The Atlanta Falcons are a bit donezo for 2018, but that doesn’t mean the team can’t find ways here and there to amend what’s not going right.
So how can the Falcons improve when things aren’t going well?
Focus on Fundamentals
This sounds trite, but it’s the easiest path forward for the team to tighten up things that aren’t working.
Tackling has gotten a bit better as the season has gone on and as Deion Jones has returned to the lineup, but the receivers have dropped more passes as of late. Now, a lot of that is because Matt Ryan is getting his passes out even faster now due to the lapse in blocking, but the receivers need to focus on the jugs machine just a bit more so they don’t make mental errors when the passes come out just fine.
The team also needs to focus on limiting as many penalties as possible. The offensive line, as it is, may just have a few holding penalties here and there, but the rest of the roster has to limit the errors in this regard. It’s not been nearly as bad as it was in 2017, but everyone can look for ways to limit the yellow flags.
You’d also love to see guys like Vic Beasley, Robert Alford and Ryan Schraeder focus on getting just a bit better than they were the day before by keying in on exact ways they are struggling.
All three guys are depended on in major ways, and all have disappointed this season in ways that may require roster change. Perhaps they can all turn the tables in the last quarter of the season and prove as to why they should hold starting roles in 2019.
Settle Elevated Roles for Future
The future of the Falcons could begin to take shape in these next few games. The most recent draft class has seen nearly everyone shine at some point over the season.
The team needs to begin to operate as if those guys were about to take on major roles in the organization, because we all know they will be down the road. Calvin Ridley can’t be the only rookie to get major snaps, and should be proof of what happens when rookies get the snaps they need.
Maybe it’s time to let Foye Oluokun to permanently take that weakside linebacker role, as the team looks to have done Sunday against Baltimore. Let Deadrin Senat take a starting role next to Grady Jarrett in certain sets that don’t call for Jack Crawford. Try Ito Smith out in a starting role on the offense.
Get Isaiah Oliver more reps on the outside for what may well be his starting role in 2019. Get Russell Gage more involved on the offense to see if he could be a potential wideout to rely on in the future. Heck, get virtual rookie Eric Saubert more in the game to see if his training camp performances were indicators. Maybe even let Matt Gono be active for a game or two to see if he’s developed any.
There’s nothing left to lose. The team can improve for the future by letting certain situations play out with their younger players on the roster.
Give Blidi Wreh-Wilson more of a role
One of the more perplexing decisions this season has been to make corner Blidi Wreh-Wilson inactive for many of the season’s games. Right now, Pro Football Focus rates him at 90.1 for his snaps he’s taken this season. That’s inflated due to a lack of field time, but it’s fascinating nonetheless.
The team absolutely should make him active the rest of the way through and let him play in some way, shape or form. He’s consistently flashed in his time in Atlanta, and he may be one of the guys the team has helped to find a new level of play after his struggles with the Titans.
The team is going to need corner depth in 2018 since Alford, Brian Poole and Justin Bethel could all be elsewhere once the spring rolls around. You might as well see if Wreh-Wilson’s time with the Falcons has made him into a guy you could rely on down the road.
So those are a few ideas for short-term improvement. What do you think the team can do down the stretch to get better?