clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big dreams look like they’ll meet reality with the 2023 Falcons offense

From hulking pass catchers to a potent ground game, the Falcons have the recipe for an explosive attack.

NFL: Preseason-Cincinnati Bengals at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

A one-handed grab here, a dynamic run there, and the Falcons were off and running. A drive that ended in an interception and was marred by miscues still showed all the hallmarks of the fluid, fantastic Falcons offense we’ve all hoped to see last night when Atlanta took on the Bengals. It’s now impossible, if it wasn’t already, to stop dreaming about how good this offense might be and start thinking seriously about what that will look like.

As SI’s Daniel Flick noted, the Falcons actually gained more than 100 yards on that opening drive with starters in, with penalties setting them back but not ultimately dooming them.

What stood out was how well everything worked outside of the penalties and yes, the pick, which required a tipped pass and some “smothering” coverage (that’s putting it generously) to happen. Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier, and Desmond Ridder combined for 26 yards on six carries on the ground, and that’s with a 7-yard Allgeier run erased by penalty, with Robinson looking like every bit the game-changer. Ridder needs to tighten up on his accuracy a bit, a theme throughout last year’s short audition and this summer, but he still went 7/9 for 80 yards and could rely on the likes of Drake London, Kyle Pitts, Mack Hollins, and Robinson making excellent catches. It wasn’t perfect, but it was enjoyable to watch and very productive.

Atlanta’s plethora of weapons looked hard to stop in a very straightforward preseason effort on a single drive; imagining them cooking with Jonnu Smith, Cordarrelle Patterson, and others more involved and Arthur Smith playing the part of a mad mustachioed genius should only make them more lethal. Ridder helped put to rest questions about his competence, and while he has much more to prove and much more upside to showcase, competence is all the Falcons will need from him to be among the most dangerous offenses in the NFL.

If this sounds unusually confident for someone who has gotten into the habit of hedging his bets with this team, it’s because the confidence is warranted. The Falcons have not had a collection of playmakers like this since the 2016 team, and they showed a year ago how dangerous a team without Bijan Robinson and with a shakier passing attack could be. Talent and scheming and opportunity are converging for the 2023 Falcons in a way that’s impossible to ignore; that single preseason drive wasn’t something to extrapolate off of so much as it was just another data point in the pile of them that suggest we are set to watch something special this year.

Only penalties and injuries will slow this attack, which should be among the better units in the league and almost certainly will be one of the most fun to watch. Big dreams will meet reality with the Falcons’ 2023 offense, and the only real question is how far that dynamic offense can take them.