They may not have had much to work with, but the Falcons inability to get pressure on the quarterback, and to protect their quarterback were chief among the reasons that they were 4-12 this year. So it was of no surprise to learn that O-line coaches Pat Hill and Paul Dunn and D-line coach Ray Hamilton were fired yesterday.
The Falcons offensive line was a revolving door that featured nine different players seeing action at various positions while trying to find the right combination in order to protect Matt Ryan. That never came together and it was never more apparent then on Sunday's game against Carolina when the Falcons offensive line gave up nine sacks.
Coming into the game, the Falcons had given up 35 sacks on the season, after the game the Falcons had given up 44. That number doesn't factor in the multitude of hits that Ryan has taken this year.
The Falcons ranked last in the league in rushing yards per game at 77.9. This was largely due to the offensive line's inability to get a push in the trenches. The Falcons surrendered 81 tackles for loss as well, and averaged giving up a little over 5 TFL per game. To say the offensive line failed in both the passing and the running game would be an understatement.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons only recorded 32 sacks and 37 tackles for loss. They failed to get any consistent pressure on the quarterback all season, and outside of Jonathan Babineaux, the line as a whole completely under performed. They finished second to last in rushing defense this year.
The Falcons need better players on both sides of the ball, but someone had to answer for the lack of physical play in the trenches. Those who did answer were Hill, Hamilton and Dunn. The Falcons will begin their search for new O-line and D-line coaches this offseason.
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