Kyle Shanahan's tenure with Atlanta didn't end the way he wanted, but thanks to the work he put in over the course of two years, the Falcons' offense is equipped to build off its latest run and enjoy long-term success.
Shanahan's first campaign with the organization offered signs of what could be accomplished under his watch. The Falcons' offense gained the seventh-most yards from scrimmage in 2015 and, as it adjusted to a new playbook, became a versatile, well-balanced group.
This year, after some talented playmakers and a Pro Bowl center were brought into the fold, Atlanta's scoring attack developed into one of the best of all-time. Only six teams in NFL history have scored more regular-season points than the 2016 Falcons.
"He did a great job game planning," LG Andy Levitre said about Shanahan. "Just the way he approaches each game. We didn't run the same plays week in and week out; he changed them each week. He did a great job keeping defenses on their toes. He's a good coach. He's probably the best I've been around in terms of the way he approaches the game."
Shanahan has moved on, but his impact in Atlanta will nonetheless be felt moving forward. His experience and scheme led to a slew of key additions, and, as players mentioned Tuesday at Flowery Branch, his presence led many Falcons to gain the fortitude required to reach their ultimate goal.
"He helped us realize our potential," Levitre said. "[He put] guys in the right positions to be successful. Being able to show that throughout the season, I think [that] helped build confidence in us as a team as to what we're capable of doing."
"Kyle gave us the confidence we needed," Aldrick Robinson added. "He allowed us to become a force to be reckoned with. Now we have to carry that on next year."