EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 08: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons rolls out of the pocket as he looks to pass against the New York Giants during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at MetLife Stadium on January 8, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
The concept of a window is overrated, in my opinion. Most teams do not simply break down, all at once, and turn from a championship contender into a pile of arthritic limbs and stiff knees. When a car up and dies, it's usually one piece, one component, not the whole car collapsing at once. You replace the affected pieces and you move on.
In the last decade or so, there's only been a handful of teams that I've seen definitively have their window shut. The old and Barry Bonds-less San Francisco Giants were one of them, as were the ramshackle Detroit Pistons. But that was caused less by age and dumb luck than by the willingness to sell off pieces, to start again, to destroy a working continuity.
The Atlanta Falcons have spent the last four years experiencing that kind of continuity, changing only a handful of pieces a year. That led to a franchise-record run of success but didn't do much for the team come playoff time. Now the team has re-tooled slightly by bringing on new coaches.
This is one case in which a window applies. This team will be more or less intact save a handful of players from 2012-2013, and presumably will have the same coaching staff unless a disaster strikes.They have very few impact free agents in 2013—William Moore, Jonathan Babineaux—and a nearly full slate of draft picks. Assuming this team takes even a modest step forward thanks to the new coaches, these Falcons should be able to contend and contend strongly these two seasons.
Does that mean the Falcons will be bad in 2014? Definitely not. But this is one hell of an opportunity to win while the team has its prized core in place, players like Matt Ryan are still under 30 and John Abraham is still playing, period. The time is now.
What are your thoughts on the next two seasons?