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The Falcoholic staff’s greatest fears for the Falcons this offseason

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Let’s hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Our greatest fears for the Falcons were realized this season as we saw key players go down with injuries and our expectations for this team were dashed. Now we’re all looking forward to 2019 to see what this team is capable of — but what if we end up with another nightmare scenario?

What would that even look like? The Falcoholic’s staff dared venture into nightmare territory to hash out what our greatest fears are for this Falcons team this offseason.

The Falcons still won’t fix the trenches

Every year we expect the Falcons to shore up the trenches, but it seems to be a bit of a blind spot for them. This offense had a rocky year due to injuries to both starting guards and inconsistent play from their replacements and Ryan Schraeder, and the interior defensive line suffered from a lack of depth. The problem is that the Falcons have a lot of needs to address here, and both lines have been a bit of a blind spot for Thomas Dimitroff. if they whiff on it, it will limit the team’s ceiling next season. - Jeanna Thomas

The Falcons won’t be good enough

The Falcons have a very good chance to be a quality football team in 2019. Dan Quinn has done commendable work in addressing issues from the year prior, guys will get healthy and Dirk Koetter will give the team a more consistent presence in play calling. Don’t expect another 2014-esque collapse. What horrifies me is that the team could settle into this “close, but not quite” mode with the coaching staff and roster as it is. Like, good enough for a divisional or NFC Championship berth, but never good enough to punch another Super Bowl ticket. What will doom this era of Falcons football isn’t being bad. It’s not being good enough. - Cory Woodroof

Nothing will happen

For the Falcons, the 2018 season was an unfortunate way to see what our real strengths and weaknesses are. My fear for this upcoming offseason is that the Falcons will be subtle in free agency which will put a lot of pressure on our 2019 draft class. The Falcons will need to sign some offensive and defensive line help, unless they intend to double-dip in the first rounds of the draft. We’ll see what they do in March, but they need to be more active than in recent years if they want to fix the trenches. - Evan Birchfield

Falcons repeat 2014

Ah, 2014. There were such high hopes. Mike Smith made it clear 2013 would not happen again. The Falcons shuffled some coaches, said they were changing the defense, adding toughness, and were aggressive in adding players. And what a magnificent disaster it was. In retrospect, there wasn’t a clear plan for the team. They added the wrong players, and either paid or drafted those players way higher than was warranted. Everyone was misused (speaking of, Mike Nolan you should not be allowed to coach in the NFL.) The Falcons were still the same disappointing team. I think the Falcons improved their coaching staff overall, which they did in 2014, but a few misses on new players and coaching issues could spell the end for Dan Quinn. - Matt Chambers

The trenches aren’t addressed

The injuries to the defense and offense in 2018 were a big factor in the Falcons missing the playoffs, but there’s little doubt that the talent in the trenches was an issue regardless. Takk McKinley didn’t develop as much as we hoped he would while Vic Beasley disappointed mightily. The offensive line was disastrous at times, unable to consistently establish a running game all season. The Falcons have some cap space and 9 draft picks to address these issues. If they don’t bring in some quality players to shore up the offensive and defensive lines, we could be in for a repeat in 2019. - David Walker

The Falcons are complacent with personnel again

The biggest mistake the Falcons could make would be to go into 2019 with very little added investment in both lines. That strategy backfired in a big way in 2018, and it cannot happen again. I think we can expect Takk McKinley to continue to grow, but Vic Beasley is likely gone and it’s clear we can no longer depend on Ryan Schraeder at RT. Not adding significant resources to both lines in favor of another strategy would be a huge mistake. - Kevin Knight