The Best Atlanta Falcons Specialists Over the Past 20 Seasons

Seattle Seahawks v Atlanta Falcons
Seattle Seahawks v Atlanta Falcons / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

The best specialists for the Atlanta Falcons over the past two decades

As we continue to look through the past twenty-year history of the Atlanta Falcons, we’ll be focusing on the specialists. This will include kickers, punters, and returners that have provided an underrated but important impact on the team.

You can find rankings for the five best offensive linemen,  five best running backs, three best tight ends, and five best wide receivers from the past few days as well. Although those articles utilized a traditional ranking system, this one will instead focus on the key special teams' players from the past 20 seasons.

1. Kickers: Matt Bryant and Younghoe Koo

Younghoe Koo
Arizona Cardinals v Atlanta Falcons / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

After being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008, Matt Bryant didn’t sign with the Falcons until December to replace Jason Elam. He played the next five games and became a fixture for Atlanta over the next ten seasons.

Bryant was the NFL’s scoring leader in 2016, received Pro Bowl honors, and holds the team records for most career points, most points in a single season, most field goals made and attempted, and the most extra points made and attempted in a single season.

His kicking exploits helped the Falcons make the playoffs numerous times and Bryant hit multiple game-winners for the team throughout his career. Although he struggled at the end of his time in Atlanta, his release eventually led the Falcons to sign Younghoe Koo.

Koo struggled in his rookie season with the Los Angeles Chargers and was viewed as a band-aid when he signed with Atlanta. Since that time, he has made over 100 field goals for Atlanta, was named to the Pro Bowl in 2020, and led the NFL in points during the same season.

Koo also become a bit of an onside specialist when he successfully converted three attempts in a single game. Now that the Atlanta Falcons have signed him to a long-term contract, his leg will hopefully help the team reach their goal of making the playoffs this season.

2. Punters: Matt Bosher and Michael Koenen

Matt Bryant, Matt Bosher
Tennessee Titans v Atlanta Falcons / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

After being drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 2011, Matt Bosher was a staple for the team throughout the next nine years. Although he was never named to the Pro Bowl, he is second on the team’s all-time leaders for punting yards and punted nearly 500 times for the team.

Michael Koenen signed with the Falcons in 2005 after going undrafted. He ended up playing six seasons with the team and is fourth on the team’s all-time list. He was also involved in one of the most historic plays in NFL history as New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason blocked one of his punts for a touchdown in the Saints’ first home game since Hurricane Katrina.

A special shoutout for Josh Harris who was with the Atlanta Falcons for 10 seasons as a long snapper. He helped ensure a smooth transition between the team’s punters and kickers throughout his entire career with the team.

3. Returners: Allen Rossum, Eric Weems, Jerious Norwood, Cordarrelle Patterson

Allen Rossum
Falcons Allen Rossum / George Gojkovich/GettyImages

Although Rossum only played five seasons in Atlanta, his impact on the special teams unit was significant. He played in over 60 games, is first overall in the team’s kick return and punt return yardage and was a Pro Bowler in 2005. He also owns the record for the most punt return yards in a playoff game when he racked up 152 yards against the St. Louis Rams in 2004.

Eric Weems played seven total seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and was another underrated but important contributor. He played in over 100 games, was a first-team All-Pro in 2010, and was named to the Pro Bowl during that same season.

He also contributed modest production as a receiver, never fumbled during his entire career, and even racked up some forced fumbles on the coverage unit. He only played one more season after leaving Atlanta (the second time) but is well-regarded amongst Falcons fans for his impact.

Jerious Norwood was a bit of a “do-everything” player for the Atlanta Falcons. He contributed to the rush game, served as a receiver out of the backfield, and returned kicks during his time with the team. He’s fourth all-time on the team’s kick return yardage list and appeared in 57 games throughout his time in Atlanta.

Although Cordarrelle Patterson is far down the all-time list for the Atlanta Falcons, it’s important to highlight his historic moment last season. Patterson only returned nine kicks all year, but one of them was a 103-yard touchdown that set the all-time record for career return touchdowns. Patterson has seemingly been a stellar teammate since joining the Falcons and his accomplishment deserves to be recognized.

Next. Falcons: Best tight ends of past 20 years. dark