Michael Turner had no holes, Matt Ryan passed a season high 40 times and had a season high of three turnovers.
They went away from the usual gameplan, run then pass. Despite this and dropped passes (Roddy White dropped a 35 yard pass and a couple first downs), mental mistakes (Jenkins failed to see Cardinal defender fell down and turned out of bounds ending the drive with a FG, punt catch interference,), and the three turnovers that cost them 14 points the Falcons were still in the game, down 30-24 with 2:17 left.
And then they made yet another mental mistake, somehow allowing a Cardinal receiver on 3rd-and-16 to be uncovered down the middle of the field. Game over.
Even so I applauded my Falcons as they ran off the field for the last time this year. I mean they weren’t even supposed to win five games yet they had only five losses.
So what is to come this offseason for the Falcons?
Well this year the question marks won’t be there as they were last year when they needed just about everything.
Home games include the Eagles, Redskins, Dolphins, Bills, Bears, and the division. If key upgrades aren’t made the Falcons will struggle to finish .500 yet alone above .500 (which has never happened back to back years in franchise history, so fate is against us).
The first thing that needs to happen is letting go of Lawyer Milloy. He is a free agent to be, slow (Boldin smoked him on that 70+ yard TD) and old.
There are much more important players that need to be signed. Keith Brooking and Michael Boley should both be back in Atlanta next season.
Grady Jackson is pretty old and can’t play every down, let him go.
I don’t believe the Falcons will be pursuing any particular free agents because of the amount of draft picks they have. Remember DeAngelo Hall was traded to the Raiders for a second- and fifth-round pick.
The Falcons early draft picks should all be used on defensive players. The Falcons D ranked 26th in the league last year and it needs to be improved.
Since Lawyer Milloy and Grady Jackson shouldn’t be back, look for these two positions to be addressed first.
Look for guys like Rashad Johnson from Alabama, Taylor Mays of USC (unlikely to fall that far if he declares), or Patrick Chung of Oregon.
To replace Grady Jacksonlook for Terrence Cody (if he declares), BJ Raji of Boston College, or Peria Jerry of Ole Miss, who all weigh over 300 pounds, and would fit well plugging holes like Grady did.
As well as Justin Peele played in the red zone, the Falcons did not have a tight end that could get open all over the field. Look for them to possibly draft Chase Coffman or Cornelius Ingram. They might even try a trade, for Tony Gonzalez or Kellen Winslow, but I doubt they’d try for Kellen Winslow because he seems to be a problem.
After that most of the draft will be for depth on the defense and a few offensive line spots. A linebacker and a corner for the defense and a tackle or center for the offensive line.
No matter what the Falcons do, in Dimitroff we trust. He knows how to build a team, look at the Patriots.
The future is finally bright for Atlanta, even brighter then when Michael Vick was acquired for LaDanian Tomlinson (what a trade!).