Is Arthur Blank expecting a Falcons playoff berth in 2023?

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Though some Falcons fans would have you believe otherwise, Arthur Blank is one of the best owners in the National Football League. With Dan Snyder out, the crown for worst owner has shifted to Jimmy Haslam, Dean Spanos, Stephen Ross, Cal McNair, and most recently Jim Irsay, who has faced backlash surrounding Jonathan Taylor and other running back contracts. It’s a stark reminder that it could be much worse in Atlanta.

Still, like every other owner other than Ross, Arthur Blank wants to win, which hasn’t been happening in Atlanta recently. Now, the club is entering Year 3 of the new regime’s tenure, and expectations around Flowery Branch are growing… dramatically.

The Falcons shelled out more than $250 million this offseason in free agent contracts and extensions. Like everyone, Blank has thrown money at the problem, which should translate to wins. Following back to back 7-10 campaigns under Arthur Smith, the club’s owner is anticipating improvement.

“I expect us to win more games than we’ve won the last couple of years,” Blank told ESPN’s Michael Rothstein.

The Falcons are looking to end a five-year postseason drought, and it should be considered playoffs or bust around the locker room, regardless of whether Arthur Blank says those exact words.

It’s time to put up or shut up for this regime. A combination of the best roster and the worst division of their tenures motivates me to say this.

After dealing with a mess of a salary cap sheet the past two seasons, the Falcons are out from underneath the weight of the prior regime’s mistakes and have retooled the roster with their own guys.

Armed with a mountain of cap space this offseason, Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith bolstered the depth chart, completely overhauling the defense, specifically the front, which has long been a sore spot for this club.

The Falcons went out and added playmakers at all three levels of the defense — Jessie Bates III, Kaden Elliss, David Onyemata and Calais Campbell.

The top-end talent is obvious, but the new depth across the board is notable — Mike Hughes, Jeff Okudah, Clark Phillips, Zach Harrison, Lorenzo Carter, and Bud Dupree. 

This is all to go along with a few established stars and other ascending talents — Grady Jarrett, AJ Terrell, Arnold Ebiketie, Troy Andersen, and Richie Grant.

It’s by far the best defense since Smith and Fontenot took over. The offense is also improved from a year ago, which Blank says is arguably the best supporting cast in football.

“I think we have as many offensive tools as most, if not any, team in the NFL today,” Blank said.

Kyle Pitts is back and healthy. Drake London looks to continue building his rapport with Desmond Ridder. The Falcons also acquired Jonnu Smith, who had his best seasons under Arthur Smith in Tennessee. Bijan Robinson joins an already loaded running back room, which features 1,000-yard rusher Tyler Allgeier and Swiss Army Knife Cordarrelle Patterson.

Most importantly, the offensive line returns four of five starters, with a second-round pick in Matthew Bergeron expected to seize the starting left guard role. Continuity is an understated aspect of successful offensive lines.

The roster has dramatically improved, but it’s not just about what’s happened inside Flowery Branch.

The NFC South is wide open. It’s the worst division in football, and the Falcons have no excuse not to come out of it hosting a playoff game for the first time since 2016.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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