Three Atlanta Falcons players are celebrating their birthdays today, Aug. 3.
But of these three, which one is more important for the Falcons this season and in the long game? That answer isn’t as easy as you think.
On the surface, Todd Gurley has a lot to prove this year. He went from being a first-team All-Pro in back to back years, an offensive player of the year and a key cog on a Los Angeles Rams team that made it to the Super Bowl, to being cut unceremoniously a couple years later.
Running backs just aren’t valued the same now as they used to be. And Gurley has health issues in his knees which is the last place you want a running back to be having problems. Secondly, running backs seem to get phased out after they turn 30, regardless of how productive they’ve been. Anybody heard from Matt Forte recently?
But while Gurley may have the most to prove, Dante Fowler, Jr. is by far the most important Atlanta Falcon celebrating the 26th birthday today. The Falcons consistently rank near the bottom of the league in pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Atlanta Falcons need Dante Fowler more than Gurley and Koo
The Falcons don’t just need him to replace Vic Beasley, they need him to be a one-man wrecking crew. We know what we’re going to get from Grady Jarrett, but Takk McKinley has yet to live up to the hype he creates for himself. If Fowler turns in a monster year, it will allow McKinely to go one on one more often and take the pressure off of the young secondary.
But let’s face it, Younghoe Koo has the best shot at a lengthy career. Defensive linemen can be expensive when they start making plays. It’s why Jadeveon Clowney still hasn’t found a home. And if Fowler balls out, Atlanta will likely not be able to afford him for long. But enter Koo.
After kicking 50 percent with the Chargers, Koo turned it around to nail about 89% of his field goals in Atlanta.
Not to mention, he’s a Georgia Southern kid. The fans love him, and he helped the Falcons recover back to back onside kicks against the Saints last year in a game they could’ve won. That’s impressive. Kickers can be the difference between wins and losses, ask Matt Bryant.
If Koo stays consistent and healthy, the man has a solid 10 plus years left in him. And for all three birthday boys, Falcons fans should be excited.