November 11, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; The Atlanta Falcons offense lines up against the New Orleans Saints defense during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Falcons 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Arthur Blank Wants Tough Players, Emphasizes Controlling The Line... Which Side Of The Line Is A Bigger Need?

Earlier today, Falcons owner Arthur Blank addressed the media and talked about the toughness (or lack thereof) of the Atlanta Falcons. Blank talked about how he valued toughness and wanted tough players on his team. He specifically talked about controlling the line of scrimmage, which is easily the biggest area of need for the team moving forward:

“I think a lot of our players are certainly that. I think, at the end of the day, if I asked you as a player, to give me brief definition of what toughness is, I think you might say something to me (like), ‘It’s how you control the line of scrimmage. Can you run the ball? Can you stop the run?  Can you run the ball? Can you stop the run? You’ve got pass to put up points in the NFL, we understand that. I don’t think we did either one of those things very well this year. I would say if you look at toughness from that perspective, I don’t think we were as tough as we needed to be.

“It doesn’t mean that we want players that are going to end up in different sections of the newspaper other than the sports section. But I think we do want players that have the capacity to be tough and as tough as they need to be, to play right up to the line, to the edge of the line and we need coaches that are prepared to coach them that way as well.”

Since the Falcons aren’t going to be playing for a while, most of the talk about the team will deal with off-season changes and the 2014 NFL draft, where Atlanta has the sixth overall pick. Based on what Blank has said, and how the team played this season, I think it is clear the Falcons will be taking/should take either an offensive lineman or a defensive end.

The real question though, is what position is the bigger need for Atlanta?

The team was dead last in rushing yards this season (1,247) and also allowed the fifth most QB hits in the league (100). Clearly, the offensive line needs some work.

But, the team was also 29th in sacks, with just 32 all season. If you look closely, you’ll see that the Falcons were actually tied with the Texans in this category, and the two teams who had less (Bears and Jaguars) only managed 31 sacks. Clearly, the defensive line needs some work.

Which area would you rather see the team address when May 8th comes around?

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Tags: Atlanta Falcons

  • Vinson Jefferson

    Everyone knows that the Falcons need help in the trenches. MS & TD will go about this in the smartest way possible. They can do this and not compromise the culture they have built in recent years. IMO this is the way they should start:With the obvious; Free agency…. Jimmy Graham, Alex Mack and Greg Hardy. If the Falcons could pull off just one of these names out of free agency the franchise would have already done an 180 from the 2013 performance. With this said, its least likely to happen all three players more then likely will be franchised before free agency. The only exception would be Jimmy Graham because of the (SC) which leaves the NFL draft. IMO the Falcons should trade back in the draft. With this said they can’t afford the drop any further then 13th. By doing this this will allow them to acquire an additional 2nd round pick which will allow them to pick Five top 100 prospects which leads me to this.

    Round 1: DE Stephon Tuitt

    Round 2: OG/OT Cyril Richardson

    Round 2: RB Tre Mason

    Round 3: DT Daniel McCullers (Reach he will not be here in round 4)

    Round 4: OT Seantrel Henderson (Reach because of off the field issues)

    Also keep an eye on OG Gabe Jackson out of Mississippi State between rounds 2&4 with the right OL coach he can turn out to be an All-PRO within five years in the NFL.

    AGAIN IMO; the addition of these eight players will help the attitude in the trenches in Atlanta. There are a few other free agents like Lamar Houston and Jairus Byrd that would up grade the defense but I’m a firm believer that if the front four for the Falcons played better (mainly DTs) the defense (LBs, FS & SS) will have better production all around.