Matt Ryan isn’t going to need to learn an entirely new offense, as Dirk Koetter was his OC for three seasons between 2012 and 2014. He averaged 28.7 TDs per season under Koetter, and he was able to sustain Julio Jones and Roddy White above 1200 receiving yards.. not to mention keep Tony Gonzalez very busy as well with his 93 receptions. In 2013, Julio was forced to miss the majority of the season with a foot injury, but jag Harry Douglas was able to rack up 85 catches for 1000+ yards in his absence. Roddy White and Julio each had another 80+ reception season in 2014, so with Calvin Ridley potentially taking a step forward next year, at least we know that both him and Julio can be sustained on a weekly basis.
The Falcons did get away from the run, and even abandoned it more often than they probably should have. He’s not someone who is going to get the best out of the running game; in 2012, Michael Turner was their lead back and played all 16 games but averaged less than 14 carries per game. An aging Steven Jackson came in the next year and averaged 13 carries a game over the next two years, even with a young Devonta Freeman itching to get on the field. Sound familiar, Ronald Jones? Not saying Jones will be as talented as Freeman, but Koetter is also the same guy who pushed to keep Doug Martin on the Bucs for a little too long.
Tevin Coleman is set to become a free agent, so that leaves Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith in the Atlanta backfield for now. Freeman’s knee issues are a concern, so that combined with Koetter’s RB usage might be a reason to stay away. The hope is that if Freeman is heathy, he’ll get used in both the run and pass game, but the chances of him exceeding 20+ touches on a weekly basis is probably small.
If I’m going to invest in this offense, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley can have a big year as a duo in 2019. Austin Hooper caught 71 passes last year, and can take another step forward as well. Tony Gonzalez was obviously a legend, but he did continue to thrive in Koetter’s offense in each of the last two years of his career with 120+ targets. Tight ends were a huge part of the Tampa Bay offense, and former head coach Mike Mularkey is the new tight ends coach in Atlanta- can’t ask for more.