Which Jonnu Smith are the Atlanta Falcons getting?
After two disappointing seasons in New England, the hype around Jonnu Smith arriving in Atlanta has been diminished at best. Fans throughout the league will question if the Falcons are getting the version of Smith who struggled up north and couldn’t find his place on the team, or if they’re getting the Tennessee version who looked like a consistent option for the Titans.
The reasons for optimism include the fact Jonnu will be reunited with head coach Arthur Smith, he’ll be back in a unique offense, and he won’t have to deal with Matt Patricia or Joe Judge calling plays anymore. The Falcons should find a variety of ways to implement him in the offense and hopefully provide a security blanket for young quarterback Desmond Ridder.
On the other side of things, anyone who watched a Patriots game last year likely saw a tight end who seemed uninterested, never made a huge impact consistently, and scored only one touchdown throughout the last two seasons combined. He also dealt with the struggles of playing with a young quarterback in Mac Jones and those issues could arise again if Ridder struggles.
Depending on what version the Falcons get throughout the season could determine how much Ridder develops as a quarterback, how Coach Smith is able to call his offense, and how many wins the team picks up throughout the season.
Casual NFL fans may question how much impact a backup/second tight end can have on an offense, but folks should also remember that Kyle Pitts could start the season slow after his ACL injury and that the rest of the Falcons receiving group is either young or unproven.
The move could also determine Smith’s future in the NFL. His contract has no guaranteed money after this season, and if he struggles to make an impact for the third season in a row, teams around the league might question if he’s simply washed rather than if he’s just in the wrong offense.