Remember when we were all so ready for the offseason to be over so we could watch football again? Remember how those last two months before the season began just crawled by? Now we’re on the opposite side of the same fence, staring down two more months of Falcons football before we can look forward to the offseason.
Maybe the Falcons have some surprises in store for us in the second half that will make these games worth watching. I sure hope so, because being burnt out on the Falcons on November 1 is not something I enjoy or something I’ve had to experience all that often over the last decade.
Let’s get into the links. Those will keep us busy.
What to do with the offense next offseason?
The Falcons have the most critical pieces of their offense locked up already, and once they fire Dirk Koetter into the deepest, darkest part of the ocean, chances are they’ll be ready to get back on track. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a few tough decisions looming, though.
As I wrote yesterday, Austin Hooper is the closest thing to a look in the upcoming free agent class, and a player the Falcons appear to view as a must-sign. Everyone else is either expendable or simply a nice-to-have, which means all the toughest decisions are probably on the other side of the ball.
The real drama for the Falcons on offense will likely concern the steps forward (or lack thereof) from Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary, and what they ultimately do with a still-effective but declining Alex Mack.
How are the rookies faring?
Speaking of Lindstrom and McGary, yesterday I checked in on the rookie class at midseason and came away feeling that this is a class with genuine promise, if a very unsettled outlook. We simply haven’t seen enough of guys like Chris Lindstrom, Jordan Miller, and Qadree Ollison to know what to make of them, but Kaleb McGary is making strides and both John Cominsky and Kendall Sheffield have played far better than I might have expected before the season.
If this class doesn’t pan out, the Falcons are in a bit of trouble, given that they have two first round picks on the offensive line and a couple of interesting defenders who look like they may need to step into real roles next year. We’ll see how the back half goes.
How will the Falcons fare against the bye?
Our weekly picks are in, and in addition to mulling the games ahead across the NFL, we weighed in on the Falcons versus their bye week. Needless to say, our predictions ran the gamut a bit on that one.
Finally, Evan Birchfield pulled together some Falcons Halloween costume ideas crowdsourced from Twitter. You guys are mean, but you’re also funny as hell.