Will Brinson at CBS Sports wrote a comprehensive preview of the 2014 Atlanta Falcons last week, and it's definitely worth a read. One thing that stood out to me while reading it is Brinson's optimism that the Falcons can bounce back in 2014.
Except that it's not optimism per se. Brinson lays out well-reasoned arguments why the Falcons will be more competitive in the coming season, and he's not predicting a crazy turnaround for the team, predicting a modest 9-7 season.
Brinson's ideas on what went right for Atlanta--not much--and what went wrong--the offensive line, the run game, injuries, boy, this list is long--are spot on. He also adds some thoughts on moves the Falcons can make via the draft and free agency to address their deficiencies. What Brinson adds to this same conversation we've had over and over again since the 2013 season is the refreshing perspective of someone who lacks emotional investment in this team.
There are many readers here at The Falcoholic who are disappointed that Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff will retain control of this Falcons team through the 2014 season, and I really do understand that perspective. Brinson points out, with the benefit of objectivity, that Mike Smith in particular has a track record in Atlanta that warrants the opportunity to right the ship. Consider, also, that the Falcons have Matt Ryan locked up long-term. Ryan will be 29 this season, and bringing in a new GM and head coach to rebuild after one poor season exacerbated by key injuries while Ryan is in his prime would just be a bad business decision.
Brinson's 9-7 projection for Atlanta in 2014 feels realistic. We'd all like to see the team make a more significant turnaround from last season, but they have a lot of work to do and are facing a tough slate of opponents in the coming season, including two division rivals that made playoff appearances in 2013.
The whole piece is definitely worth reading. What are your thoughts on Brinson's projections and perspective?