The new league year starts today for the Atlanta Falcons and the rest of the NFL. This means all the trades and signings that have already taken place are becoming official today. Antonio Brown is a Raider and Odell is a Brown.
And the Atlanta Falcons have two new offensive guards. Atlanta hasn’t dipped into any big name free agents as of now, and it looks like they will stay away. This is due to a lack of money, but also the fact that the Falcons roster is already one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. Getting players like Keanu Neal and Deion Jones back from injury are like the Falcons getting their big name free agents. The Falcons are being smart by staying out of the scrum.
Atlanta hasn’t stayed completely quiet. The team addressed a couple of needs by signing Jamon Brown and James Carpenter, two offensive guards. The deals for both players were multiyear, so I’m assuming that the Falcons are planning on the pair starting when the season kicks off. Carpenter, a former first-round pick, will be suiting on for his third team when the season starts. Jamon Brown will also be on his third team when he suits up for the Falcons.
These two guys aren’t the flashy names that fans will like to see, but the pair have a lot of NFL starts under their belt. The Falcons offensive line was in shambles last season after being hit with some injuries and disappointing play from the backups. These moves will add depth that the Falcons needed in order to keep Matt Ryan upright this season.
The Falcons shored up their biggest offensive need by signing the two guards. Now, the team might need another running back in case of Devonta Freeman going down with another injury. A blocking tight end may be in the Falcons plans, but that would be all the help they would need for the offensive side of the ball.
Atlanta is still being led by one of the best quarterbacks in the league, who had one of his best offensive seasons last year but was overshadowed by a lackluster season. The Falcons receiving core is in the argument of best in the entire NFL. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Austin Hooper, and Mo Sanu will go up against any team in the league right now. It would be tough to top those four guys. And add in a healthy Devonta Freeman into the mix. If Dirk Koetter can cut these guys loose, this offense is going to be dangerous.
The defense was an issue last season for Atlanta. Not because of massive holes or lack of talent in the defense, but the injuries are what destroyed the team. There is no way any team in the NFL could sustain losses to three of their best defensive players, and still maintain a high level of play. It’s not possible in the NFL. With the return of Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, and Ricardo Allen, this defense is going to get a big boost.
Unfortunately, this defense as constructed today needs some serious help for the pass rush and secondary. Vic Beasley is putting this team in a tough position by having his option picked up, so the team will need a lot more production from him. Takk McKinley, who said he would cut off his dreads if he didn’t reach double-digit sacks this season, is really needing a big season to solidify his place. Robert Alford and Brian Poole have moved on which means second-year Isaiah Oliver will be required to do a lot more this season.
However, the Draft seems to be how the Falcons will fill those needs. I’m skeptical, but if you look at Dan Quinn’s record of defensive players he’s drafted we have to trust him for now.
The fans of a team are going to be antsy if their team is staying quiet while the rest of the NFL is shaking it up by making signings or trades. It’s natural to what to improve the team after such a disappointing season. But for the Falcons, there wasn’t much improving they needed. This roster is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball.
With key starters returning on both sides of the ball, that will act as signings or trades for this team. It won’t be flashy or exciting, but it’s the right move for this team. The Falcons would be stupid to add more players when their own young players, Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, are due for big paydays in coming seasons. The Falcons are confident with the roster they have, and they should be. When healthy, the Falcons have one of the best teams in the NFL.