For the first five weeks of the 2015 season the Atlanta Falcons were one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Thanks in a large part to an offense that averaged 32.4 points per game, the Falcons shot off to a 5-0 start.
All the sudden, though, the Falcons offense isn't so hot and a lot of people are starting to wonder why.
According to ESPN.com, one of the issues in Atlanta is that quarterback Matt Ryan has been 'a little overwhelmed' by the Falcons' playbook, which underwent an overhaul when the team hired offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in January.
Ryan has been in a rut lately and it's shown on the scoreboard. The Falcons have only averaged 16.3 points per game over their past six games, a big reason why they're 1-5 since Week 6. The Falcons have been running the ball less over the past six weeks and asking Ryan to do more, which hasn't produced great results.
Ryan has thrown eight interceptions over the past six weeks after only throwing four through the first five weeks of the season.
Ryan leads the NFL in red-zone interceptions with four, meaning that he's constantly killing scoring opportunities. According to ESPN, Ryan has gotten so frustrated that he decided to voice his offensive concerns to Shanahan "behind closed doors."
For his part, Shanahan doesn't think his offense is that difficult to master.
"This isn't the most confusing thing in the world," Shanahan said, earlier this week. "It's about playing and being in the heat of the battle and seeing and reacting. We'd be doing something else if we were all geniuses. We're all capable of learning this stuff, but that's not what this is about. It's about being through the situations, going against certain coverages, getting rushed through things and having to react to someone missing a block, having to get rid of the ball early and stuff like that."
Shanahan does understand that his offense isn't what Ryan's used to running.
"That takes time, with newer stuff. And when you've been doing something pretty consistent for seven years and you change it up a little bit, that does take time," Shanahan said. "Anytime you go through this drought we have offensively, everything's going to get magnified."
As for Ryan bringing up his concerns, the Falcons offensive coordinator doesn't have any problem with that.
"I feel like when you're comfortable with someone, you can be yourself," Shanahan said. "I'm a very fiery guy. I think Matt is, too... I argue with my close friends, my parents, and my wife probably more than anyone on this planet because we all genuinely love each other and we're tight. We know who each other are. I want the same thing with players. If a player thinks I'm messed up, I would love for him to tell me. He doesn't have to do it on the field in front of you guys or anything, but I'd love for (the player) to come up to my office and have a talk. That's never been an issue with Matt. Matt and I have a real good relationship. We're open about everything."
Ryan and Shanahan better get things turned around quickly because if they don't, the Falcons could end up making NFL history this year, but not the kind of NFL history you want to make.
If the Falcons don't make the playoffs, they'd become only the sixth team since 1970 to miss the postseason after starting 5-0.