The Falcons aren’t on many radars for the NFL’s top offense in 2023, and there are a couple of reasons for that.
The most impactful factor in the group not reaching its full potential is Desmond Ridder, who has a lot of pressure to be the guy.
The offense is loaded and features three high-profile playmakers in Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and Bijan Robinson. Moreover, supplemental weapons like Cordarrelle Patterson, Tyler Allgeier, and Jonnu Smith will have important roles.
The offensive line, which was one of the best units in 2022, returns four of five starters along with a potential difference maker in second-round pick Matthew Bergeron. There’s no reason this offense can’t be elite in 2023, but Desmond Ridder is going to have to be much better than Marcus Mariota last season.
However, it shouldn’t be that difficult for Ridder to succeed. The offensive system will scheme open pass catchers, providing its quarterback with easy completions. It’s called positionless football, and NFL insiders are slowly highlighting what could be the surprise of the 2023 NFL season. The Falcons are a potential darkhorse to be the top offense in football.
More than anyone, Mina Kimes constantly talks about the potential of this offense, explaining on The Mina Kimes Show podcast how the positionless football approach will stress defenses.
WHO'S READY FOR POSITION-LESS FOOTBALL?!!
Had fun talking to @LedyardNFLDraft about the Falcons' unique personnel groupings, and why their offense could put defenses in a blender.
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) August 18, 2023
“[As a defense], you’re just constantly compromised by the personnel groupings that create mismatches in the formational diversity,” said Kimes. “All of these guys are doing everything right now in this offense.”
The personnel grouping Kimes describes is called 22-personnel, which means two running backs and two tight ends on the field. So, the group could look something like Bijan Robinson-Cordarrelle Patterson-Kyle Pitts-Jonnu Smith-Drake London. This would enable the Falcons offense to run and pass out of any formation, forcing the defense to try and defend both. Eventually, a favorable matchup will present itself.
Whether it’s Kyle Pitts on a linebacker or safety, Bijan Robinson or Cordarrelle Patterson on a linebacker, etc., the Falcons will be able to exploit the defense most of the time. It’s a result of the defense matching personnel groupings.
For instance, generally, when an offense comes out with two tight ends and two running backs, the defense will counter with bigger personnel — i.e., fewer defensive backs. Thus allowing for potential mismatches in the passing game as slower linebackers try to cover the Falcons’ tight ends and running backs. Or, if the defense allocates more to stop the pass, which would mean smaller bodies on the field, the Falcons can just run the ball.
Mina Kimes is one of the best and brightest at talking about Arthur Smith’s offense, and I only expect it to become more frequent and popular among her coworkers when the season starts.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire