The offseason is flying by, and we’re now in June. It only seems like yesterday that Russell Wilson was throwing a deflated football into the hands of Malcolm Butler. We’re now into June and the Atlanta Falcons are well into their offseason program.
We’ve spoken a lot about the disastrous 2014 season, to the point where I know just about every team statistic and ranking off the top of my head by now — 24th in rushing offense, fifth in passing offense and fourth in field goal percentage, if you were wondering.
But never fear, the 2015 season is fast approaching. The sun is shining and we can enjoy the remainder of the offseason before the business gets underway on September 14.
At this point of the season, just about every fan of every team is optimistic, apart from the poor Jags. Ultimately, one team will be happy in early February, while the other 31 will be trying to figure out what they need to do to win a championship.
May 26, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn shown on the field during OTA at Falcons Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The 2015 season is an interesting one for the Falcons — can they return to the playoffs, or is that too much to ask from Dan Quinn in his first year? Here are the best and worst case scenarios.
Worst case scenario
Naturally, let’s get the negative one out the way first. What would be the worst way for this season to end? No signs of improvement.
For me, it doesn’t matter if the Falcons don’t reach the playoffs this season. It doesn’t matter if they don’t quite reach a winning record. What matters is there is clear progress and signs pointing in the right direction.
We need the rookies to flash potential — we can’t expect them all to dominate, but they need to give us a preview of what’s to come. The defense needs to improve.
If the Falcons are sluggish, the rookies don’t perform well and the team slumps to another disappointing four-to-six win record, then the season could be labeled a disaster. Atlanta will want to avoid the injury bug, too.
Best case scenario
Obviously, the best case scenario is the Falcons go 16-0 on the way to a Super Bowl victory, becoming the first team to go all season without conceding a touchdown.
Now I might be putting my neck on the line here, but I don’t think that will ever happen…
But what would be the best season we can hope for? Well, it starts with progress. If the Falcons take advantage of their favorable schedule, they could land themselves a division crown and a playoff berth. If Quinn gets the team playing well and the offseason acquisitions step up to the plate, this team can hit the 10-win mark.
And when you reach the playoffs, who knows? Anything can happen.
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Ultimately, the Falcons’ season would likely be ended by the Packers or Seahawks, but it would be a great season if Atlanta can not only make the playoffs, but go on and win a game too. If Quinn can bring playoff football to the Georgia Dome as well as a victory, this will be labeled a great season for the Dirty Birds.
More importantly though is the word I’ve used a couple of times in this article… progress. If the Falcons’ offense clicks into gear with a strong run game and a high-flying aerial attack, it’s a success.
If the defense improves and the young players flash potential, it’s a success. If Quinn can improve the team in each department and show promising signs for 2016 and beyond, this will be a great season.
Limit your expectations, Falcons fans. This team isn’t going to the Super Bowl. If Atlanta wins eight games but make major strides under Quinn, we can be happy. Anything more than that and we’re laughing.