Atlanta Falcons Need to Open Up the Offense with More Multiple Tight End Sets
Tony Gonzalez is the greatest tight end of all time. But why can't the Atlanta Falcons get other tight ends involved in the offense?
Does Dirk Koetter not understand how to scheme for a two-tight end set?
Does he not understand that it makes logical sense to bring in the 6'8" Levine Toilolo or the 6'6" Chase Coffman into the struggling red-zone offense?
The simple of it is yes. It would make sense. The Falcons need to get this offense opened up. They didn't spend a fourth-round pick on Toilolo for nothing. They didn't bring in Chase Coffman to sit on the bench all game.
They brought in those two to legitimately learn from Gonzalez. So let them learn with him on the field and not off of it. Going with the multiple wide receiver sets without the talent for them just isn't working. Here's what should be the plan moving forward:
Get Levine Toilolo Involved
Toilolo is the traditional in-line tight end that every team needs to have. The only real difference is that he's also 6'8" and can high-point a ball in the red zone. So when the Falcons use him for less than a handful of snaps in the red zone every game, it's extremely questionable.
This is his bread and butter. Let the big power forward sit in a zone and box out the defenders for his touchdown catches. Let him run underneath and follow routes where Gonzalez has dragged the coverage away so that Toilolo's wide-open.
A great example of this was used in this play design by the New England Patriots with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. In the video, you see Gronkowski running the corner route and, underneath, Hernandez runs a flat.
Gronkowski draws the coverage, and Hernandez is wide-open in the flat for the touchdown. This is the perfect kind of play design because Gonzalez could easily draw that kind of coverage in-game, while Toilolo could get into those underneath pockets and make plays after the catch.
Instead, the Falcons don't even use the guy they spent a fourth-round pick on. The Falcons need to get him on the field and use him. They need to start using their skulls and getting the ball to Toilolo in the red zone. He can make plays with it.
Get Chase Coffman Involved
Line Coffman up at slot receiver. Line him up at tight end. Have him motion from a tight spot on the line or on the hip of the in-line tight end and split out wide. Use him to force mismatches based on his height, leverage and speed.
Coffman's not a great blocker. He never has been. But using him like the Falcons used to use Brian Finneran is one of the smartest things they could do. Finneran's role as the fourth wide receiver and as a tight end in multiple sets displayed his versatility, and Atlanta could do the same with Coffman.
While he's not the best player on the roster, it's stupid to not take advantage of someone who's 6'6" in third-down and red-zone situations. Atlanta used to specifically target Finneran in the red zone on fade routes, and this would be the ideal situation for Coffman.
Not only could they take advantage of his height, they could turn the biggest weakness on the team into a legitimate strength. But they need to start taking advantage of Coffman in order to do this.
The biggest part of Coffman getting into a huddle is that he looks like a tight end but can be used like a possession receiver. Take advantage of mismatch abilities and start using Coffman more in the offense. Otherwise, the Falcons are just wasting the talent they have on the bench.
How Would This Affect the No-Huddle?
One of the biggest worries when it comes to bringing in slower, less versatile personnel is how it affects a no-huddle. And in this situation for the Falcons, it honestly shouldn't affect the no-huddle because the Falcons have multiple tight ends who can create different looks.
The Falcons could throw teams off with the 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends) looks out of multiple sets. They could line up in sets that are normally reserved for three and four wide receivers because of the versatility of Toilolo and Coffman.
It would be especially tough for opponents to match up if they are in base personnel, while the Falcons are in their two-tight end package because they could stretch the defense wide and then compress them back in. They will force mismatches.
If the Falcons decide to not maximize their potential and continue to use undrafted wide receivers over their talented backups at tight end, then they shouldn't wonder why they can't move the ball.
Or why they are 2-6.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.
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