Have y’all ever seen or read The Dead Zone by Stephen King? I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week, because that title also describes this part of the NFL offseason.
There’s not much concrete news to cover, which means we’re spending a lot of our time prognosticating. And that’s what I’m asking you to do today. What do you see as the three biggest questions facing this Falcons team heading into the 2023 season?
For me, the most obvious question is: What is Desmond Ridder capable of as the starting quarterback? We got to see him in four starts last year behind some sloppy offensive line play and missing Kyle Pitts, who was on injured reserve, so I don’t think analyzing those starts are a fair way to project his play this season. He’ll have a full offseason and training camp period to prepare as the starter. Pitts should be healthy enough to contribute this season. And the Falcons have a truly formidable running back rotation, which will help Ridder get his feet under him heading into Year 2. I’m not saying he’ll put together an All-Pro season, but with the poise he displayed under pressure last year, I’m optimistic.
My second question: Will this team finally be able to rush the passer? The Falcons certainly invested resources into the pass rush this offseason. Atlanta had 21 sacks last season. The two Super Bowl teams, the Chiefs and Eagles, had 55 and 70 sacks during the regular season, respectively. Honestly, if the Falcons could improve to middle-of-the-pack numbers this year as opposed to ranking 31st in the league, I’ll take it.
Question number three for me: How will they handle this running back rotation? Tyler Allgeier, Caleb Huntley, and Cordarrelle Patterson were a pretty good trio last season, and now they’ll add eighth overall pick Bijan Robinson to the mix. This unit should be fun to watch, and we’ll see plenty of running back activity as receivers out of the backfield in Arthur Smith’s offense, but it’s still a lot of talent to get involved on a weekly basis.
What do you see as the three biggest questions facing the Falcons this season? Share your thoughts and talk it out in the comments!