2. Improvement in the trenches
The Atlanta Falcons must fully address the trenches this offseason. If Arthur Smith is to be successful, the trenches have to be successful. Falcons fans saw an improved offensive line last season, mainly in the running game. The offensive line held up a little bit better compared to the 2021 season in the passing game, as Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder were able to extend plays with their legs.
Everyone knows that to win in football, a solid offensive and defensive line is a must-have. While the offensive line has a good base, the Falcons must continue to add to it and build depth. The center position is one that may be upgraded, as Drew Dalman and Matt Hennessey have been inconsistent in their young careers.
Kaleb McGary is coming off of a much improved 2022 season, and it remains to be seen what the Falcons will do with him contract-wise. Jake Matthews and Chris Lindstrom were fairly consistent throughout the season.
On the other side of the ball, the defensive line has been a glaring issue at Flowery Branch for several years now. The pass rush is arguably non-existent in most games, and that makes it difficult for the secondary to cover receivers for long periods of time. Grady Jarrett did what Grady Jarrett does, but he was double-teamed by opposing offensive lines at times, and when the Falcons don’t have a second star lineman, it becomes a tough day out for the defense.
But the Falcons can improve the defensive line and outside linebackers, though. A good start would be re-signing Lorenzo Carter, who impressed last season. Arnold Ebiketie showed tons of promise, and the Falcons will hope he can build on his rookie season. Adetokunbo Ogundeji and Taquon Graham also showed positive signs throughout the season.
Terry Fontenot must strengthen the trenches if the Falcons are to be successful, as well as another wide receiver and cornerback.