The Falcons saw their average points per game take a steep drop between 2016 and 2017, which led to a variety of opinions about what went wrong for the team last season.
Much of that discussion focused on the switch at offensive coordinator from Kyle Shanahan to Steve Sarkisian, but play calling had little to do with one clear Atlanta shortcoming. It doesn’t matter what play you call if you drop a pass thrown to you and the Falcons were credited with a league-high 30 drops last season with seven of them turning into interceptions after being missed by the intended target.
During an appearance on 92.9 The Game, Falcons coach Dan Quinn confirmed that number was “way higher than we would be anywhere near comfortable with” and that fixing the issue is a main priority heading into next season.
“I’ll tell you there’s a number of ways that we are going to address that, and it’s not just from the coaching side, which is kind of an exciting thing,” Quinn said. “This is a player-led team in a lot of respects, so a lot will be put on the players as well to make sure that focus, that intensity, to make sure that we are taking care of the ball like crazy. I treat drops much in the same fashion — if the ball is everything and if we’re dropping it, where was the focus lost? — almost like a fumble, so to speak. We’ve got work to do in that area. It wasn’t just one player, and it wasn’t just one position. Because, if that had been the case, that would have been an easy way to remove that person. We’ve got work to do, but it’s going to be players and coaches working that [problem] together like crazy to make sure that is a stat that I hope we never have a conversation about again.”
A significant change in drops should have a significant impact on the entire offensive unit, something that would serve the Falcons well as they try to reverse the course they took last season.