clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Avoiding injuries will be key to the Falcons turnaround

Simply put, a healthier Falcons team is a better Falcons team.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons have added free agents, brought aboard a new coach, landed six new draft picks and generally approached the offseason like a team hellbent on reconstruction. Al that might not matter if the team can't stay healthy.

The early Mike Smith years were keyed in part by health. The Falcons of 2008-2012 weren't necessarily the deepest Falcons teams ever, but the team was able to rely heavily on its core starters with relatively little injury impact over those five seasons. That all changed in 2013 and 2014, when Atlanta lost a plurality of its offensive line starters two years in a row in addition to major ailments that crushed Julio Jones, Kroy Biermann and others in 2013, and Sean Weatherspoon in particular in 2014. Those major losses weren't the only reason the team was so mediocre those two years, but they did play a major role.

If you're like me, you're looking at this team a little nervously for 2015. The Falcons have done a nice job of adding depth and skill to the roster, but they're still a little shaky along the offensive line, and they're definitely relying on oft-injured players like Adrian Clayborn and O'Brien Schofield to add some punch to the pass rush. This team would be better than 2014 if it brought back the same roster and managed to keep it healthy, so it's fair to count on some kind of improvement whether the injury bug bites or not. Because they couldn't patch every hole in the offseason, though, it's fair to say that there are a couple of positions that have the chance to well and truly sink this team if injuries do bite. That's true of many football teams, of course.

If the Falcons do want to return to relevance and perhaps even the playoffs in 2015, though, they'll have to condition well and hope for better injury luck. Let's hope they get that luck.