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'You're going to have to try to find us': Falcons lean into position-less football ideology 

This identity is something the Falcons have been building towards for years. Has it finally reach its truest form in 2023? 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Picture this: The Falcons break the huddle in the first game of 2023. Drake London and Kyle Pitts, now healthy and back to 100 percent, shift out wide. Tyler Allgeier and Bijan Robinson post up in the backfield. Prior to the snap, Desmond Ridder sends Cordarrelle Patterson in motion. It's not a traditional look, what with three "running backs" on the field at once and a "tight end" playing an extremely prominent role in the pass game. It's all relative, though, and has been for a while.

This nontraditional look is one the Falcons have been building towards since Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot took over in 2021, the they drafted a tight end with the No. 4 overall pick. It's a plan that was set in motion by a player many deemed a unicorn because of his skillset. It's a plan still in motion as the Falcons drafted a running back in 2023, one they'd rather call an offensive weapon.

That phrase - offensive weapons - has come up a lot, too, in recent years. The Falcons first used it when they signed Patterson to a one-year deal in 2021. That deal has since turned into two extra years, 1,300 rushing yards, 670 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns.

So, no. This idea of gathering offensive weapons is not new in Atlanta. It's something the Falcons have been working towards for years. Yes, years. It's this year, though, that the Falcons hope to reap the most fruitful benefits of the plan because of the full scope of the harvest they've gathered.


It's called position-less football, and it's something Smith first hinted at in 2021, but spoke at length about in 2022. Now, well into 2023, it's the players who have taken those words and added them to their own vernacular.

"Position-less football," London said in his first media availability of OTAs this May. "You're not going to know where anyone's lining up."

More so: "You're going to have to try to find us."

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London said the Falcons style of ball in 2023 will be aggressive and physical, but he hinted at a third descriptor, too: Mysterious. It's this mystery in how one can use some of these players simultaneously that could mean the most to the Falcons in an important year for the organization.

"We have a lot - a lot - of weapons," Allgeier said. "It's all the right building blocks, too, and getting all the right people on the field and just have everyone ball. It's nice to have - obviously - a really great offensive line, but just having the weapons to give Desmond choices. I think that's the biggest thing."

Allgeier brings up an important point, too. Call this tactic of position-less football mysterious or nontraditional or something with sprinklings of Total Football (for all the Ted Lasso watchers out there), but at its core its something that should really help benefit one person most thoroughly: Ridder.

Half the battle with young quarterbacks is putting them in situations to be successful early. Enter Ridder, who's stepping into a situation that is (in theory) one that should help him more than hinder him. He has weapons, like Allgeier said, a lot of weapons. All he has to do is get the ball in their hands. Easier said than done, of course, but the Falcons have done the work to help him. They brought back nearly the entirety of arguably the best run blocking offensive lines in the league, and added Robinson to a collection of skill players already set in place to help Ridder.

For a young quarterback, this set up could be his very best friend what with all of its potential illusion.

Regardless, though, it's something the Falcons have been building towards piece by piece since 2021. Two years later, have they reached their truest, most impactful form? This season will be the judge.

Take a look at the 2023 Atlanta Falcons in action during OTA practice.

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