At the end of last season, I doubt there were many Falcons fans who would have expressed real confidence in this team. That was due to a very fair combination of the team keeping its brain trust intact after yet another 7-9 season and a sense that some tough offseason decisions were looming. To give you some idea of how bleak things were, just 14% of respondents for our weekly Falcoholic Reacts survey said they had confidence the team was heading in the right direction.
Predictably, as the offseason wore on that number went way up. The signing of Todd Gurley, the addition of Dante Fowler Jr., and a highly-regarded draft class helped erase some of the stink of last season and made fans feel better about losing the likes of Desmond Trufant, Austin Hooper, and De’Vondre Campbell in free agency. By the end of free agency that confidence number was at 80%, dropping down to 73% after the draft.
Today, just days away from the Week 1 matchup between the Falcons and Seahawks, that number has only dipped slightly.
The 69% of Falcons fans responding who felt confident in the team’s direction presumably feel that way because this is a healthy, talented squad at the moment, one that looks to be better and deeper than a year ago at most positions. With Dirk Koetter hopefully settling in, Raheem Morris taking over the defense, and Gurley and Fowler added to the roster, it’s hard for even jaded fans not to feel a small spark of hope.
For the remaining 31%, the issues are probably legion, starting with the fact that it’s hard to know what to make of a Dan Quinn-coached team after two 7-9 seasons. There’s also the small matter that the Falcons lost quite a bit of talent in the offseason and didn’t replace all of those players with proven options, even if we might like Hayden Hurst and A.J. Terrell quite a bit. Whether the team wins or loses against the Seahawks will likely determine whether something like 80% of fans feel confident a week from now or something like 40% do. It tends to drop quickly.
How are you feeling about the team heading into Week 1?