Kyle Shanahan already excited about next year with Falcons

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has taken his share of criticism from the outside world this season while his players struggled to adjust to the new scheme.

Shanahan, who is confident in his system, isn't worried about such perception. He just wants the offense to keep making strides going into next season.

Maybe Dan Quinn will make some coaching changes after the season concludes Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. But Shanahan, in the first year of a three-year contract, sounded confident about continuing to build his relationship with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and the rest of the offense.

The 8-7 Falcons enter their final game Sunday ranked ninth in total offense at 371.4 yards per game, but 21st in scoring at 21.5 points per game, an indication of their struggles in the red zone. They rank 17th in rushing yards per game at 101.3, with Freeman carrying the bulk of the load, 20 yards shy of 1,000 for the season. But the offensive balance Shanahan has desired all season hasn't been consistent.

"I think we have accomplished some things this year, but we definitely didn't accomplish what we set out to do," Shanahan said. "And I've never been looking forward to an offseason so much to where I think we can improve in a lot of ways, and I know we're going to. And I really look forward to getting this started next year."

Shanahan was asked about his biggest regret this season.

"Not getting a chance to go to the playoffs," Shanahan said. "You know, that's everyone's goal, to get into the playoffs so you have a chance of reaching the goal that everyone has, and that's winning the Super Bowl. Anytime you don't make the playoffs, that's a big disappointment. And usually, when it's all said and done, there's usually only one team at the end that's happy. I'm pretty much upset every year because I haven't been a part of winning a Super Bowl yet."