Back by popular demand (@braedenjones27), I’m predicting the Falcons way too early Falcons MVP for this upcoming season. Obviously, this exercise is pure entertainment and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. After all, any of my candidates for the MVP could go down in training camp with a season-ending injury. It is the dead period in professional football, so let’s have some fun.
The most likely winner of this award is the most important player on this football team and most responsible for the success — Matt Ryan. For the Falcons to exceed expectations this year, Arthur Smith will have to extract everything he can from Ryan. He’s the catalyst of this offense and will continue to be until his time in Atlanta ends.
Though Ryan is the driving force of the operation, the man behind the curtain is a potential MVP candidate too — Arthur Smith. Many believe that Tennessee’s personnel was the major factor in the Titans’ success, not Smith. Derrick Henry is a large part of that argument, but I believe Smith realizes he must adapt his scheme to the personnel afforded to him.
The two obvious candidates can potentially overshadow the importance of our other MVP candidates, which live on the other side of the ball — the obvious weakness of this team, defense. If A.J Terrell were to take a second-year leap similar to Jaire Alexander, this defense immediately becomes more consistent. If Terrell can match the opposing offense’s top wideout, it will give Dean Pees more flexibility in his coverages and game plans.
Highlighting Terrell immediately brings us to our last candidate — Dean Pees. The former Titans defensive coordinator will be critical to this team’s success as a whole, not just the defense. For a first time head coach in Arthur Smith, someone with Pees’ experiences is invaluable. But more importantly, his personnel is below average. If this defense, and subsequently team, is to succeed, Pees will have to do some of his best work to date.
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