Dan Quinn: Falcons 'missed the mark' in run game in 2019

ATLANTA – Falcons coach Dan Quinn will use the offseason to evaluate every aspect of the 2019 season.

At the top of the list of areas he wants improvement in is Atlanta's run game. For the second straight year, the Falcons have finished at the bottom of the league in rushing offense.

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In 2018 the Falcons had the 27th-ranked rushing attack, averaging 98.3 yards per game. In 2019, the Falcons finished the year with the 30th-ranked rushing offense, averaging 85.1 yards per game.

"We did not hit the mark we were hoping to accomplish in that spot, but at the end of it, that's one of the things, when we say tweak it and work it to go, that identity, it has to come through," Quinn said during his season-ending press conference. "The fact that it didn't, I'm not happy about that, but I also know that it is going to be addressed as we're moving forward."

Quinn cited the low number of rushing attempts in the first half of the season played a role in the Falcons' inability to run the ball efficiently.

The Falcons want a balanced offense that starts with success in the run game to help set up Atlanta's high-octane passing attack.

"We've got to have better balance, and that has to come through in the way that we do that," Quinn said. "What you're looking for in the run game, it's not just the total number, the number of attempts or anything, it's the efficiency at which you can do it. We are not backing off of it."

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the Falcons will continue to "re-build" the offensive line. Four of the Falcons' five starting offensive linemen are under contract for the upcoming season: Alex Mack, Jake Matthews, Kaleb McGary and Chris Lindstrom.

Wes Schweitzer started the last few games of the Falcons' season at left guard and is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins on March 18th.

Running back Devonta Freeman is also under contract for the upcoming season but the Falcons could add competition at the position. Freeman finished the year with 656 yards on 184 carries and two touchdowns.

Quinn and Dimitroff didn't want to address the future of Freeman or any players at this point but did mention they have some tough decisions to make moving forward regarding their personnel.

"But I would say we're really proud of the work that he [Freeman] put back in," Freeman said. "He did an exceptional job. His energy, his attitude, his fight, it was always on point. But as the life of a competitor, we've got tough decisions ahead. So, way too early for us to put in too many spots."

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will return for a second season and Quinn believes under his leadership the Falcons will be able to get this part of their offense where it needs to be.

"I think we'll be deeper and more balanced as we get into '20. That's a big part of our offseason for sure," Quinn said.

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