The Falcons have gone a combined 14-20 the past two seasons, have had approximately $50 in cap space to work with over those two years, and have basically zero settled position groups outside of kicker. The team’s wealth of resources this offseason will allow them to tackle many of their glaring weaknesses at last, but
Pro Football Focus took a whack at what the Atlanta Falcons and 31 other NFL teams will need this year, and unsurprisingly, they did not choose any one thing for our favorite team. They chose, well, everything.
Atlanta Falcons: Everything
In their first post-Matt Ryan season, the Falcons fielded an effective and entertaining offense. It was the most run-heavy system in football, calling run plays on over 50% of their snaps, but the defense was lagging way behind and needs a complete overhaul.
As a unit, the Falcons ranked 30th in expected points added (EPA) allowed per play and allowed a score on a league-worst 43.5% of their drives faced. There are a couple of players who belong, but there’s no level of the defense that doesn’t need an injection of talent.
This is the kind of writeup that might make you bristle, but it’s really not wrong. The Falcons may not have their starting quarterback, and if they do, they still need a compelling veteran backup. They could use even more talent at running back and tight end, a lot more at receiver, upgrades along the offensive line, at literally every position on defense, and don’t even have a long snapper or punter under contract. Younghoe Koo isn’t getting competition, but that’s genuinely it for this Atlanta team.
The fact that they’ve remained fairly competitive the last two seasons despite holding this thing together with duct tape and Elmer’s glue has made the stretch at least somewhat bearable, but the simple truth is that the Falcons have been closer to a bad team than a good one. It has taken surprising growth, herculean efforts from a handful of stars, and smart coaching and roster additions just to keep them afloat and feisty, and that’s worthy of some level of admiration. It just can’t fool us into thinking this offseason is a breeze, or the couple of inevitable big names in free agency and a top ten pick will be enough to turn the tides by themselves.
The Falcons won’t get it all done in one offseason, but this is their first real chance to make headway at turning that everything list into a handful of things list in the near future. It’s why this is the most consequential offseason in recent memory, and why Terry Fontenot and company have stressed how important it is to stick to a smart, measured approach to building the team. We’re less than a month-and-a-half away from finding out how they intend to address the everything in the room.