The Atlanta Falcons weren’t prolific in the red zone last season despite ranking seventh in the league in scoring offense. This unit often stagnated at the goal line due to poor run push from the offensive line and old, rusty tires on running back Michael Turner.
Atlanta would often get by with Matt Ryan play-action to Tony Gonzalez at the goal line, and at times everyone in the building could see this coming — and sometimes still not stop it. That said, the Falcons should benefit in that regard somewhat by adding another over-30 vet this offseason in Steven Jackson.
“Steven reminds me of when Tony Gonzalez came here,” Ryan said recently, via USA TODAY Sports. “Coming in, everybody said, ‘Well, how much gas does he have left in the tank?’ That’s five years ago. And Tony has gotten better. Tony and Steven take tremendous care of their bodies, eat right and are really into how they work out and prepare. That’s why Tony has been so successful later in his career. Steven has the same personality and work ethic. … Deep down, it’s got to be exciting for him to be here as well as joining some of the guys he’s playing with.”
The Falcons ranked 10th in red zone efficiency last year, scoring touchdowns 57 percent of the time while in the red zone, which is unspectacular when you have Ryan, Gonzalez, Roddy White and Julio Jones. Jackson you hope would improve this at least marginally in 2013, though we could also see whether offensive was even more culpable in goal-line running issues.