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The Falcoholic staff’s greatest hopes and dreams for the Falcons this offseason

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This roundtable is a little more upbeat than yesterday’s.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday we talked about our greatest fears for the Falcons this offseason. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s discuss our hopes and dreams for Atlanta as they prepare for the 2019 season.

The 2018 season was a grave disappointment, but this team is stacked with talent on both sides of the ball. Healthy players should be enough for a return to form, and our staff shares what the team could do this offseason to ensure that happens.

Cultivate a dang pass rush

It’s the constant lament of Falcons fans — this team can’t pressure opposing quarterbacks. My greatest hope for the Falcons this offseason is that they change that. They have enough money to be in play for some of the bigger-name free agents, and I’d like to see an investment in it through free agency as well as adding depth through the draft. Having a fully healthy Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, and Ricardo Allen out there along with working Kazee in as possible gives the Falcons a boost, but being able to get after the quarterback would be a literal game-changer and a welcome relief. - Jeanna Thomas

The Falcons find some 2012 magic

If everything goes well for the Atlanta Falcons in 2019, 2016’s not my barometer. 2012 is. Sans that terrible draft, 2012 was as friendly to the Falcons as a season could be. The offense was one of the better ones in the NFL, and the defense always showed up and did its job, sometimes quite well. Dan Quinn, Dirk Koetter and company have the potential to field a team that could be that good, maybe a bit better. DQ is a much better playoff coach than Mike Smith was, so it really feels like the team just need to make it to make something happen. Here’s hoping this is what they find. — Cory Woodroof

The Falcons just win, baby

I don’t care if the Falcons run it 20 times per game or 10. I don’t care if an elite offense carries the way or a surprisingly game defense ends up needing to bail them out at times. What I care about is wins, and I want this Falcons team to go back to being a winner, preferably one so good they wind up with the franchise’s first Lombardi. The 2018 season served as an unwelcome reminder that lousy football seasons are just less fun. — Dave Choate

The Falcons fix the lines

The Falcons seem to bounce between quiet offseasons to very active offseasons. We already know this one is active. The team additionally has a full slate of draft picks and more than enough spending money for free agency. That should be enough to fix the offensive and defensive line. Of course, that was all true in 2014 and the team did not fix anything. However, Dan Quinn has been better in acquiring talent than Mike Smith. With a few of the right moves the team should be battling for a playoff spot. — Matt Chambers

The Falcons add depth

This is easier said than done, but the Falcons need to add some depth to the roster. If the 2018 season showed us anything, it’s that we are 2-3 key injuries away from having a 7-9 (or worse) season. The Falcons will need to be active in free agency, unless they intend to bolster the trenches entirely through the draft. We’ll see what happens, but the NFC South is only getting stronger, and we need to do the same. - Evan Birchfield

Bring me a pass rush

It seems like I hope for this every year, but I’m truly hoping 2019 is the year we see a strong pass rush in Atlanta. I’m already happy with guys like Grady Jarrett and Jack Crawford, but we need some oomf on the edges. If Takk McKinley can take a step forward, that’d be a nice development. Meanwhile, a player like Brandon Graham could be available that the team should absolutely go after. I’m no draft guru, but grabbing some edge guys with potential in the draft seems reasonable too. Keep addressing the pass rush, Falcons, because you can never have too many pass rushers on your team. - David Walker

Major additions to the trenches in free agency and the draft

The Falcons are pretty close, roster-wise, to having another very good team in 2019. They just need to make a few savvy additions in both free agency and the draft to get there. For me, that’d be retaining Grady Jarrett and adding another starter along the defensive line in free agency—perhaps someone like Brandon Graham or Allen Bailey at EDGE. Combine that with some reinforcements early in the draft along the defensive and offensive lines and I think we’ll see a much improved Falcons team on both sides of the ball. - Kevin Knight

Finally address the trenches

It’s clear what the team’s goals for the offseason should be — a revamp of the offensive line, and upgrades along the defensive line. No matter how much the NFL evolves into an air raid league, the game will always be won and lost in the trenches. Among the team’s five O-Line starters last year, only one was drafted by the team before the 6th round (Jake Matthews). Quinn singled out Matthews and Alex Mack as the only O-Lineman he’s comfortable with so that’s a good sign. I’m looking for the team to spend all of their picks in the first two days on defensive and offensive lineman. - Adnan Ikic