The Falcons offense is entering a new era after trading away longtime signal caller Matt Ryan to the Colts. The team swiftly signed Marcus Mariota, then drafted who they hope will be the future franchise quarterback, Desmond Ridder. However, the team undoubtedly got worse at the position. Ridder may prove to be the answer in the future, but in 2022, Ryan will be head and shoulders better than either player in Atlanta.
Ryan is the more cerebral, experienced, and accurate quarterback. But one characteristic the other two have that makes them superior is their mobility. Ryan has long been knocked for his inability to scramble, despite being an excellent pocket passer. It’s one skill that Arthur Smith should be able to leverage, regardless of which player starts this season.
In a radio interview with Andy Bunker on 92.9 The Game, Smith spoke on the subject, stating the offense will look a bit different with the mobility of the quarterbacks on the team. The Falcons’ offense will look more similar to those in Tennessee under Smith — zone rushing attack with play action rollouts built off the run. With Mariota and Ridder in Atlanta, the Falcons will continue to stress the focus of getting their passers out of the pocket.
It will also give Smith the ability in short-yardage situations to use the quarterback as an additional runner, something he did sparingly last season with the far-less-mobile Ryan. It’ll be interesting to see what Smith can accomplish with Mariota and Ridder.
The Falcons were at the bottom of the league in designed rollouts last season, but Falcons fans can expect them to be near the top in 2023. It’ll look like a much different offense, and it’s up to Smith to help cover up the deficiencies of Mariota and Ridder through play design and calling.
Designed rollouts are an offensive advantage above and beyond play action, which they usually are run in conjunction with.
Here is how often each team ran designed rollouts as a percentage of dropbacks. pic.twitter.com/hZDV9WK1lQ
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) July 15, 2022
Photographer: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire