Not only will the Atlanta Falcons have quite the bounce back year in 2019, but they will also collect a lot of the hardware bestowed among the league’s best when it is said and done.
There is a lot of internal confidence among the those inside the walls at the Atlanta Falcons Flowery Branch headquarters and there should be. The off-season moves and draft picks that Thomas Dimitroff has made, look to be exactly what the franchise needed.
This upcoming season will see impact players like Keanu Neal, Deion Jones and Robert Alford return to a defense that badly missed them in 2018 and much needed additions on the offensive line to keep Matt Ryan from being hit 102 times again.
There is reason for both trepidation and hope; what you see and feel is determined by where you stand – though not sure why anyone would purposely set out to be negative about every single move a team they root for makes. (Our comments are full of these “fans”)
As Blogging Dirty has stated, the expectation is that this team will win the NFC South and at minimum earn a spot in the NFC Championship Game. With that success, several members of the Atlanta Falcons will take home some much deserved hardware.
Coach of the Year
Dan Quinn will be the 2019 NFL coach of the year. In 2016, Dan Quinn got screwed when Jason Garrett of the Cowboys was named the NFL head coach of the year. After the Falcons win 12 games in 2019, with arguably one of the four toughest schedules in the league, Dan Quinn will be rewarded with the recognition he should have received in 2016.
Quinn is the definition of a player’s coach. There is not a single guy in that locker room that would not give everything they have for Dan Quinn. Like most successful coaches in sports today, the players know that Dan Quinn cares about them as individuals and not simply as players.
The “Brotherhood” is real and tangible. The level of commitment that those on this roster have to each other, the coaching staff, the franchise and the city of Atlanta is truly genuine and all of it is Dan Quinn’s doing.
Most Valuable Player/Offensive player of the year
Matt Ryan took home the 2016 Most Valuable Player award in 2016 and has followed that up with two more fantastic seasons despite the changes and injuries around him. Matt Ryan has never been one to point fingers; he routinely says “me” when things go bad and “they” when things go right. That is what a leader does.
That said, is there a more disrespected MVP among their own fan base not named Matt Ryan? The good news for the contingency of Matt Ryan supporters, 2019 will see Matt Ryan add his second Most Valuable Player award thus validating the first one he won in 2016.
Oh, Matt Ryan’s average stats the last three seasons: 4,654 yards, 31 TD’s and 8 Int’s. Ryan is in the middle of his prime and the Falcons are the beneficiary.
Comeback Player of the Year
With the impact players that missed a lot of time for the Atlanta Falcons in 2018, there are several candidates for this award. However, my gut feeling is that Keanu Neal will be the 2019 recipient of this award.
Neal has averaged more than 110 tackles, four forced fumbles and a handful of “OH SH**” hits during his first couple NFL seasons and not having your free safety in 2018 was a huge blow to the Falcons defense. There were a lot of missed assignments and blown coverage due to Neal’s absence. Anytime you can add a pro-bowl safety to the back-end of your defense, good things seem to happen.
Also, do not sleep in Ra’Shede Hageman. The last time we saw him a Falcons uniform in Super Bowl LI, he looked like he was coming into his own as an NFL player that was chosen in the second round. If he has truly grown up and comes in ready to compete, he could be the story of the year in the NFL.
With all the positive news coming out of Flowery Branch as we inch closer to training camp, not sure why some choose to be negative about the 2019 season. There are a lot of reason to be excited about what could transpire as this team zeroes in on Miami and Super Bowl LIV.