The Atlanta Falcons are stuck in sports purgatory.
The Atlanta Falcons have found themselves in the worst spot for sports, or really any organization to be in the In-Between.
It’s, unfortunately, something that dooms every Atlanta team, as the Hawks were stuck there for years with Joe Johnson. But that’s where the Falcons are now. And they have a decision to make.
The Falcons have always been good enough to get to the playoffs and play themselves out of a top draft pick at the most inopportune time. They’ll start 1-7 but finished 6-2. They’ll go 10-6 but lose in the Divisional round of the playoffs. So you look at Atlanta and they clearly aren’t a bottom dweller as they’ll beat good teams but then they aren’t competing with the top tier.
So how do teams like the Falcons get out of sports purgatory? You commit to a rebuild or a spending spree. Notice the word “or.” Very few franchises have pulled this off at the same time. In fact, the Warriors are trying to do it now in the NBA. They sat Steph and Klay for the majority of the year, scouted some young players, moved some pieces but now have a lottery pick with still generational talent.
Enter the Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons committed to a spending spree on offense but a rebuild on defense. Except their rebuild has been too much for their offense to overcome. They cancel each other out, hence the in-between.
The Falcons offense is littered with first-round picks, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Jake Matthews, Kaleb McGary, Chris Lindstrom, Todd Gurley, my goodness you get the point. The Falcons have invested a ton of money in some of those guys.
Defensively, it’s rebuild time.
Their secondary and defensive line is a joke. Outside of Grady Jarrett, no one has deserved the money they are getting. Isaiah Oliver has no reason to be on this team outside of the practice squad, AJ Terrell is a rookie playing one of the hardest positions in the NFL, there is no pass rush, in fact, name four guys not named Jarrett or McKinley on that defensive line.
The silver lining is the Falcons 0-5 start. Yes, going winless is a silver lining. It’s time for the Falcons to commit to the rebuild. This team, as constructed, will not and cannot compete for a Super Bowl. That’s just a fact. And due to poor spending habits this past offseason, Atlanta isn’t equipped to go the spending spree route. Instead, the last few years of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones will be wasted waiting for the defense to catch up.
Hence, the Atlanta Falcons leadership has a decision to make. And there has been no better time than to rebuild. At year’s end, you will have a new coach, new GM, new coaching staff, and a high draft pick. That breath of fresh air means burn it down and start it over.
Whether Arthur Blank is here to see it through doesn’t matter. But at the very least, it’s time for Atlanta to get out of the in-between and start committing to something.