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Will the Falcons further improve in the red zone this season?

The Falcons should be better in the red zone in 2015, and The Falcoholic explains why.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons were a much more efficient red zone offense in 2014 than they were the year before, but the team's performance there still was unbalanced. The team was heavily reliant on Julio Jones and Roddy White once they were close and primed to score, and while they were sixth overall in red zone efficiency, you don't have to use your imagination much to craft a scenario in which the 2015 Falcons will be better.

There are two simple reasons for my optimism, listed here in no particular order.

1) Better running back and offensive line play

Steven Jackson was much-maligned, but he was a fairly effective short yardage option for the Falcons, albeit not a dominant one. The issue was that the Falcons had very few worthy red zone options behind him, and a busted-up offensive line only bought him so much room to work with in the first place.

In 2015, the Falcons have a more run-friendly pure zone blocking scheme with a reasonably healthy starting five. A better line will do wonders for the Falcons' ground game in general, but the addition of Tevin Coleman gives them a tough, blazing fast runner. Devonta Freeman could be a pass catching option out of the backfield, while a healthy Antone Smith is enough to make defenses paranoid no matter how far away from the end zone he is.

I'm a little concerned about the lack of a true big back on the roster, but better line play and three multi-talented backs should be enough to make the Falcons a little better in the red zone. Coleman could be truly dangerous if he catches on early.

2) Improved receiving corps

This is the biggest reason. A year ago, you had Julio Jones, Roddy White and occasionally Devin Hester and Levine Toilolo as legitimate red zone options. Harry Douglas has always been a useful receiver in the open field, but not much of an option when you get close to scoring, and there just weren't a lot of

Fast forward to 2015 and a lot has changed. Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki bring soft hands to the receiving corps, and tight ends who have the ability to catch paired with any kind of size are nice to have once you get close and the defense tightens up. Then there's Leonard Hankerson, who offers real height and hops (6'2") if he can stay healthy. The Falcons were missing those options a year ago, and having additional threats takes just a little bit of pressure off of Jones and White.

This is all hypothetical, of course, but I think the Falcons could have a truly dangerous red zone offense  in 2015. There are several small improvements in the offing that could translate into a major difference, and with the team's need for a great offense to cover for an improving but still uncertain defense, that could be a huge deal for Atlanta.