(Image Credit: Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
Another one bites the dust. The Atlanta Falcons are yet another team that was eliminated this week. Especially as they lost to the Baltimore Ravens 17-9. Many entering the season saw this coming from a mile away as the Falcons had little to no expectations for the season. However they had a bit of a hot streak during the season, but obviously it all fell apart. There are many reasons why the Falcons did not make it in the playoffs, but I narrowed it down to 3 main reasons.
1. Excluding Drake London, The Falcons have no receivers
This one is an obvious one as the Falcons had no receivers for either Mariota or Ridder to throw too. The only receiver that was great this year was rookie 1st rounder Drake London. He leads the team with 699 receiving yards, 61 catches, and 4 touchdowns. The entire receiver core sucks. Olamide Zaccheaus is mediocre, but he is more of a special teams player. The rest of the receivers on the team are scrubs. I was super disappointed in KHadarel Hodge who I was very high on this season, but he has been terrible. Kyle Pitts would have been a great weapon for the offense, but this team did not utilize him properly at all this season. Plus Pitts had a season ending knee surgery. The Falcons have to surround Ridder, Mariota, or whoever there next QB is with weapons.
2. There Defense is Garbage
There is a lot of issues that surround the Falcons defense. Excluding CB AJ Terrell, DT Grady Jarrett, LB Mykal Walker, S Jaylinn Hawkins, and maybe Rashaan Evans (Tackling wise, because in coverage he stinks) not many players have really impressed. I almost added Richie Grant, but he has had more bad moments than good. One thing is for sure, the Falcons need to get a pass rusher. Grady Jarrett has led this team with 6 sacks and he is turning 30 in April. He is not the future of this team and I don’t think the Falcons have that. While Arnold Ebiketie has shown flashes he has not been consistent this season. Plus just look at the tweet below,
Their pass rush is still an issue and it has to be a must to fix.
The Falcons need help, especially at cornerback. Like I said AJ Terrell is their best cornerback and when he got hurt, the team got exposed. I will say Dee Alford has potential as he has been solid when he is on the field. However the Falcons need help on this defense desperately.
3. The Team Quit on the Coach
You know entering the season, I thought Arthur Smith was a solid coach, but after this season I really don't know about him as the coach. It was a few months ago I thought that the Falcons were a dark horse to win this division when they were 4-4. Then the lost 6 of there last 7 games and are now eliminated from the playoffs. That is just a complete collapse and watching there past few games it is clear, this team quit on the coach. They gave up a majority of those games and I got to say it is very concerning. Do I think Arthur Smith is going to be fired at the end of the season? No, because entering the season almost everyone knew the Falcons were not going to be good and are still on their tank. The 2nd half of the season is a bit of an eye opener. If I am Arthur Smith, I would make adjustments to change that for next season.
On The Bright Side - The Falcons have one of the best O-lines in the NFL
If I were to ever start a rebuild, I would always focus on building the offensive line. Well Atlanta has already done that and in my opinion they have a Top 5 o-line in the NFL. From the starters and backups the o-line has been fantastic. There are three that stand out. First is Chris Lindstrom, who has easily been the best guard in the NFL this season and to me it is not even close. Second is Jake Matthews has had yet another great season as a blindside blocker. The one o-lineman that has really impressed me the most is Kaleb McGary as he has heavily improved as a pass/run blocker. In my opinion the Falcons need to resign or franchise tag McGary and if they don’t he is going to get paid a lot during the offseason. Atlanta is on the right track with a good o-line, lets see if the Falcons can take there rebuild in the next stage.