1. Passing Game
Starting with the obvious, the Falcons will continue their strong ability to throw the ball all over the field. The Falcons have one of the best QB/WR duos in the game in Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Expect huge years from both of these players. Kyle Shanahan has taken over the offensive coordinator duties. Shanahan is a great offensive mind and will find creative ways to get the ball in the hands of the Falcons most explosive players like Julio Jones, Devin Hester and even Antone Smith. The biggest question mark in the passing game is Roddy White. White has been a shell of himself the past two seasons with nagging injuries. He is not getting any younger and it will be tough for him to stay healthy, but if he is able to, the Falcons will be not just good in the passing game, they will be dominant.
2. Dan Quinn
I am a big believer in change. When Mike Smith took over the organization it was in shambles. Petrino ditched us, the franchise’s quarterback was in jail, and the Falcons were coming off a 4-12 season. Smith came in and turned the whole attitude of the organization around. He also made a pretty good draft pick in Matt Ryan. Quinn has the opportunity and ability to do the same thing. The organization is not in nearly as bad of shape as it was when Smith arrived, and Quinn has the opportunity to do something special. He seems to have the same sort of no nonsense attitude that Smith had when he arrived. He is a defensive guy that needs to fix the defense. If the defense can become a strength, the Falcons will be a force in the NFC for years to come. Also, some of Mike Smith’s in-game decisions over the years have been questionable. Quinn will be better.
3. Defensive Line
This may sound crazy, but yes, the defensive line will be a strength in the 2015 season. After being one of the worst groups in all of football the last two seasons, changes have been made. Vic Beasley was drafted to be the cornerstone pass rusher this franchise has needed since the departure of John Abraham. Beasley is a freak athlete and reminds me a lot of Von Miller from the Denver Broncos. He will be a force at the LEO position for this season and years to come. The Falcons also brought in a bunch of new faces in free agency to bolster the line. None of them were crazy, but Adrian Clayborn is a guy to watch. He is a nasty player that has struggled with injuries over his career, but if he can remain healthy he will be a force for the unit in 2015. The biggest overall change to the defensive line this season is depth. The Falcons have a multitude of options on the line this season and some of them will have to pan out. This group will be more than just improved in 2015, they will be good.
Perhaps another surprise, but the cornerback position will be another strength for the Falcons in 2015. The Falcons already feature a lock down corner on one side of the ball in Desmond Trufant. He is without a doubt the best player on the defensive side of the ball. He can play one on one with anybody in the league and expect to see the best year of his career so far this year. Alford will likely start at the corner across from Trufant, but if he continues to struggle like last season expect Collins to take his spot. Collins will likely start as the nickle corner, but it is clear Quinn would like him to eventually be outside with his size. I was not sold on Collins on draft day, but Quinn loved this guy and loves his size and ability. Seattle’s defense features monstrous corners like Collins, and I do not mind copying their scheme at all. Whatever happens, all of these guys will benefit from the better defensive line this season. It is nearly impossible to guard receivers when the quarterbacks have all day in the pocket. The new an improved defensive line will not allow QBs to sit in the pocket for long, and the cornerbacks will be able to do their jobs more effectively.