After last season’s disappointing 7-9 record, the Atlanta Falcons will look to get themselves back into the playoffs this season. Over this past offseason, the Falcons made a ton of changes and addressed some areas that really need it. Offensive line was a importance to Falcons, as over the past few seasons the Falcons have seen their franchise quarterback take way too many hits. Falcons believed that they have fixed their offensive line issues with as they drafted Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary in the first round of this years draft. They also signed four offensive line during this past offseason to help add depth which has also been an issue in the past.
On the defensive side, the Falcons made some changes as they did not bring back corner Robert Aflord and safety Brian Poole. Second year corner Isiah Oliver will be the one who the Falcons will look to take Alford’s spot, while Damontae Kazee who had a bring out year for the Falcons last season and was the only bright spot will take over in Poole’s roll for the Falcons. One big thing that the Falcons did with the defense this offseason was being able to keep Grady Jarrett. Ever since Super Bowl 51, Jarrett has really stepped out and has become a star for the Falcons. Keeping the defensive tackle out of Clemson was absolutely huge for the Falcons. The Falcons also were able to get a new deal done with linebacker Deion Jones who has become the leader on the defense.
Falcons also had a little experiment this past preseason at the kicking position as they did not bring back Matt Bryant. Giorgio Tavecchio was named the new kicker, but all throughout preseason struggled to hit field goals that Matt Bryant nailed all last season. Falcons did bring in former Minnesota Viking and Seattle Seahawk kicker Blair Walsh, but he did not get the job done either and was really there to get a fire lit under Tavecchio. Just this week, the Falcons signed Matt Bryant and released both Tavecchio and Walsh.
With the Falcons season upon us, I expect the Falcons to be very good this season. The Falcons do a have a difficult schedule this season, but if the defense can stay healthy then the Falcons can get themselves back into the playoffs. I do expect the offense to return to its form with Dirk Koetter returning as offensive coordinator and a strong running back core that includes a healthy Devonta Freeman, Ito Smith, Brian Hill, and rookie Qadree Ollison. To me, the healthy Falcons defense and the offense being back to form the Falcons will go 11-5 this season. The Falcons will also win the NFC South. Could this be the year the Falcons return to the Super Bowl? I am not to sure because of the Rams, who the Falcons play Week 7 in the Benz. Rams are the defending NFC champs and have that high scoring offense along with a pretty good defense led by the Aaron Donald. It will be interesting to see how the Falcons go up against them, but health is a big key for the Falcons this season and when they are at their best, the Falcons become one of the best teams in the NFC.
The 2019 season for the Falcons kicks off this Sunday at 1:00 on Fox as they will be on the road taking on the Minnesota Vikings. For all updates and news on the Falcons follow @BirdsInTheBenz on twitter.
By: Stewart Zwald @SDZwald041599