I'm sure many Falcon fans, myself included, did not expect the team to be where it is now before or during the preseason. Actually, I am sure many of us expected a team that would have trouble winning big games mainly in the fashion of last year. By this I mean a defense that struggled to make crucial stops or that gave up far to many points, and an offense that had hard time playing catch up or rarely lived up to it's potential. With a new Offensive and Defensive Coordinator coming in there was hope for change, but it was hard to imagine how this year would pan out. Especially with the addition of Asante Samuel and the presence of some key injuries stirring up already interesting expectations for the 2012 - 2013 season. As we would find out from the the first game of the season, this year was different.
You can attribute the teams success thus far to the scheme of the new coordinators and possibly the coaching in general, but in the end the players have to play. There is an indisputable presence of growth in this team. The Falcons are NOT the same team from previous years and I believe the success of this year is due to the important growth of the team as a whole. It may be too early to judge individual growth since the season is far from over, but there are players that to me have shown an immense amount of improvement. Here are my top two improved players from each side of the line of scrimmage:
- Matt Ryan, maturity and confidence at it's finest
- Jacquizz Rodgers, crazy agility and wins one-on-one match ups consistently
- Jonathan Babineaux, great run stopper and tackles very well
- Robert McClain, not with the team last year, but has shown consistent improvement throughout the year and is one our most reliable corners in coverage