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If Falcons Players Have Lost Faith In Mike Mularkey, Atlanta Must Move On

The Atlanta Falcons' offensive performance in the 2012 NFL Playoffs: Two points, 247 yards, 4 of 14 on third downs and that now-famous goose egg on fourth down conversions, all against the worst defense among the 12 postseason finalists. That's debatably reason for an offensive coordinator's dismissal.

Anonymous sources from the Falcons roster going public with their lost faith in offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey? That's a pink slip without question.

Yahoo's Jason Cole quoted a justifiably frustrated Roddy White, as well as an anonymous player, and the sentiment is 100 percent clear: Mike Mularkey has to go. Before you think that the overhaul of the Atlanta franchise at the hands of New England Patriot system product Thomas Dimitroff (with the blessing of Arthur Blank) would contradict firing a coordinator because of player unrest, you don't know your Belicheck: A key tenet to the system that Patriots invented and that Dimitroff embodies is that players do have a voice to be taken under consideration in all matters, and in this instance, that voice should ring louder than anyone else's.

The Falcons mortgaged a draft - and by some accounts two - to add a "missing piece" type playmaker in Julio Jones. And while it's apparent now that their offensive line wasn't ready to transition from a run-first club to the next Green Bay Packers, the experiment under Mularkey failed miserably. Not Jones failing, not quarterback Matt Ryan failing - but Mularkey failing.

In examining another season of title hopes gone bust, there are countless symptoms to be charted - 14, 23, 23, 10, 16, and 2 - that's the amount of points scored against 2012 Playoff teams in the 2011 season (the Saints twice, plus the Lions, Packers, Texans and Giants), which averages to 14.6 points a game against the best teams in the NFL. Or 402, the total points the "explosive" 2011 team scored, versus 414, the total 2010's offense put up.

You can find numbers to argue about all day. But a loss of faith among the careful selected, meticulously nitpicked talent assembled over four years? That's not a symptom, that's a diagnosis, and it's fatal.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.