Take a hard look at the 2013 Atlanta Falcons roster. Marvel at the multitude of problems both expected and unexpected that have cropped up over the course of the year. You can condemn the player, coach or general manager of your choice for this, but that's not what I want to talk about today.
What I want to talk about today, simply, is what we can expect from the lineup shuffles coming Thursday night. You've weighed in on your ideal lineups already, but it's worth asking what kind of play that's going to translate into. The answer? Not noticeably better, more than likely.
The biggest fixes may come on the offensive line, which could certainly have a domino effect on the rest of the offense. Having Joe Hawley playing well in the middle and the intriguing Ryan Schraeder stepping in at right tackle should help, but if the Falcons insist on trying Peter Konz at right guard again, some of that impact might be mitigated.
That's the story here. We're all excited to see what Antone Smith can do. We would love to see a little more Zeke Motta. Give us Schraeder, more Darius Johnson, a heavy dose of Levine Toilolo. We just can't expect this team to dramatically improve in one week, or even several weeks, while they're breaking in these young guys. We also can't expect all of them to work out. Half would be pretty remarkable, considering we're largely talking about late-round draft picks and UDFAs.
I put my weekly One Falcon to Watch out there because I like to try to anticipate the storyline for a game. For this game and all others going forward, you're going to want to watch carefully to see these young guys putting in work and learning on the job. They're likely to make mistakes, but we should fully anticipate that and roll with it. What's inexcusable for
The fix comes in 2014. The Falcons are finding out whether they have some of the necessary tools right now.