I have been thinking about the future of this franchise and various personnel decisions that will be made or need to be made for the Falcons to move on. Kinda going off the thoughts of my counterpart Jamie Kelly, here are my big three thought on future Falcon personnel moves:
1. How can the Falcons improve their offensive and defensive lines THIS offseason without a 1st & 4th round draft pick? The 4th may not be so important, but the 1st could shore up the Left Tackle position if Svitek is not the long term option, or on a Right Guard perparing for the inevitable switch of Joe Hawley from RG to Center. Most of the rest of that line is set and very solid. Garrett Reynolds and/or Mike Johnson could end up being solutions at RG, so stay tuned on that front.
Defensive line is another issue. How can the Falcons get a great pass rushing defensive end without those draft picks? John Abraham is far too old to be counted on much longer, Ray Edwards is looking like he was a product of the great teammates he had in Minnesota and Biermann & Sidbury are rotation/role players. The Falcons need to draft a dominant pass rusher soon, or they may pay a big price in the Win-Loss column.
Another thought for a potential draft pick: should the 2nd round pick be used on a TE? I think that would be completely appropriate given Gonzalez’ age. An heir must be appointed at that position. Georgia’s Charles & Clemson’s Allen would fit well.
2. Our pass defense was carved better than any ham anyone ate on Christmas. It is time to start looking for other options at Free Safety, Nickel Corner, and the #2 Corner position (currently held by Dunta Robinson. Check out my article on the last New Orleans game to see my feelings on him). Kelvin Hayden is experienced, but we need someone consistently healthy. If he were, I’d re-sign him, but he’s not. Robinson is a fiasco, so as soon as its possible to get rid of him I would like to. Thomas DeCoud is ok, but he may not be the best option. Then again, he hasn’t been the worst he possibly could be, and he could be exactly what we need. Anyways, the coaching staff needs to look very carefully at every individual in the secondary. One thing is certain though: Brent Grimes MUST be re-signed. It is crucial.
3. Coordinator Jobs. Mike Mularkey may have saved his job in the last 3 weeks against Carolina, Jacksonville, and New Orleans with pretty good game plan & play calling. He was miserable before that. That is if he doesn’t take a job elsewhere. Brian Van Gorder however, has not been a very good defensive coordinator. He may be a good motivator, but his coverages are very simple. Atlanta runs a lot of Cover-2, which is fine if you have two terrific pass rushers and a great middle linebacker (look at Chicago). John Abraham draws the double team consistently, and no other pass rusher can do what he does. Curtis Lofton is a great MLB, but no Brian Urlacher. BVG seems to not understand that he needs to mix coverages, not be afraid to call more man-to-man, blitz other defenders to create pressure, and change things up. Chicago can call the standard, straight up Cover-2 cause they have those great talented pieces. BVG must use those different coverages to confuse the quarterback. Van Gorder is capable, but seems unwilling to change. Even I could call more exotic looks than Van Gorder.
These are some of the issues that need to be addressed sooner rather than later, and are my opinions. We would love to hear your opinions.