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Falcons' Playmakers Among League's Best In Key Stats


The Falcons offense during the past three seasons has averaged just less than 25 points per game and has a 33-6 record. That's kept the unit in the top third of the league in scoring during that time. What's even more exciting is the addition of new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter in the offseason and the buzz his offensive mind mixed with what the Falcons have been able to accomplish already has created.

The football analysis website is putting together their three-year rankings for a number of unique football stats including elusive rating and drop rates for tight ends and wide receivers. The stats show Atlanta's top playmakers among the best in the league in these key attributes at the positions. They also echo something that Koetter has been saying about his offense during the offseason.

In discussions about the specific scheme the Falcons will run under Koetter, the coordinator has been clear to avoid anything specific, but has said the talent on the offensive side of the ball will dictate what they do and what they do well. Fortunately for Koetter, the talent is of both high quality and high quantity.

"We have a lot of good players on the offensive side," Koetter said during June's minicamp. "We're going to try to put those guys in positions to make plays. We've got guys that can do it."'s elusive rating of running backs shows Michael Turner among the league's best at earning yards after contact. The elusive rating is a forumla based on carries and receptions, forced missed tackles and yards per carry after contact. Turner's rating over the past three years is the third-highest in the league.

His number is especially impressive considering he's been essentially the workhorse running back for the Falcons.

"Turner's mark of 2.9 yards per carry after contact leads the league over that time and the numbers both players have maintained despite the volume of touches is truly remarkable," Sam Monson of wrote. "You're always going to taper what you do scheme-wise to fit the strengths of the players. You're going to play to your strengths and hide your weaknesses."

While Roddy White didn't finish in the top 15 among receivers for their drop-rate percentage, he was identified as the receiver that had the second-most targets in the NFL during the last three years. White's among the league leaders in drops during that time, but it's not as alarming considering the stats he's put up during that time with the volume of targets. White has gotten a significant level of production from his targets and even if he shares some of those targets going forward with other Falcons receivers, it's unlikely that White's production will decrease tremendously.

Tight end Tony Gonzalez is second among the position in drops during that time, but his reason for that placement is the same as White's. His 4.6 percent drop rate is third among tight ends, indicating that he's as good as people think he is at securing catchable passes. Gonzalez' is a future Hall of Famer, but even at 36 he's still among the best playing the position currently.

Stats can sometimes lie, but the beauty of's statistics are they're acquired by looking at every snap in every game of the league. Their stats come from complicated mathmatical formulas, but that's not why they're good. They're good because they examine the most important elements of a player's position to determine just how good he really is.

White, Gonzalez and Turner's place among the best in the league at what they're expected to be good at indicates a positive future for the Falcons. Even if Koetter is able to marginally improve the Falcons offense, it's still going to place them among the best in the league.

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