Who should be blamed for Atlanta's offensive woes?

The Falcons' offense is a mess. Can it be fixed in time to save Atlanta's season?

So who is to blame for this – Matt Ryan or Kyle Shanahan?

That’s the debate raging in the Atlanta Falcons’ fan base right now. With the Falcons sporting a five-game losing streak, there are many questions as to what’s happened to the Atlanta offense? It’s up to the quarterback (Ryan) and the offensive coordinator (Shanahan) to figure things out.

They both maintain nothing is wrong, while head coach Dan Quinn is standing by his assistant coach.

But there is no doubt that something is wrong.

The Falcons averaged 32.4 points per game in the first five games – all wins. But in the seven games since, with the Falcons posting a 1-6 record, Atlanta has averaged just 16.7 points per game.

Ryan turned 30 years old back in May. Has he just gotten old? Or is the new offensive system Shanahan installed just not suited to Ryan’s skill set?

Ryan’s completion percentage – 66% - is okay. That number is right around what he’s done the last couple of years. He’s thrown 13 interceptions so far, so he’s on pace for a few more than normal. Ryan is on pace for around 4500 passing yards, which is where he’s been the last few years. He’s thrown 17 touchdowns, and that is below his normal average total.

But there’s just no flow, no chemistry in this offense. Ryan has awkward movements, including rolling out – which is something he’s not done much in his career.

The Falcons’ season is on the brink. They’ve now been caught by Tampa Bay, and Atlanta has two games remaining with the undefeated Panthers. So it’s already going to take the Falcons getting some help to make it in the playoffs.

But if they are to have any chance, especially against the Panthers, Ryan has to have a great game. Cam Newton has pass Ryan in the quarterback rankings in the NFL. That’s something that must irk Falcons’ fans.

You have to wonder if at the end of the year Quinn is going to have to make a decision. Does he want a new quarterback, or does he want a new offensive coordinator? You can’t imagine this Ryan – Shanahan relationship continuing into Quinn’s second season, especially if the offense continues to struggle.

Julio Jones is now unhappy. He hasn’t caught a touchdown in four games, and it’s obvious something is wrong with the offense.

Can it be fixed, or is it simply too late?


Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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