There is nothing better than the days after a victory. Whether it’s a pickup basketball game or an Atlanta Falcons preseason win against the Tennessee Titans.
The accomplishment of winning is beyond comparison. But what defines a champion are the steps taken following a win. For the Falcons, there are some leaps that are going to be interesting to watch.
First and foremost, the defense looked totally renewed and revitalized against the hapless Titans offense, led by the rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota.
This quarterback was the second overall pick, and all the Falcons had were a few clips from college and OTA’s of the Hawaiian. Nonetheless, they were able to keep the slippery, quick Mariota, for the most part, at bay as they contained the pocket.
Though this was only a small fete to where this unit can go, there still remained a massive hole across the middle that tight ends and slot guys across the league will look to exploit. As we know from last year, that may be the Achilles heel to the defense if the line cannot continually penetrate the backfield and pressure the quarterback.
The second most notable leap is how the offense looked being led by Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. It was midseason form, but as they exited, the scrubs looked much like what you may find on an intramural field in college. There was nothing to be overly impressed by once they began to lead the offensive attack.
That being said, the lack of depth behind the stars are always a concern for every NFL team, but it is glaringly obvious all the more with the Falcons who struggled to move the ball against the Titans defense.
If the Falcons hope to capture the momentum everyone is searching for, they must continue to refine the talent—especially at backup quarterback—if they hope to remove themselves from the miry clay that has been their homes for the previous years.Aug 14, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) before a play with center Joe Hawley (61) in the first quarter of their preseason NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
There were many bright spots in the young talent that was on the field, but despite the hope of Leonard Hankerson, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman and Justin Hardy, there are many concerns in getting them the ball from Sean Renfree and T.J. Yates.
Unfortunately, the drop off from Ryan to these “gun-slingers” is deeper than the depths of Lake Superior, and Ryan must stay healthy if the Falcons hope to have a shot at a winning season.
But again, there are many signs that lead to believe that the Dan Quinn experiment is already paying off as they are have revamped the defense and focused on being more aggressive.
All of these can lead this team away from the lower quarter of the NFL, and will prepare it for continued growth as an organization.
If this team is going to reach its full potential, it must weather the storm of the rebuilding efforts and hope the stars remain healthy. If they can, from what we’re already seeing of the defense, they may accomplish a division title. But if they can’t, then it could be a very long season for the Falcons.
The measure of a champion is always met with how they respond to adversity, but as Falcons fans, we hope to avoid the dangerous wrath of extreme adversity because it may be too great to overcome this year.
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