Calais Campbell thinks the Falcons could be a problem in 2023

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The feeling around the Falcons organization is beginning to shift, and while the national media may not quite realize it yet, this is no longer a rebuilding group. They won seven games last season and have made massive improvements throughout their roster this offseason. If Desmond Ridder is better than people expect, they won’t just win the NFC South; the Falcons could even make some noise in the postseason.

One of the biggest signings of the offseason was veteran defensive end Calais Campbell. The 36-year-old is one sack shy of 100 for his career and will likely head to Canton once he hangs up his cleats. Campbell may not be the All-Pro he once was, but he’s still a productive player, recording 5.5 sacks a year ago. And the fact that he chose the Falcons over other playoff-caliber teams suggests he believes in what Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot are building in Atlanta.

Campbell met with the media on Monday for the first time since inking his new deal, and he expressed what made signing with the Falcons enticing and what his role will be with the team in 2023.

It’s premature to call the Falcons favorites in the NFC South because Desmond Ridder remains an unknown. However, it’s fair to say they have as good a shot as anyone to win the division. The Bucs are undergoing a complete rebuild. The Panthers have a promising roster, but their quarterback situation is also an unknown. The Saints are the only team with a proven commodity at QB, but the rest of their roster will take a step back this year, and nobody should be sold on their head coach Dennis Allen. The division is up for grabs, and Campbell is right; if Ridder takes the next step, the Falcons will be playing meaningful ball come January for the first time in five years.

Campbell will be a part of a much improved defensive line that also features Grady Jarrett and David Onyemata. Those three players were often double-teamed last season, but that won’t be possible with all of them on the field at once. It will be a much-improved unit, and the Falcons finally have enough depth to still make some noise when Campbell is off the field. With another addition or two through the draft, this could be the best defensive line the Falcons have had in almost two decades.

Photographer: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire

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