The 2023 season should be a measuring stick for the Atlanta Falcons as they try and figure out the immediate and long-term future of this team. Specifically, the quarterback position is going to be under the microscope, of course.
Can Desmond Ridder get it done, or is he ultimately going to prove himself to be replaceable? How will the season go overall, and what should fans even expect?
Let's look at four possible nightmares the Falcons could endure this season, and yes, one or two might include the possibility of that young quarterback struggling.
1. Any major injury to a young, cornerstone player
This should go without saying, but the last thing Falcons fans want to see in 2023 is an injury to a young, cornerstone player. A major injury could derail any contending team, of course. But, the Falcons are a team that is attempting to engineer a youth movement going into the future and want to set up their roster with cornerstones to build upon.
If one of Drake London, Bijan Robinson, A.J. Terrell, Kyle Pitts or even guys like Kaleb McGary or Chris Lindstrom were to suffer a major injury, it would set back the core of this team in a big way. These are the young guys this team wants to build around. They're the ones who need every valuable rep to continue building chemistry and building this thing into a future contender.
Out of all those guys, the one I would be worried about most is Robinson. He has the build and skill set to handle a heavy workload. But, why give him a Derrick Henry type of load in his rookie year, when the Falcons are unlikely to contend for anything serious?
Fans should hope to see these guys continue to progress and play good football, but not be overused if the team can afford it.