2012 Atlanta Falcons Near Middle Of The Pack In Special Teams

USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons can improve the unit in 2013.

During Keith Armstrong's many interviews in 2013--more on that embarrassing process and the Rooney Rule down the line, if I can muster up the energy--his strong special teams coaching came up frequently. To the eyeball, at least, the Falcons looked like one of the better units in the league.

The numbers don't entirely bear that hypothesis out, though I still think Armstrong is a terrific coach. The Falcons ranked 18th in the NFL, which is slightly below the average, according to Rick Gosselin at the Dallas News. Here's how it was judged:

To compile the rankings, Gosselin uses the following stats: Kickoff return, punt return, kickoff coverage, punt coverage, average starting field position after kickoff, opponent's average starting field position after kickoff, punting, net punting, inside-the-20 punts, opponent's punting, opponent's net punting, field goals, field goal percentage, opponent's field goal percentage, extra point percentage, points scored, points allowed, blocked kicks, blocked kicks allowed, takeaways, giveaways and penalties.

Matt Bryant was extremely accurate and Matt Bryant was a terrific punter, but the kickoff and kick returns were not great. That was enough to bump them down. The Falcons need to improve in the return game to take the leap, but their special teams are still solid.

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