FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – With no major overhaul to the Falcons' offensive personnel last season, many fans and media members had a hard time pinpointing one big reason why the unit wasn't reaching its potential.
Perhaps there was no central issue to address. Speaking to the media Tuesday, Falcons receiver Mohamed Sanu believes a focus on the finer details will help the offense get back to where it wants to be.
"Just get back to the little things," Sanu said. "When you look back on the tape, it's just little things that are miscued here and there. It was never anything big. That's the difference between a touchdown and a 20-yard gain.
"I expect us to do what we need to do to get where we need to be. Just by working, progressing and just keep getting better. Just taking it one step at a time."
Unlike last year at this time, the Falcons don't have any injury concerns that might keep the offense from beginning to sharpen their chemistry in the spring. They also have the benefit of entering Year 2 under offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, which offers a much greater level of familiarity with their play-caller.
Statistically, the Falcons offense was among the top half of the league last season. Atlanta averaged 364.8 yards per game, eighth-most in the NFL; it proved even more efficient on a per-play basis, gaining 5.93 yards, which was third-most. The Falcons also managed to sustain their drives, by converting a league-high 44.67 percent of their third-down chances.
The noticeable drop-off came in the team's scoring totals and red-zone offense. The Falcons averaged 22.1 points per game, 15th-most in the league, and they were 27th in red-zone efficiency, scoring a touchdown on 50 percent of their trips.
Improvement in the red zone was an emphasis for the Falcons last season, and head coach Dan Quinn has said it will remain one moving forward. For his part, Sanu is looking to make a greater impact near the goal line – as well as other aspects of the game.
"Most definitely," Sanu said when asked if he can play a bigger role in the red zone. "Just try to make an impact in all aspects of key situations – red zone, first [down], second down, third down. We want to get better in all areas. We're really good in certain areas, but we still want to keep getting better from where we were last year, so I'm going to definitely do my best to help as much as I can."
Consistency has been a word heard often from the Falcons' offensive players this offseason, and it will be important if the unit is to execute at its peak level. "You've got to be consistent in all areas: in the film room, in the weight room, definitely on the field," Sanu said. "It's all about practicing deliberately, preparing deliberately, having detailed work and going to work with a purpose."