It’s still some untapped potential in this team.
Let’s be honest: most of you are freaking out right now.
You see everybody around the NFC getting better each and every day. The Falcons made moves themselves, but it was nothing to seriously brag about. It was nothing that screamed, “[insert player name] is going to get us to the SuperBowl!”
Instead, the Falcons did the smart thing. They signed players at positions that they needed at a reasonable price. With Wes Schweitzer struggling last season, the Falcons signed Brandon Fusco to boost the position. Levine Toilolo was a cap casualty and the Falcons cut him. The went and signed Logn Paulsen to replace him. They let Dontari Poe walk, which left a hole at DT. They re-signed Derrick Shelby to add depth to the position. Special teams was probabaly one of the worst units for the Falcons last season. They signed Justin Bethel, a known cornerback but a better special teams player.
None of those names pop out to anybody, but they were quality signings for a team that already has potential to be a great team next season.
The Falcons showed us in 2016 that this offense can do amazing things. They also showed us that it depends on the offensive coordinator if they’re successful or not. Steve Sarkisian came in last season and the Falcons had a down year from the previous one. Players weren’t getting involved, the playcalling was questionable at times, and execution was not great. A positive from this is that it looked like Sark improved every game, and hopefully that goes into the next season. We all know that it took Shanahan until year 2 for the players to get used to the offense.
Last year Devonta Freeman had MCL and PCL injuries, so he should be healthy. Last offseason, Matt Ryan, and Julio Jones were not able to get their timing together because of Jones recovering from surgery.
Ryan and Austin Hooper were also seen practicing together this offseason. All of this will prove to help the Falcons be better than were last year.
For the defense, it should continue to improve. Dontari Poe is gone, but expect the Falcons to draft a DT in the first round of the draft to replace him. They let Adrian Clayborn walk, but that’s fine. That means Takk will be seeing more snaps, and Vic Beasley has moved back full- time to DE where he caused the most havoc.
Duke Riley didn’t have the rookie campaign he wanted to, but with his offseason training, he will definitely improve in his second season. The secondary may be the best unit on the defense. Trufant, Alford, Allen, and Neal all had solid seasons, and they could improve as well this upcoming season. The entire defensive unit was top 10 last season, and they have the potential to be top 5.
So to think that maybe, just maybe, the Falcons reached their peak last season is not even fair. They have maxed out on cap space, but as far as talent, they still have a long way to go.