There is optimism surrounding the Falcons this offseason, but it’s only coming from within Flowery Branch and its fans. Atlanta is clearly rebuilding, but as I’ve said before, there should be no sweeping judgments for the new regime until they can get out from underneath the bloated, overpriced contracts they inherited from the former regime. However, outside of the Falcons, nobody thinks they’ll be anything more than an extra bye week.
The Athletic recently polled five anonymous NFL executives to see how they would rank the NFC teams, 1-16. And your Atlanta Falcons came in ranked dead last, with four voting for 16th and one voting for the 15th-worst.
16. Atlanta Falcons
Votes: 16-15-16-16-16 | Avg: 15.8 | Median: 16
No shock here. The Falcons are rebuilding and everyone knows it. Is there any way they can surprise?
“No, I just don’t think they have anything,” one of the voters said. “They have one of the worst-pass-rushing teams in the league. Couple that with their quarterback situation in combination with the offensive line and it’s tough.”
The Falcons have the least amount of cap dollars allocated to active rostered players in the entire league by nearly $20 million. The new regime is acting with one arm tied behind its back, but there are still reasons to be excited for this Falcons season, as Chase has explored.
The league has become obsessed with mobile quarterbacks, and while I don’t think signal callers must run a 4.7 40-yard dash to be successful, there are situations, like in Atlanta, where it can be incredibly advantageous. Last season, the Falcons had arguably the worst offensive line, particularly when it came to protecting the passer, and they did next to nothing to upgrade this offseason.
An elite cornerback tandem
A.J. Terrell is one of the top ascending talents at the position and was rewarded with second-team All-Pro honors last year. Opponents intentionally worked the side of the field opposite Terrell for 60 minutes, but they won’t have that luxury this season with Casey Hayward now lined up across from him.
Second year in new systems
Completely integrating new systems in the NFL is incredibly difficult. Even the best coordinators have trouble doing so in just one offseason; look no further than how the Falcons fared in their first season with Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator.
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