It is make-or-break time for the Atlanta Falcons
The current state of the Atlanta Falcons is teetering in a very dangerous way
The Falcons had downright dreadful regular seasons in 2013 and 2014 and that called for major changes. Owner Arthur Blank fired Mike Smith as the head coach and replaced him with Dan Quinn.
In one season Quinn took a 6-10 team in 2014 to an 8-8 team but what he does in year two will ultimately decided which direction this franchise is headed. Quinn will have to shoulder both the positives and negatives and it’s up to him to put a team out on the field that he can be proud of.
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Quinn has now been through two free agency periods as Falcons’ head coach. In those two periods, Quinn has made drastic moves. He has cut one of the most beloved players in franchise history, he has signed several players that has yet to prove his worth and he has nearly decimated a defensive unit in just over a years’ time.
The up-to-date roster is looking very shaky. It’s extremely thin in some areas and time is running out to fill in the cracks. Take a look at the defensive depth chart. The Falcons have just four safeties on the roster, three of which are free safeties. Quinn cut William Moore which leaves Kemal Ishmael is as the N0. 1 guy at the strong safety position. Not only is Ishmael not worthy of a starting job, but there no depth. There were safeties out on the open market and the Falcons made the decision not to sign any of them.
If that looks bad, the linebacking corps will make you throw up. If the 2016 regular season were to start today, the three starting linebackers would be Sean Weatherspoon, Paul Worrilow and Brooks Reed. As much as I want that to be a bad dream, it isn’t. Thats the reality that we are having to deal with.
However, it gets worse. Their current backups are non-existent. The backups at this time would be Tyler Starr, Phillip Wheeler and LaRoy Reynolds. That just makes me want to crawl up into a ball in cry. Now sure, that won’t be what the unit looks like when the Falcons take the field for training camp, but how much better can it really get? Best case scenario is that the Falcons draft a linebacker in the first round and fill in a couple of other roster spots with some guys who will never see the field.
Choosing to cut Justin Durant and no re-sign Nate Stupar is starting to look like a bad idea. And the stupidity of not signing O’Brien Schofield who is still out on the open market just makes it even worse.
The defensive line it self is in a lot better shape than the linebacking corps. The addition of Derrick Shelby at defensive end paired up with Vic Beasley should be very nice. The progression of Ra’Shede Hageman is coming along good and players such Jonathan Babineaux and Grady Jarrett should bring a lot to the table as well. I wish the same could be said about that dreadful linebacking corps.
Luckily for the Falcons, there are a lot of positive things on the offensive side of the ball. Pretty much every position is filled with a player that’s either really good or at least with someone who can play. The only position on the offense that may need some ironing out is the guard positions on the offensive line and the third wide receiver spot.
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This was supposed to be a defensive-led team with Quinn at the helm but in the first two years as head coach, it’s very far from it. What Quinn does in the 2016 season is either going to tip them into the right direction, or send them spiraling out of control and into the abyss.