Since the Atlanta Falcons run to the Super Bowl in 2016, it seems it’s been all downhill from there. From poor front office decisions to an owner that maybe shouldn’t still be running things, to bloated contracts and poor coaching, the Atlanta Falcons have been snakebit.
While some cities produce champions in all sports because they have money to spend, looking at you Los Angeles, the Atlanta Falcons don’t have that same luxury.
But what they do have is a blueprint to finding sustainable success laid out for them by their counterparts: the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks.
The Atlanta Falcons have to commit to rebuilding this team around the defensive side of the ball.
You don’t have to go very far to find two teams who were just in the Falcons’ position.
Aging players on bad contracts, in need of new coaching, and a much less than enthused fan-base who saw a team that was underperforming on the field. Then what did the two teams do? They committed to a rebuild and did it the right way.
A mix of young talent to be developed, the necessary veterans to keep the ship from sinking, and promise to deliver teams worthy of championship-contending. In the past two years, both the Braves and the Hawks found themselves just a couple wins from reaching the World Series and NBA Finals, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Falcons have found themselves a couple wins away from being the worst team in the league.
The Falcons are in a position for a similar rebuild. Surprisingly, it’s going to come from the defensive side of the ball. Atlanta has been known as an offensive juggernaut since Julio entered the league.
Some bad coordinator hires have led to some head-scratching stats over the years, especially with their inability to score touchdowns in the red zone but Atlanta needs to change their approach.
They already have Deion Jones, Grady Jarrett, and an up-and-coming AJ Terrell in place.
They are a solid edge rusher away from having a formidable defense team will actually have to respect. Instead, they’ve been stuck trying to hold on to the glory days of Matt Ryan’s arm which are slowly, but surely fading away.
The Falcons need to do what the Braves and Hawks did. Identify the young talent, make sure they keep it in place, forego cheap wins and build through the draft, accept that losses are a part of the plan, and move on from bad contracts.
It seems Terry Fontenot has at least gotten part of that message. Though moving on from Julio Jones for two measly picks will always be questionable.
But if the Atlanta Falcons want to put a product on the field that fans and the city can be proud of, be transparent.
These next two or so years are going to be rough, but there’s a plan in place to build through the draft and smart signings and if fans can stick with us through that, they will be rewarded.