Point / Counterpoint: 2022 Falcons Fan Demeanor Justification

After sitting back and watching what this 2022 Atlanta Falcons squad has to offer through the offseason and into camp and the preseason, I have noticed a trend. That trend is nothing new to any teams fanbase, but it has started heating up recently within Atlanta's. It is the optimist vs pessimist argument. Essentially both sides see themselves as possibly being the realists. I thought it would be interesting to see what both sides have to offer in terms of arguments. So, I am going to do my best to present a realists argument for the two possible outcomes of this upcoming season.

On the optimists side, I will argue why the 2022 Atlanta Falcons could be a 9+ win team and could possible be in wild card contention come December. On the pessimist side, I will argue for a 3 win season, and the most heated race they will be in will be for a first overall draft position in 2023. As stated before, I hereby promise to give each argument a genuine effort, by putting aside my personal feelings and digging into the honest logical arguments for each opposing side.

I flipped a coin and we will start with...

Pessimist Point:

The 2022 Atlanta Falcons are a struggling team coming off of multiple years of mediocrity and disappointment and nothing that has been done says that will change this season. While the team has made strides to change out pretty much everything from previous regimes, it is still too early in a rebuild to have reasonable expectations for serious change. If anything the 7 wins last season was more luck and a weak strength of schedule, than it was skill and ability from players and coaches. While this team is being rebuilt, there is a valid argument that can be made that this front office is purposefully tanking for the top draft pick. See the exit of Matt Ryan, who led this team for over a decade, just to see him replaced with Marcus Mariota. The QB who can't stay healthy or beat out a backup with his last starting QB role. This team obviously downgraded QB, but then on top of that they didn't upgrade the TWO MOST OBVIOUS AREAS OF NEED (i.e. see the trenches). Somehow this front office saw what happened last year with the big guys up front and thought that they were good to go in those areas. How you make these moves (or don't make these moves) and justify that you want a competitive team in the upcoming year, is disingenuous at best. This team is either tanking or it is simply buying time until 2023, when they have money and the first overall draft pick, along with the first overall pick in every round thereafter too. If things fall right, we will be looking at the playoffs in 18 months, with a new QB and a completely different team being fielded.

This team is going to be 3-14 without a doubt. There is no pass rush, nor do we have a d-line to support a rush. We cannot stop a pass rush, and we have the players along the offensive line to prove it. Our run game might take a step forward, but that still doesn't mean it is good. Why would it take a step forward and still not be good? See the aforementioned offensive line issues. The WR's are a bunch of castoffs and an oft injured first round rookie. It is essentially Kyle Pitts versus everyone else. Our secondary is solid, but there is zero reason to assume they can cover long enough to change the outcome of our pathetic pass rush. This team is built for losses and when looking at the upcoming opponents on the schedule it will get just that. Three wins might be generous for this squad.

Optimist Counterpoint:

While there is reason to worry about the lines, there is a lot to look at underneath the hood. First, the growth of players along the offensive line is expected, and the small changes to personnel might be enough to have a big impact on gameday. While potential is not quantifiable, it is reasonable to assume that some of these players will start to reach what potential they do have given the opportunity. Players like Ta'Quan Graham and Matt Hennessey might be able to take the competition and experience they have in the NFL thus far, and turn that into decent NFL starters. That type of growth can be all it takes to empower the players around them, and turn a weakness into a strength. While Mariota did not do well at the end of his time in Tennessee, he did have some highlights, and at least Coach Smith knows how to use him. Given small improvements along the o-line, and Mariota will be put into some mighty favorable positions. Plus, having a first round WR who showed he is ready to play alongside a proven commodity like Pitts might be a big difference in the pass game as opposed to last season. Then if Allegier comes in and gives quality carries along with Patterson, we might be staring at a well balanced offense that can win some football games. Not only that, we have a defense that can play some all around decent football itself. With small improvements along the d-line we have a LB corps, both inside and outside, that can cover and rush fairly well. Considering the secondary looking solid on almost everyone's radar, then you have the makings of a team who can score and stop other teams from scoring (i.e. win football games).

This team can win 9+ games easily. The strength of schedule argument doesn't really hold water for me either. Year in and year out it is proven that predicting a strength of schedule before the season even happens is a terrible way to determine how hard of a schedule a team has. The term "Any given Sunday" is very true, and this Atlanta team will definitely catch a handful of teams off guard. The Falcons of 2022 are nothing like teams of the past, and every opposing team, for the first handful of games, will have little to no tape to study on us. That plays to our advantage. On top of that, this team is blatantly being coached to play hard. So even if they are outmatched with talent, they can still win based on effort and not quitting, which we already saw proof of in the preseason with the last minute TD from Ridder. This team is going to shock some people, and come December we will have zero faith from the pundits, but will attempt to prove them wrong in January with our wild card spot.

So there it is. The two logical arguments for Atlanta's two possible outcomes. While this argument could get much more nuanced, I figured I would leave it basic and give the jist of what each side is getting at. Either way, this team should be interesting to watch, and the whole reason this argument is getting heated is because this could truly go either way. We could be shockingly good OR bad. It all depends on how the cards fall, and we will simply have to watch and wait to see what happens.

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>