Welcome to the Podcast AF offseason review series, astutely titled “The Probe” – the unofficial official NFL offseason review series of the Vegas Golden Knights. Here, like most NFL “writers”, I will regurgitate takes I read or heard somewhere else and pass them off as original thoughts. Will Ryan Tannehill breakout in 2018? Was Mike McCarthy abandoned by the run game as a child? Does Saturn have a playoff atmosphere? Your questions, answered! Sponsored by “Ready Player One”, in theaters now!
#11 – The Atlanta Falcons (10-6, 3rd NFC South)
This is the first playoff team I’ve done, and if you haven’t noticed I’m kind of moving through the bottom of the divisions. That way if I don’t make it to all 32 before the draft I at least made it to the teams that actually need explaining. Everyone knows the Eagles have no needs and the Patriots have a bunch but they also have Tom Brady so it doesn’t matter.
The Falcons also don’t need much explanation, so with full disclosure I’m trying to watch NHL playoffs right now. Hand on the bible. Also with full disclosure, I’m a
Falcons fan Matt Ryan fan. I get shit for this a lot, especially since I said I would feel bad watching him lose a Super Bowl. When I explain I was a fan of his at BC, folks are quick to do the knee-jerk “no one gives a fuck about BC” take. That’s true…that’s true. I love token takes that have nothing to do with anything.
The Falcons might be the team with the least immediate needs. This post isn’t about convincing some Twitter dumbass who thinks Matt Ryan sucks that Matt Ryan doesn’t suck. Someone who thinks that isn’t being convinced. So I’ll tell you what the Falcons lack on offense: WR depth behind a Jones and Sanu, a real pass-catching TE (which they don’t necessarily need) and OG help. Wes Schweitzer and Andy Levitre struggled last season, but the Falcons signed OG Brandon Fusco despite having no cap space.
History shows it takes Matt Ryan 2 season to really excel in an offense. Even though Sarkisian was a dumbass at times, Matt Ryan had a phenomenal year (don’t let the folks who slap you in the face with stats tell you otherwise). The Falcons had th eworst red zone conversion rate in the league, which partly has to do with Sark’s love of calling bootlegs in the redzone. But don’t blame it all on Sark: Falcons receivers dropped the most passes in the NFL last year.
So let’s see what Ryan, Sark and company do in year two.
Movie Comparison – The Last Jedi. Really fucking good and it makes the expectations skyrocket for the sequel.
The Falcons actually lost half of their starting OL: Dontari Poe to a fat contract in Cincinnati and Adrian Clayborn via cutting his ass. Takk McKinley is back at one DE spot and Grady Jarrett at one DT spot. The Falcons currently don’t even have any RDEs listed on their team, but Brooks Reed would ostensibly be involved in any sort of rotations. They’ll have to restock the DL in the draft.
Deion Jones was great – PFF’s 6th-ranked LB, at the MIKE LB spot and last year’s 3rd-round pick Duke Riley, who was injured much of last season, is back at SAM. The WILL spot will feature De’Vondre Campbell, who was “average” which really means above avergae because most players can’t perform well.
The Falcons’ DBs might be a rare case where they elevate the front 7 and pass rush instead of vice versa. Marcus Trufant and Robert Alford are both great CBs on the outside and Brian Poole is solid in the slot. Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen are both highly-graded safeties and execute Quinn’s scheme very well. I swear more than half the league uses the Seattle cover 3 scheme nowadays.
Major Draft Needs: DT/DE, WR depth, OG
In honor of Pete Prisco telling me I’m dumb and that I’ll fail, here’s this entry’s edition of “Prisco’s Pickanosis,” where I highlight something the Tom Brady of acting like an infant on Twitter was completely wrong about.
Pete only watched 3 quarters.
From the guy who preaches systemic impact.