We’re hours away from the clock hitting midnight and ushering in 2019, so what else do you have to do but bide your time and read some links? The Falcons’ season ended yesterday with a last-second win over the Buccaneers, so now all eyes turn toward the draft. Here’s Falcoholinks for New Year’s Eve.
Changes are coming
The writing has been on the wall for both coordinators, Steve Sarkisian and Marquand Manuel, for some time now. For Manuel it’s perhaps been a bit fainter, but with the defense’s continued failure to generate consistent pressure on quarterbacks it’s been there nevertheless. Prior to Sunday’s win against the Tampa Bay Bucs, Ian Rapoport reported that the Falcons appeared likely to dismiss Sarkisian and Manuel in the coming days.
We’ve been pondering potential replacements for each, but should the firings occur we’ll officially be on replacement coordinator watch.
The Falcons Special
Matt Ryan’s a Philadelphia native, Mohamed Sanu is an elite quarterback, so this was bound to happen at some point, right? There’s no better time than a meaningless game on the road, so Ryan and Sanu put together their incarnation of the Philly Special.
It was one of the few moments that made the game worth watching. Matt Ryan’s touchdown reception was the first of his career — and also the first reception altogether. It was Mohamed Sanu’s fourth career touchdown pass.
Ridley sets the record
Calvin Ridley has had an impressive rookie reason, and with his touchdown against the Bucs he now holds the Falcons’ rookie record for touchdowns with 10. Ridley began the season on a torrid pace, tallying six scores in four games. That level of production was stymied in the second half, but Ridley has proven to be an integral addition to this offense. Year Two should be a fun one.
Three in the win column, a drop in the draft position
The Falcons finished their season on a three-game win streak, which means they’re 7-9 and now looking at a far less favorable slot in the 2019 NFL Draft. Had the team dropped games to the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they’d potentially be looking at a top-five pick. That didn’t happen, of course, and now the Atlanta Falcons will be selecting 14th overall.
The 2019 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 25, so we’ll have a ton of time between now and then for player evaluation, mock drafts, and ruminating on what the final three games will mean for the Falcons long term.