Check out this article on the Falcons weaknesses from Arrowhead Addict. If you think the holes or potential weaknesses on our team aren’t completely obvious and evident to other teams, this will prove otherwise.
Among the notes that are made is that as a unit, the Falcons offensive line is a little better than average. They are way better than the New York Jets o-line, and there are many other teams who have lesser talent, or championship caliber teams with talent equal to ours. But that same line is not without its weaker links.
Sam Baker isn’t particularly good. Garrett Reynolds is going to get the starting job right off the bat in 2012, despite his absolutely putrid performance last season. Todd McClure is well past his prime, and while he provides great veteran leadership and knows exactly what it takes to be effective playing center in the NFL, he is probably in his last season with the Falcons.
Sure, Peter Konz started at center in college. He will probably take over the center job next season. But the Falcons also cross-trained him at right guard, and he couldn’t beat Reynolds out for that job. I think it is easy to say that the Falcons will get it done on the line, but just barely.
I’m very concerned about who the Falcons will draft in 2013. We desperately need a defensive end who can get after the quarterback for the next decade, but we need a left tackle who can protect the quarterback for the next decade just as much if not more. Guard might be a position more easily addressed, as a second or third round pick could end up starting and do a good job (if we decide to move away from Reynolds at right guard), but an elite left tackle has to go in the first round, unless you want to take a gamble on a player later.
The other position that Arrowhead Addict says is a pressure point that could be taken advantage of is on the other side of the ball. The middle linebacker position will feature Akeem Dent as the starter. One thing I noticed in the preseason was that against the first team defense, teams did a really good job of gashing the Falcons with runs up the middle. Four+ yard gains out the wazoo. I hate to say it, but I think that is directly upon Dent, who is just learning this position and is taking over from a guy who knew how to play and was as sure a tackler as there is. There is nothing to say that Dent cant eventually become a very good MLB, but right now he is more a liability than a big-time playmaker.
Can these weaknesses play well enough this season to allow the Falcons to win? I think the offensive line will. I think Dent can, but the only question is how long it will take him to play at the level necessary for success. Either way, the offensive line needs serious upgrading, defensive end needs help, and depending on what Dent shows this season, we could be looking for a new MLB.