Atlanta Falcons: Why They Could Be the Next "Greatest Show on Turf"
The St. Louis Rams were first dubbed the "Greatest Show on Turf" during the 2000 season. But the title has also been used to describe Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts and Drew Brees' New Orleans Saints.
Matt Ryan and his Falcons could be next.
Atlanta's offense all starts under center with Ryan, who is entering his fifth NFL season and appears ready to take his career to the next level. The 27-year-old Boston College product completed 61.3 percent of his passes in 2011 for 4,177 yards, 29 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His quarterback rating of 92.2 was a career high.
Behind Ryan in the backfield is two-time Pro Bowler Michael Turner, who is coming off another outstanding season. In 2011, Turner rushed for 1,340 yards and 11 touchdowns. It was the fourth straight season he finished a year with 10-plus scores and he turned things on towards the end of the season. The way he finished suggests he could be poised for a big season in 2012.
The Falcons separate themselves from other teams at receiver, with four-time Pro Bowler Roddy White and emerging star Julio Jones. Despite battling injuries in 2011, White and Jones combined to catch 154 passes for 2,255 yards and 16 touchdowns. It is scary to think what the duo could accomplish when healthy for a full season.
Throw in future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez—who caught 80 passes for 875 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011—and you have a dangerous, versatile offense that can attack you in a number of ways.
New Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter loves to attack defenses using a vertical passing game, and with Atlanta's roster, he has the players to do it.
If everything comes together as it should for the Falcons, they could put on an epic offensive show this season. It should be fun to watch.
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