Our beloved Atlanta Falcons are currently 2-2 and well under expectations, but it is early in the season and there still remains hope for a great outcome. Defensively, the scheme remains the same under Coach Brian VanGorder, although execution has been up and down. As far as the offense is concerned they still have not found their way and do not seem to have established an identity. This could stem from a variety of reasons; lack of off-season preparation, implementation of new personnel, or changing of offensive philosophy. Starting with the playoff loss to Green Bay, the focus for the Falcons is to get more explosive offensively and they supposedly addressed this through the draft with the pickup of Julio Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers. However, we must look closer at something else for the Falcons Offensive schizophrenia; Offensive Coordinator Mike Mularkey.
Mike Mularkey was hired in 2008 to be the Offensive Coordinator under the new Mike Smith regime. But looking at his history, I am not exactly sure why he got hired. He first became a coordinator in 2001 for the Pittsburgh Steelers and his offense thrived. They finished ranked 3rd in the NFL. In 2002, they would follow up with the offense being ranked 5th, and falling completely off the table in 2003 by being ranked 22nd. The rushing and passing totals tell a story as well. In 2001, the Steelers passed for 3,109 yards and rushed for 1,525, using their top two running backs. In 2002, you would see the passing numbers skyrocket as the Steelers would pass for 3,991 yards using two quarterbacks while the rushing totals would decrease to 1,428. The record during this time would decrease as well falling from 13-3 to 10-5-1. In 2003, both totals would fall but the rushing totals would drop drastically to 1,244 yards combined from two running backs. They would also finish with a record of 6-10. Mularkey would get the Buffalo Bills Head Coaching Position in 2004 and would move the offense from 30th to 25th but in 2005 they would fall back to 28th in offense, using the quarterback carousel of J.P. Losman and Kelly Holcomb. He was fired after that 5-11 season. He was hired inMiamias Offensive Coordinator in 2006 and his offense ranked 29th in scoring and in 2007 under Cam Cameron, he was demoted to tight end’s coach and fired at the end of the season.
Now once again here are our beloved Atlanta Falcons who in 2008 exploded on the scene with Matt Ryan managing the game with timely passing and Michael Turner exploding for over 1,600 yards. You have also seen since then the inability to duplicate this kind of offensive production in relation to BALANCE. Matt Ryan is on pace to have his greatest season as a passer in yardage, while Michael Turner is on pace to have his worse statistical season if he plays the entire season. As far as Mularkey, he is regarded in NFL Circles as a coach who relied on gimmick or trick plays for variety and uses predictable formations and way too quick to abandon the run…..SOUND FAMILIAR!!!
Get Caught Up On “What Everybody’s Talking About” In The Sports Kingdom!!! Sports Kings Radio, Saturday & Sunday 12n-4p on 1380 WAOK(Atlanta) and waok.com Follow “The Kings” on Facebook.com/sportskingsatl and on Twitter @sportskings1380.