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Falcons Refining No-Huddle in OTAs

Posted Jun 8, 2013

The Falcons are running a lot of no huddle during OTA sessions to facilitate a fast pace. That pace also helps players learn quicker and use the necessary communication to work without a huddle, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said.

Every team wants to play fast and players frequently relate playing fast on the field to playing well. To play fast, you have to practice fast, and that’s what the Falcons are doing right now during OTAs.

The Falcons haven’t been known as a heavy no-huddle offense under coordinator Dirk Koetter, but quarterback Matt Ryan has a proven track record of operating the no-huddle with success during his time in the NFL.

Koetter said earlier this week they’re working on offense out of the no huddle during OTAs as they install the 2013 playbook.

“We’re doing a ton of no-huddle right now just because it makes you play fast and it makes you communicate,” Koetter said.

Using the no-huddle now in puts the onus on the players to be prepared at practice because out of the no-huddle Ryan is calling the plays at the line of scrimmage based on what he sees. Ryan is required to communicate on the fly what is happening and the other 10 players must know what is coming. Koetter said communication is key and the no huddle gets everyone up to speed quickly.

“I think it helps the players learn faster,” Koetter said. “It’s great for everybody. It’s great for the quarterbacks to be able to go through their checks and everybody has to get the signals. It’s just a smart way to work.”

Ryan’s mastery of the playbook has allowed him more freedom as his career has progressed to call his own plays during games. The Falcons worked in and out of the no-huddle frequently last year. Some games they operated the no-huddle as much as 27 percent of the time (Week 6) and during other games Ryan nixed the huddle only once, if at all.

What it shows is Atlanta’s flexibility on offense but it also demonstrates its ability to mobilize quickly into the no-huddle and use it for quick points. When operating quickly in fast drives, the Falcons are dangerous.

Last season, the Falcons scored 56 points on drives lasting four plays or fewer. In Week 12, Ryan connected with Julio Jones for a one-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. The Falcons were tied for sixth in the NFL last season in points off of drives lasting four plays or less. Six of those top seven teams went on to the playoffs in 2012.