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Falcons stumble and start off the 2019 season on the wrong foot

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There are some great ways to start off a season. The Falcons have avoided all those ways.

New York Jets v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Julio Jones was scheduled to talk to the media the Thursday before the regular season. It was seen as the perfect time to announce a contract extension. His new deal saga has now extended deep into another offseason, and despite consistent reports the deal is nearly done and optimism from the team, Jones remains stuck in his woefully cheap contract. The Falcons had the chance to get the deal done and move ahead.

Instead, we saw a visibly frustrated Jones go back and forth on holdout rumors. Whether or not Jones is leveraging a potential holdout to get a deal done is unclear, but there remains a clear possibility that Jones will not suit up to start the season. While obviously not in the same ballpark as the Antonio Brown saga with the Oakland Raiders, this is a distraction for players and coaches when the focus should be on the Minnesota Vikings. It is another way the Falcons have started off on the wrong foot to start this season.

The Jones saga highlights other unsettled positions or confusing moves.

The kicker debacle remains embarrassing. The Falcons ignored Giorgio Tavecchio’s long history of inconsistency and handed him the starting job without so much as a camp leg for competition. Maybe a training camp battle with Matt Bryant would have hurt Tavecchio’s confidence? Either way, the scramble that resulted in signing Blair Walsh, then finally bringing back Bryant at a higher salary a week before the season starts, was another avoidable problem.

Despite investing in a new deal for the team’s right tackle, two high-priced free agents, and two first-round draft picks in the offensive line, the line remains unsettled heading into Week 1. Ty Sambrailo signed a 3-year, $14.25 million deal to either prove he is worthy of being a starter or bridging to the next tackle. He’s listed as a backup behind starter Matt Gono or Kaleb McGary. That’s right: or. You can blame McGary’s procedure for not earning the starting spot, but Dan Quinn also lists the left guard starter as two players. With all the investments and five preseason games, it is odd the team still has not decided who should start.

The team’s running back and fullback roster decisions are still confusing. There are six of them. Over 10 percent of the roster is dedicated to running backs on a passing team. There is a ton of talent at the position, so it it is understandable why they kept all the backs. Kenjon Barner is the team’s returner primarily because everyone else, including draft pick Marcus Green, fell flat. Rostering a fullback still looks like a waste. Based solely on roster allocation, the team should have a dominant run game.

I do not even want to think about the defensive line, treated as an offseason afterthought.

The Falcons head to Minnesota to play a stout Vikings team. And also Kirk Cousins will be there. Everyone needs to be on top of their game to start off the season 1-0, but the Falcons look to be stumbling out of the gate.