Atlanta Falcons Preview
Overview: The Atlanta Falcons are starting to remind me a lot of the San Diego Charger teams of recent years: a team loaded with talent with seemingly most of the pieces in place that is good enough to go to the playoffs every year but for some reason they just can’t seem to get over the hump. The good news for the Falcons is they are young, the bad news is they don’t look to be any closer than they were two years back. The Falcons once again look to be in the mix but how far they go, well that remains to be seen.
Offense: Matt Ryan is the most successful QB as far as winning in Falcons history and he is just tough as they come. Matty Ice is a winner but he needs some help on the line as when there are breakdowns, he normally takes a real beating. Michael Turner is an every down back who is a workhorse but he looked spent by the end of last season and rumor has it Jacquizz Rodgers will get a lot more carries and while Rogers is small, he plays a lot bigger and tougher than his build and weight. Roddy White is over 30 now but he still has it though he dropped some easy ones and Julio Jones is a star in the making but ironically the trade for Jones, a player they needed, is leaving the holes that may keep the Falcons from finally making it to the Super Bowl. The Falcons are now desperate for a left tackle as Sam Baker isn’t an answer but Tyson Clabo is decent on the right side while Sam McClure is aging at center. Tony Gonzalez is also back as he seeks the elusive Super Bowl ring.
Defense: The offense was stuffed in the playoffs but two years back it was the defense which still has some of the same flaws. The D-line is a good one with John Abraham and Ray Edwards at the ends and Jonathan Babineux and Corey Peters man the middle. There is a void at linebacker where Curtis Lofton is gone and replaced by Lofa Tatupu who may not have anything left. Sean Weatherspoon looked improved last season and Stephen Nicolas is steady. The Falcons picked up Asante Samuel in the secondary who could help despite being on the decline as the Falcons need all the help they can get in coverage. If the Falcons don’t progress this year it will be because of the defense.