At various times in the last few years, the Atlanta Falcons have been fired up, fast and physical, and seeking toughness. The team’s underlying ethos hasn’t changed much in that time—they want talent and athleticism in their players, and they want to let that talent shine in their offensive and defensive schemes—but the way Atlanta talks about those players shifts by the offseason.
Part of that is because this is an organization that has been pursuing the sizzle as much as the steak ever since Arthur Blank bought the team, which I don’t really mean as an insult. The Falcons want to contend and are certainly striving to do that, but they also want people to talk about them, and they want to have the fanbase buzzing about what they’re up to. That’s probably why Thomas Dimitroff is throwing around the term “game wreckers” so freely, which could be a sign of t-shirts to come.
"I would love to see Takk McKinley take it to another level." - Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff named a few players he wants to see step up in 2020https://t.co/ZKAEvmGjoZ— Kelsey Conway (@FalconsKelsey) January 24, 2020
Game wrecker just translates into playmaker here, as far as I can tell, but it also foreshadows this team’s offseason plans more than you’d initially think. Atlanta’s well aware that they have their legitimate stars in Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, (maybe) Austin Hooper, Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones. They also know that while they have a number of holes to fill and cuts to make, they’re not really going to return to contention just by adding a bunch of solid guys to the roster. They need more of those game wreckers, as Dimitroff put it, if they’re going to have a prayer of keeping pace in a suddenly lively NFC South.
That’s relevant to the team’s offseason plans. It’s eminently possible they once again go for Dimitroff’s preferred stars and scrubs roster construction after being badly, badly burned by adding “solid” free agent guards and defensive linemen a year ago, even if Tyeler Davison wound up being a nice addition. They have three picks in the first two rounds, after all, and once they’ve finished waving the axe around at the roster, they’ll likely have enough space to swing for the fences once or twice and fill out the roster with affordable veterans otherwise.
That’s purely speculative, of course, but the Falcons under Dimitroff and Dan Quinn have been heavily dependent on their legitimately great talent. They’re unlikely to have a change of heart now, in what might be their final chance to turn this thing around, and so expect the pursuit of game wreckers, whoever they may be, to dominate the offseason.