When you think of the Falcons over the last decade, what do you remember most fondly? Many will pick a Matt Ryan touchdown pass, a collective team effort against the Seahawks or an absurd Julio Jones circus catch.
All of those would be good choices, but if you stretch back to the pre-Mike Smith era, there's only a handful of players who jump out and are still with the team. There's Jason Snelling, who busts up Saints in his free time and has been one of the most useful runners, receivers and blockers this team has had in the last ten years. There's Jonathan Babineaux, who has quietly put together one of the best defensive tackle careers in team history. There's Justin Blalock, the rock solid left guard who has been the one mainstay on the offensive line since he was drafted.
These are not the best players on this Falcons team, but they are constants who have done quality work for the Falcons for a long time. It's possible that one or two of these three players will be looking for work elsewhere this offseason. That should give us pause.
Think about how much of the team's success these three players have enabled. Blalock as the rock on a line in constant flux, Jonathan Babineaux as the best pass rushing defensive tackle on the roster for most of his tenure and Snelling as one of the most versatile players on the team. They are not the superstars we love, but they're players who deserve our respect and admiration.
Salute these gentlemen. They may not be here in 2014.