Falcons C Todd McClure stopped short of pointing fingers Monday when he responded to criticism of the offensive line’s run blocking. He made it clear, though, per reports, that he believes those pointing their finger at the O-line for the team’s struggle to convert when running the ball in short-yardage situations are missing the bigger picture.
Head coach Mike Smith seemed to agree with McClure’s assessment of the situation Monday.
“We’ve got to do a lot of things better,” Smith said of the problems in short yardage. “It’s not one position group. It’s not one guy. It’s the entire offense when you’re talking about having a successful play, it’s basically three levels, whether it’s a run or a pass. We did not execute well. We had too many unblocked guys in the hole. It’s hard to get running that way and there are a number of reasons why, and we’ve addressed those in the meeting today and we’ll continue to address them.”
One position that the team might decide to address again is fullback. It has been an issue ever since they lost 2010 Pro Bowler Ovie Mughelli to injury around the midpoint of last season. Atlanta cut Mughelli in the offseason and planned to replace him with rookie Bradie Ewing, but Ewing suffered a knee injury and was placed on injured reserve before the season. Lousaka Polite, who beat out Mike Cox for the starting job in the preseason, fell out of favor with the coaching staff and was released last week.
The Falcons replaced Polite with Cox in an effort to improve in those short-yardage situations, but they did not get the results they had hoped for in Week 10.