Can Falcons end 5 year playoff drought? Calais Campbell thinks so

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The Falcons haven’t played meaningful games in January and February since the 2017 season. That is a five-year playoff drought, and Calais Campbell believes it will end in 2023.

“I chose Atlanta. I like the underdog mentality here. The team definitely plays in a wide open division. If [Desmond] Ridder continues to improve, there’s no reason this team can’t make the playoffs,” the veteran said in his opening press conference.¬†

Despite the Falcons rolling with an unproven quarterback in Desmond Ridder, Calais Campbell is convinced the team is in win-now mode. It’s clear what the team is telling themselves and prospective free agents.

It’s not exactly rare to see players join a new team and praise the club; in fact, it’s expected. So, none of this is exactly groundbreaking news, but hearing an All-Pro veteran speak that highly of the Falcons’ leadership should reaffirm fans’ confidence in the new regime.

Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot have had their fair share of missteps, but no GM and head coach is expected to bat 1.000, especially a pair of first-timers. It’s not like Campbell is completely foreign to the situation in Atlanta.

He was a part of the 2017 Jaguars team that made it to the AFC Conference Championship. That Jacksonville club was led by a young Blake Bortles and played a similar brand of football that the current Falcons want to play. However, that Jags defense was far more talented than Atlanta’s current group. The similarities aren’t 1:1, but if you squint and close one eye, you can see Campbell’s vision.

Calais Campbell chose the Falcons over several more attractive destinations. The Ravens, Jaguars, Bills, and even the Jets, if they land Aaron Rodgers, are all better situations than Atlanta. However, Campbell doesn’t see it that way. The $7 million contract certainly helps, but there seems to be underlying motivations in his decision, not just money.

Let’s hope he’s right and the Falcons return to the postseason in 2023.

Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire


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