As I caught the highlights of the Broncos-Falcons game, I was reminded that Matt Ryan is working with a new offensive coordinator this year. The results are clearly pretty darn good so far as the Falcons offense seems to have taken another step forward.
Before everyone starts clamouring for a new offensive coordinator, let's look closer at the Atlanta situation.
The new offensive coordinator in Atlanta is Dirk Koetter, most recently of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars. Absorb that for a moment. The man who's drawing praise for his early work in Atlanta (rightfully so, I should add) was the man who last year coached Blaine Gabbert. Now I'm going to step out on a limb here and say that Dirk Koetter didn't suddenly become brilliant on the flight from Jacksonville to Atlanta. Koetter was likely a good coach who was extremely fortunate that he was hired by Atlanta after being fired from the Jags. Suddenly with a plethora of weapons at his disposal and experienced players to work with, his schemes look a lot better.
This example is so intriguing because the reverse situation is playing out as well.
Mike Mularkey was Koetter's predecessor in Atlanta. He received a lot of hatred from the Falcons fans, but I feel that's because it's rare for fans to like their offensive coordinator. They felt he was too conservative, a common complaint in many fanbases. Mularkey however should be given credit for helping Matt Ryan develop into the QB he is now. Make no mistake, Ryan's production this year is not only because of Koetter but in part because the early work with Mularkey has paid off. Koetter's job has been to build on the foundation provided by Mularkey. Mularkey's team, by the way, looks downright awful. Did he get dumber all of a sudden? Of course not.
What all this is meant to be an example of is that personnel is a huge factor. Palmer's offense is still a work in progress. Yes, he has things to work on as well. Yes, he needs to put players in position to make plays. However, he needs help. He's not out there missing blocks. How different would his offense look if he had an offensive line? What if he had a running back that was reading the plays better? How many times have we seen a receiver mess up something basic?
The players need to execute the schemes and at this point that's not happening. Palmer's not perfect, but the jury's still out on his hiring.