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Falcons wideout Mohamed Sanu says offense this year ‘totally different’

Mohamed Sanu, Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons entered the season hoping to keep the offensive form that brought them within one quarter of winning the Super Bowl. Instead, their struggles are well-documented after losing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to the San Francisco 49ers.

Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu noted that the offense is still coming together under offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian when he appeared on PFT Live on Thursday evening. Sanu views the offense as 

“Just two totally different offenses as far as we aren’t the same as we were last year. We’re still getting the little details together. I mean, each season is different in itself anyways so we’re trying to be the best we can be this year. We’re not trying to mimic anything last year.”

Matt Ryan

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio pointed out that this is not what Sanu said in May about the offense:

“He’s come in and he’s adding a lot of his offense in with a mixture of the offense that we had in the past,” Sanu said about Sarkisian. “Everything is just coming out smooth. It seems like him and [quarterback] Matt [Ryan] gel well and everybody in the offense gels well with him.”

It appears that Sanu’s recent assessment is closer to reality, and it makes sense. Every coordinator runs an offense differently. Shanahan and Sarkisian are no different. The same personnel can be put into two completely different schemes and achieve variable results.

The current results show a team struggling to find its groove. Atlanta led the NFL with 540 points scored in 2016, and finished second in total yards 415.8. This year, the Falcons still rank fifth in total yardage, but their scoring is down by almost 12 points per game.

The once mighty passing game appears to be the biggest problem. Quarterback Matt Ryan’s completion percentage is down slightly and he’s averaging 46 fewer passing yards per game. His touchdown-to-interception ratio has dropped dramatically from 38:7 to 9:6. The passing game simply is not as efficient as it was last season.

There are other explanations for the Falcons struggles as well. Opponents likely spent the offseason studying film, learning tendencies, and coming up with plans to stop the Falcons.

The traditional Super Bowl hangover may also be a reason for their struggles. That’s where Sanu’s comments come into play. Every season is different; his team is different. The roster remains loaded with offensive talent, but coaching changes and more prepared opponents provided new challenges for the Falcons. Fortunately for Atlanta, there is still plenty of time to fix the issues.