3 special teams moves that the Falcons must make this offseason

Three under the radar moves that could make or break the Falcons special teams unit this offseason.

Indianapolis Colts v Atlanta Falcons
Indianapolis Colts v Atlanta Falcons / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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3. Find their new kick returner

In today's NFL, teams need two capable kick returners. With Avery Williams returning from injury, that takes care of one spot. At the second, they currently have a void. In 2021-2023, that spot was occupied by Cordarrelle Patterson, whose contract has now ended. Should the Falcons opt to re-sign Patterson, he would likely fill that role again. However, the question that should be asked here is this: is Patterson still the same player he once was? The answer to that, it seems, is no. As a ball carrier, Cordarrelle suffered a significant regression in 2023. Whether this was on Arthur Smith or Father Time remains to be seen, but Arthur Smith was not calling special teams, and Patterson also took a step back there.

After returning 13 kickoffs for 284 yards and a touchdown in 2022, averaging a whopping 31.6 yards per return, Patterson was a shell of himself in 2022. On 14 kickoff returns last season, Patterson collected only 153 yards. (21.9 yards per return) Patterson's deepest return was only 29 yards in the 2023 season, a regression that, on average, set the Falcons up at their 22-yard line instead of their 32-yard line.

Even if Patterson is brought back, the Falcons should seriously consider fielding a new starting kick returner opposite Avery Williams. Whether that returner is already on the roster or even currently in the league remains to be seen, but either way, Atlanta might have seen the last of Patterson running back kickoffs. If that is the case, it was an honor to cheer for Cordarrelle for three seasons.

Next. Matt Ryan essentially confirms he is retired from the NFL. Matt Ryan essentially confirms he is retired from the NFL. dark