Coaches and players say a lot of empty things, as Falcons fans know after listening to Mike Smith and Matt Ryan press conferences for a loooong time. That forces you to take each statement and analyze it not just for whether it's true or not, but whether it means anything.
For the record, I think this one matters. From Vaughn McClure's recent piece:
"It's going to be a huge emphasis, the line of scrimmage on both sides," Quinn said. "I have such belief in that, and that's how we're going to play really well. Offensive line, defensive line, it will kind of be at the front of our thinking all the time. That's how important I think it is.
"I think when our big guys are rolling, that's when we're at our best."
Defensively, Dan Quinn is a line guy at heart, and offensively, he couldn't help but notice that the interior of the Falcons' line was to pass protection what a sledgehammer is to a man putting together IKEA furniture.The defensive line is stout against the run already and has promising players on the interior, but without a big leap forward from Vic Beasley, things are less certain for the pass rush up front.
The Falcons have seemed likely to prioritize the lines for years, but they've only recently spent the cash and draft capital that suggests they're serious about it. After watching year another season derail in part because of mediocre line play, you can fully expect the Falcons to put more resources toward it again. Let's just hope the guys they acquire this year offer more than Adrian Clayborn and Andy Levitre.
Actually turning these two lines into top-flight units is no small task, and it's unlikely to be complete in 2016. If the Falcons are willing to spend their attention and dollars on both, though, I like the Falcons' chances of having truly competent lines for the first time since 2012. Whether that translates into more success for this remains to be seen.