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Bright spots to watch during the second half of a lost Falcons season

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Fact: Kendall Sheffield is the voice of the yellow peanut M&M

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to be a Falcons fan right now. At 1-7, this team is headed nowhere fast. The best we can hope for is a couple high profile firings (I’m looking at you, Dan and Thomas), a solid draft, and some low-cost, high ceiling signings in free agency. But that’s if all goes according to plan. In reality, given the shenanigans this team has gotten itself into, the road ahead is likely to remain bumpy, at least for the foreseeable future.

But I promise you, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are silver linings, however hard that may be to believe. So without further ado, here are three bright spots to keep an eye out for during the second half of the season.

Playing time for less seasoned members of the team

The back end of this roster is home to a number of intriguing prospects who should (at least in theory) see some increase in their playing time during the second half. Because why not? On defense, guys like Kendall Sheffield, Deadrin Senat, Jamal Carter, and John Cominsky need as many snaps as possible between now and end of December. On offense, I’d love to see more of Christian Blake, Jaeden Graham, Olamide Zaccheaus, Brian Hill, and Qadree Ollison. At some point the Falcons will also activate Chris Lindstrom and get him some much-needed playing time.

Moral victories

Remember, there are 6 divisional games left to play this season, including two games against the Saints. I’m not a fan of tanking for the best possible draft pick, even if it lands you Chase Young. If we can rattle off 2 or 3 wins against divisional opponents, I’d be a happy man.

Leadership in the face of extreme adversity

I won’t lie, we’ve probably oversold this roster’s overall talent level. But there are still talented football players on this team, and those players are part of this team’s future. Take Grady Jarrett as an example. He’s quietly gone about his business this season, turning in elite performance after elite performance. The same goes for Matt Ryan. Watching these vets keep their heads down and persevere counts for something; it has to.

Look, I get it, watching your team effectively throw away an entire season during a limited Super Bowl window is the functional equivalent of having all four of your tires slashed while your drunk uncle eats all the leftover Halloween candy. But the next couple months will be an important period in the future of this franchise.