The excitement in Atlanta is palpable. For the first time since 2017, there are legitimate expectations for the Falcons, which was ironically the last time the club made the playoffs.
Sure, some unrealistic fans expected Arthur Smith to make lemonade out of turds during his first two seasons, but this season is different. The Falcons fielded some pretty pathetic rosters in 2021 and 2022, just deprived of talent.
Now, the discrepancy in the teams of the new regime’s tenure is apparent; look at the depth chart, at their morale, or just ask Arthur Smith.
Asked Arthur Smith what stands out most about this #Falcons initial 53-man roster compared to years past, and he said the depth on both lines of scrimmage, and how their past draft picks have grown over the years.
"It's exciting. It's a fun group to work with, a mature group." pic.twitter.com/H39iahnY2v
— Kelly Price (@thekellyprice) August 30, 2023
“Our team is a little bit different, the way this one is currently built, certainly have got some depth along the lines of scrimmage that we’re excited about. Some guys we’ve invested in early.”
That’s the most obvious difference — the trenches. Grady Jarrett has been a one-man wrecking crew for much of his career, but that’s changed in 2023. Starters from a year ago are taking a backseat to the offseason acquisitions. Ta’Quon Graham played a lot of good football last year and will assume a rotational role behind David Onyemata and Calais Campbell, without even mentioning Bud Dupree and Lorenzo Carter.
It’s the most talented and deepest defensive front in recent memory. The offensive might have a depth issue but returns four of five starters to go along with a rookie second-round pick in Matthew Bergeron.
The talent upgrade is clear. This is a much different Falcons team, and it’s clear Arthur Smith is having a much better time coaching this squad compared to years past.
“It’s exciting. It’s a fun group to work with, a mature group.”
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire