When talking about the Falcons head coach opening, one of the most attractive things about Atlanta was the roster, which some described as talented, yet underachieving or a quarterback away.
The defense was much improved under Ryan Nielsen, and though he had a lot to do with the turnaround, most of the credit should be given to Terry Fontenot for spending his cap dollars so wisely in free agency.
The Falcons GM hit on every single free agent deal, from one-year contracts to the largest of the offseason. Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree led the team in sacks. David Onyemata proved to be one of the most disruptive interior defenders in football. Kaden Elliss lived up to the billing of a versatile chess piece, and Jessie Bates III earned All-Pro honors.
Obviously, personnel has to match the scheme, but I tend to credit good defenses with talent more than the system. Conversely, great offenses are generally driven by great schemes, rather than great players. For the Falcons, that wasn’t the case.
Arthur Smith failed to find a way to generate consistent production, and though much of it can be placed at the feet of Desmond Ridder, Atlanta’s former head coach isn’t free of blame.
With that being said, the Falcons offense is just as attractive as its defense, in terms of personnel. The offensive line is solid and returns all five starters if the new regime sees fit, but the real draw is the skill group.
Raheem Morris, asked what he likes about the Falcons' job:
"That's easy – Drake London, Bijan Robinson."
— Daniel Flick (@ByDanielFlick) February 5, 2024
He obviously meant to include Kyle Pitts, but you get the point. The trio of top 10 draft picks could lure any head coaching candidate. Now, the quarterback vacancy still needs to be filled, but the bones are in place for Raheem Morris and Zac Robinson to help this offense realize its full potential.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire