Atlanta's got plenty of question marks in 2016, but none loom larger than the perennial favorite about the pass rush. That question, of course, is where the hell is the pass rush going to come from?
Even if you genuinely love Derrick Shelby and think Deion Jones will be able to help out in that regard no matter where he's playing, you have to be skeptical about the team suddenly fielding a terrific pass rush in 2016. The Falcons had the opportunity to address it in free agency and the draft and largely chose not to, which means they're banking on improvement from the players they already have, which is a risky strategy given those players' production a year ago.
Of course, players don't stay the same from year to year, which is the crux here. Vic Beasley is entering his second year and is fully healthy, for one thing, and Grady Jarrett will have a bigger role in his second year. When you add in Adrian Clayborn getting more of a part-time role, Brooks Reed returning to health, and a generally improved defense across the board, you don't have a hard time seeing an improved pass rush. The question is whether it's going to be significantly improved or not.
My gut says no. You should see more sacks and pressure from Beasley and Jarrett, in particular, and the addition of Shelby should help. Beyond that, though, the Falcons simply don't have a ton of firepower, so I expect it to be another year before they're anything close to a fearsome pass rush. If the improvement is encouraging enough, though, maybe we'll feel very good about that possibility a year from now.