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Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Falcons should use more no-huddle

By Pat Yasinskas

Perhaps the best thing we saw out of the Atlanta Falcons in Saturday night’s preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was this year’s debut of the no-huddle offense.

The Falcons used it on three different drives, with each resulting in a field goal. This might not sound like that big a deal, but I think it is. I think more regular use of the no-huddle offense could be a very valuable tool for the Falcons.

Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan has performed well operating out of the no-huddle offense.
They are loaded at the offensive skill positions. Throw in some heavy doses of the no-huddle system and that’s going to put a huge strain on defenses.

The Falcons have used the no-huddle offense at various times ever since the current coaching staff and quarterback Matt Ryan arrived in 2008. I don’t have statistical breakdowns available on what the Falcons have done when they’ve huddled compared to when they haven’t. But memory tells me the Falcons have had plenty of success when they don’t huddle. Memory also tells me the Falcons probably used the no-huddle system more in Ryan’s rookie year than either of the past two seasons.

I asked coach Mike Smith at one point in 2009 if the Falcons were using the no-huddle offense less than in 2008. He said that wasn’t necessarily the case, but explained his philosophy on the system. He said he didn’t want to use the no-huddle system all the time. Instead, he wanted to use it occasionally to keep defenses off balance, sort of like an NBA team that sometimes walks the ball up the court and sometimes relies on the fast break.

I think that’s a good philosophy because variety can be a wonderful thing. But I’d like to see the Falcons go without a huddle a little more. Again, I don’t have statistical breakdowns available, but my own observations tell me Ryan runs the no-huddle very well and the Falcons have had success with it.

Ryan was able to run the no-huddle offense nicely as a rookie and he’s entering his fourth year now. He has an offense that’s filled largely with veteran players.

The Falcons don’t have to suddenly turn into the Colts and go without a huddle all the time. But it would be nice to see them do it a bit more often.

They have very good offensive personnel, and receiver Roddy White has commented several times that the Falcons can be sort of like the St. Louis Rams, back when they were known as “The Greatest Show on Turf."

I’m not sure about that. But mix in a little more of the no-huddle offense and the Falcons are going to be able to confuse a lot of defenses.