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Falcons training camp is 9 days away, so here’s 9 improvements we hope to see

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Only nine, you say? Yes.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I know what you’re thinking. “Just nine improvements, Dave?” Yes, just nine.

The 2015 Falcons were a mediocre, mistake-prone team

  1. Communication. This is a big one, given that there were way too many fumbles, interceptions, botched snaps, and snippiness between coaches and players in the first year of Dan Quinn’s regime.
  2. Tackling. Please, Football Gods, don’t let me see another quarterback break three tackles en route to a first down. My heart can’t take it.
  3. Second receiver play. Roddy White’s mediocre 2015 was not entirely Roddy White’s fault, but the fact is that the Falcons didn’t get a ton out of their receiving options outside of Julio Jones and maybe Jacob Tamme, as is evinced by Devonta Freeman’s huge role in the passing game.
  4. Pass rush. We harp on this every year and never get it, but I do think the Falcons will be a better, more athletic team up front, which should translate to at least slight improvement.
  5. Turnovers. This kind of goes hand in hand with communication, but the Falcons didn’t have enough takeaways a year ago to compensate for all the giveaways, so hopefully both will improve.
  6. The ground game. Devonta Freeman was a godsend in 2015, especially in the first half of the season, but he wore down and Tevin Coleman was up-and-down. A great ground game would open many doors for Atlanta.
  7. Linebacker play. For a team that has employed the likes of Tommy Nobis, Jessie Tuggle, Keith Brooking and even lesser lights like Mike Peterson, Michael Boley, the last couple of years have been pretty bad at linebacker. Adding two athletic rookies to the mix and getting a healthy Brooks Reed back should help, but we’ll see.
  8. Kicker play. Matt Bryant had his first down year since the early 1900’s, and while replacement Shayne Graham fared surprisingly well, the Falcons definitely didn’t have their greatest year at the position. Whether Bryant bounces back or Nick Rose hangs on, we’ll hope for rock-solid consistency here.
  9. Win total. Duh.

What improvements are you hoping for?