“We had a pretty good unit in 2012 with Roddy White, Julio Jones, Michael Turner, Tony Gonzalez — those guys were all pretty good,” Ryan said on the Green Light Podcast. “I’ve got to imagine that this is right up there with them.
Falcons 2012 Offense
We haven’t seen the offense we saw in Atlanta in 2012 in quite some time.
During that season, the Falcons ranked No. 8 in total offense and No. 7 in scoring, averaging 26 points per game. However, their passing game was a lot better than the run game. In 2012 the Falcons ranked No. 6 in passing yards and No. 29 in rushing yards.
While those stats almost mirror last seasons, the Falcons 2012 offense knew how to score. Falcons’ running back Michael Turner was leading the NFC in back-to-back rushing yards. Tony Gonzalez needs no introduction as he had just locked in his Hall of Fame career. Roddy White was hanging in the top 10 for the third season straight.
Not to mention, Julio Jones was on his way to his first 1,000-yard season, similar to where Ridley is headed this season.
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Falcons 2020 Offense
The Falcons made smart moves in early free agency with the addition of Hayden Hurst and Gurley. Matt Ryan has worked out with each of them and Ridley over quarantine and has seen what they’re all capable of.
“You’re talking about Julio in his prime, Calvin Ridley going into Year 3 coming into his own. You’ve got Todd Gurley, who is hungry who wants to prove it this year. Hayden Hurst, another guy, first-round draft pick who just ended up in a spot where, the way they were running the football, it was no fault of his own [that he didn’t have the stats].”
Ryan brings up a great point. On paper, Hurst’s stats are fairly low compared to what he’s capable of and Baltimore didn’t use his skills in the right way. Hurst now joins a tight-end friendly offense where he’ll have the chance to make a lot more plays.
Just as Julio entered 2012 awaiting his first 1000-yard season, Ridley is projected to do the same this year. Jones had 79 receptions for 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns that year.
Ridley has the chance to hit his record year and doesn’t have to compete for Ryan’s attention since he has gained a lot more respect over the offseason from him. Ryan says it’s Ridley’s year to explode too.
If there’s any word we can count on outside of what the analyst tells us, it’s Ryan’s. The Falcons went 13-3 and lost the NFC Championship by just one play. This year’s team has the hungry attitude to make it all the way.
“It’s got to be right up there, I think so,” Ryan said of the Falcons’ 2020 weaponry. “I’ve been lucky, I’ve had some great guys that I’ve played with.”