You can trace the majority of the Falcons' 2013 woes to the lines. The Falcons' offensive line was one of the worst units in football, while the defensive line lacked the pass rushing punch necessary to punish great offenses. Combine the two with some injuries and mistakes and you get a fiasco.
The Falcons recognized that. They fired Ray Hamilton, who had been with this team as the defensive line coach all six seasons Mike Smith has coached here. They canned Pat Hill and Paul Dunn. While Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith avoided that fate, there's no question they and this football team are completely screwed if they can't get the lines fixed.
There's also no question that the Falcons will need to add better players immediately for that to happen. Jonathan Massaquoi looked promising at defensive end and Joe Hawley was a big step up on Peter Konz at center, but draft picks and free agent signings will go a long way toward improving the Falcons' fortunes in 2014. With over $10 million in cap space likely and the sixth overall pick in the draft, this is the right time.
It was important to hear the Falcons acknowledge this, because a failure to do so would indicate they don't view it as the team's fatal flaw. Dimitroff copped to being reluctant to spend free agent dollars on offensive linemen, but I'm hoping that stance will change if there's quality available. The Falcons can scarcely afford to let poor blocking and defense cost them another season.
Smith says in order to be effective, have to control the line of scrimmage. Again, the fronts look to be theme this offseason. No surprise.
— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) December 30, 2013
How would you address the line?