The Falcons have hit their first couple of speed bumps of the 2023 campaign. After starting 2-0, the club has dropped two in a row while scoring a combined 13 points in eight quarters.
The offense is ineffective, outside of just giving the ball to Bijan Robinson. Arthur Smith’s decision making is flawed, and his passing concepts don’t have any rhyme or reason. As a whole, it’s become very predictable.
The offensive line has been the biggest disappointment of the season, though. That’s because we had expectations that the unit would be a top 10 group, but it’s been pretty pathetic. They looked better last week against the Jaguars. We just need more out of the big guys up front.
Regardless of Arthur Smith’s play calling or the line’s protection, Desmond Ridder’s level of play has held this offense back. His anticpation and decision making are concerningly not improving at all. There are flashes but it’s few and far between. Ridder rarely looks in control and constantly looks underprepared for the moment.
So, what’s the biggest question for the Falcons after Week 4 loss? For ESPN, why does Atlanta’s offense continue to struggle early?
The Falcons have not run more than three plays on their first possession in any game (three three-and-outs and one interception). In the first quarter Sunday, the offense ran just six plays for 5 yards while allowing two sacks and punting twice. Coach Arthur Smith and his offensive staff need to figure out a way to create early rhythm — a major talking point during each week leading into games. Talk, though, has not led to any substantial improvement.
A lot of it has to do with the predictability of the Falcons offense. Defenses know that Desmond Ridder is mostly incapable of beating them through the air, so they sell out to stop the run, which is generally how the passing attack gets going.
There’s so much to correct that I don’t think there’s a simple answer. The predictability, Ridder’s shortcomings, and Arthur Smith’s play calling are all to blame. I’m not sure what’s going to turn it around because they have to threaten defenses through the air but the quarterback has shown no ability to do that.
Photographer: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire