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?