Link: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2105562-potential-answers-for-the-atlanta-falcons-biggest-offseason-question-marksI like to visit fan sites for our other team rivals just to see what things they are worried about with their team. Today, I ran across this article on the Falcons. So I'm curious, what we think about these 5 questions marks.Here's my take:1. Improved Running game. I'm not sure that Atlanta's running game will really improve. While I believe that Atlanta improved their offensive line in the off season, I think this is a team that is going to pass first and run second. Looking at the backs, there isn't anyone on that roster that I would take over any of the top 3 guys we have on our roster. JMO, I'll concede that they might have a marginally improved running attack this year because of the offensive line improvement, I honestly don't think they are going to have a 'very good running game this year'. 2. How will they replace Tony Gonzalez. I agree here, Atlanta isn't going to be able to replace him, at least not this year. Toilolo may be the answer long term, but I don't know enough about him to say that he'll be one of the top TE's this year. I *do* know that Ryan is going to miss Gonzo, quite a bit. It's going to be interesting to see how Ryan plays without his #1 safety blanket.3. Offensive line. Here I do think Atlanta improved. Mike Tice is a good offensive line coach and the Falcon's made some good additions to the offensive line. If there was another offensive line in the NFL that was as bad as ours was last season, you'd have to go with Atlanta's. Ryan will get more time, should get hit and sacked less and the running backs should see a bit more light, but the question is will it be enough? The Saints and our defense clearly improved this off season, I'm not sure if the improvements in the Falcon offensive line are enough to off set those changes. However, offensively, I expect Atlanta to be a pretty good team. 4. Linebacker depth: When Weatherspoon went down, that created a big problem for Atlanta, similar to us having David go down. The problem for the Falcon's is that they really have little experience in the linebacking corp. Also, if they are moving to a 3-4, a lot of that inexperience is going to be one the field. Honestly I think the Falcons are going to struggle a lot defensively this year.5. Pass Rush. Seriously, Massaquoi? He sounds a lot like what we hoped we'd get from Bowers last season. Even if Massaquoi gets his 10 sacks, I don't see how this line can be expected to get to 40-45 sacks. They have a lot of run stoppers up front, but not much that screams pass rush to me. I think the pass rush will come from the linebackers and not so much from the defensive line. When all is said and done though, I think the defense will be at the same 33 or so sack total that they had last season. When I look at Atlanta, I see an improved offense, but a pretty shaky defense. However, I did think New Orleans defense was going to be pretty crappy last season, but I was clearly wrong on that one (credit Ryan with that, they guy really knows how to call a defense), and Nolan is more of a known issue now. Unlike Ryan, he's not had a killer defense in Atlanta in his couple of years there and he's making a big switch this year to the 3-4. Nolan IS a better 3-4 coach, but I don't think he's got the players yet to play at a high level. Idk, what's your take? Did Atlanta solve their issues over the off season? Did they improve enough to put us behind them?
I will have to disagree with #1, their running game is improved greatly by drafting Devonta Freeman. He is a bonafide pro running back that would have been drafted a lot earlier had this draft occurred a few years back. They will never replace Gonzalez but may find a TE someday to fill more effectively than what they have. Their OL will be improved. Tice is a good coach and Matthews was a great draft pick. I still think this position will be somewhat exposed. In the end, they are an improved squad. If I was Blank I would have cleaned house on the coaching staff (glad they didn't, imagine what that team would be like with Lovie as their coach), injuries or not, that team vastly underperformed. If their receiving corp is healthy, I think they could got to the 7-9,9-7 range. We could be battling them for a wild card spot.
Bass, I have to disagree on Atlanta running game. Freeman was a 4th round pick and even if he would have been picked a round higher in a prior year, I don’t see how you think that alone makes Atlanta’s running attack that much better. From everything I’ve read, Jackson is still their #1 option. Like I said, I see an improved running attack, but the article stated that it would be a ‘very good running attack’ which I took to mean a top 10 rushing attack. I just don’t see it. They were 24th last season and added a 3rd down back to what they had. Just don’t see it.
Bass, I have to disagree on Atlanta running game. Freeman was a 4th round pick and even if he would have been picked a round higher in a prior year, I don't see how you think that alone makes Atlanta's running attack that much better. From everything I've read, Jackson is still their #1 option. Like I said, I see an improved running attack, but the article stated that it would be a 'very good running attack' which I took to mean a top 10 rushing attack. I just don't see it. They were 24th last season and added a 3rd down back to what they had. Just don't see it.
I think their OLine will prevent them from having a top 10 running game. I think Jackson may be too old to be their #1 option and I think we saw that last year. I may be wrong, but I think Freeman is as good as any RB in the past draft. 5.9 yards per carry with 6.6 against Auburn in the national championship game.
That’s fine they drafted Freeman, but there problem with the run game is more than having a young capable back. Their OL is still weak even after getting Matthews. Ill be surprised if they aren’t the worst running game in the division this year.Overall I think their offense will get back in line... there's no denying their WR corps + Matty Ice is a strong combo. But they had a glaring weakness at every level of their defense and did little to fix it. A worse pass rush than us, weak LB corps - before losing Witherspoon, and a weak secondary.
That's fine they drafted Freeman, but there problem with the run game is more than having a young capable back. Their OL is still weak even after getting Matthews. Ill be surprised if they aren't the worst running game in the division this year.Overall I think their offense will get back in line... there's no denying their WR corps + Matty Ice is a strong combo. But they had a glaring weakness at every level of their defense and did little to fix it. A worse pass rush than us, weak LB corps - before losing Witherspoon, and a weak secondary.
Agreed on all fronts except I do think their OL improves. Does it improve enough to make a difference with their running game? My guess is it will vs certain teams.
Atlanta doesn’t need rushing yards so much as they just need to at least play to a draw on the line of scrimmage. They weren’t a good running team in 2012 when their offense was borderline unstoppable. They just can’t have them be as bad as they were in 2013.
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