Biggest offseason decisions facing Atlanta Falcons, rest of NFC Sorth
The Atlanta Falcons made strides in Dan Quinn’s first season as head coach, but they threw away a 5-0 start to finish 8-8 and way out of the playoffs. To make a run at the postseason in 2016, a lot needs to happen.
Biggest offseason question: Where’s the pass rush?
Notable free agent: Adrian Clayborn
Biggest needs: Pass rusher, MLB, WR, OL
Outlook: First off the Falcons need to generate a pass rush after registering just 19 sacks in 2015 – three fewer than in 2014 – ranking dead last in the NFL. Vic Beasley’s development will help, but Atlanta needs to find more edge rushers who can go get the quarterback.
Outside of that, shoring up the group of middle linebackers is key. The Falcons were burned by running backs and tight ends due to poor coverage from the linebackers.
On offense, finding a wide receiver to pair with Julio Jones is key. Jones is a star but was asked to do too much in 2015. With Roddy White’s production suffering a dramatic decline, finding another threat on the boundary would help Matt Ryan.
Next: Five mid-round receivers the Falcons should look at
Bolstering the offensive line is key, too. The line did their job last term, but center was an obvious issue and the Falcons would benefit from upgrades to the interior of the offensive line.