The Falcons came tantalizingly close to bringing a Lombardi Trophy back to Atlanta last year. For every team in the NFL, the goal is to win a Super Bowl each year. The Falcons are actually in a pretty good position to get it done this season.
The core players who got the team to that point are still around, and there are plenty of reasons to think the Falcons can actually win the big one.
Matt Ryan and the offense
Yes, Kyle Shanahan’s gone. But Steve Sarkisian has hit the ground running, and the offense shouldn’t change much. Shanahan’s play calling was definitely a factor for the Falcons’ success last season, but there were instances where Shanahan’s aggressiveness hurt the team. The fourth quarter of the Super Bowl when the Falcons had an 8-point lead and were in field goal range and Shanahan didn’t run the dang ball comes to mind.
Now Ryan should have more say in the play calls, and with his experience and the way he took his game to the next level last season, that should be a good thing. It’s still a roster stacked with dynamic playmakers, and they’ll be a challenge for defenses again next year.
The defense should be better this season
Last year, Atlanta’s young defense got off to a bit of a slow start, but they improved as the season went on. This year, a defense that started essentially four rookies, including Brian Poole, will be more experienced. That should translate to more consistent play.
Desmond Trufant will be back on the field, and Dontari Poe is going to be a problem for offenses. The addition of Takk McKinley should help Atlanta’s pass rush, too. This young defense should be improved this season, and they’ll need to be for the Falcons to actually win a Super Bowl.
Dan Quinn may be the biggest factor
Quinn is a winner, and everything he does to lead this team is done with winning in mind. From his motivational messages to his approach to preparing the same way every week, Quinn is the biggest factor behind the team’s transition from 8-8 in his first season to a Super Bowl bid last year.
And Quinn has experience with losing a Super Bowl. He understands how to learn from it and put it behind him and focus on what’s next. He’s modeling that for the team.
Not much has changed for this team this offseason. It’s entirely possible that they could get back to the Super Bowl and actually win it this time.