if it's close to the line of scrimmage. That could be something to hope for next year.