Atlanta Falcons: Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios for 2012
In the video above, Bleacher Report's own Dan Levy, Josh Zerkle, Matt Miller and yours truly take a crack at the best- and worst-case scenarios for the Atlanta Falcons heading into the 2012 NFL season.
The Falcons were downright embarrassed the last time we saw them on a football field, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champs, 24-2. However, since that outing, there has been a lot of change both in the coaching and player ranks. And Falcons fans hope it will lead to a better outcome than another dismissal in the first round of the playoffs at the hands of the eventual Super Bowl champs...again.
Help comes in the form of rookies Peter Konz out of Wisconsin and Lamar Holmes out of Southern Mississippi. Both figure to help improve an offensive line that took a step back in 2011. Also helping matters is the fact that Atlanta has one of the best young signal-callers in the game in Matt Ryan.
As you will no doubt note in the video above, my big hang-up with the Falcons is the hiring of Dirk Koetter to be offensive coordinator. Koetter is fresh off of coordinating one of the worst professional offensive attacks I have ever seen in my life. How much of that had to do with the lack of talent down in Jacksonville, and how much was due to Koetter's coaching and scheme? We'll soon find out.
For Falcons fans' sake, here's hoping he makes me eat my words.
There are no such reservations on the defensive side of the ball. Head coach Mike Smith hired long-time defensive mercenary Mike Nolan to put some bite into what had become a somewhat vanilla and passive unit under former coordinator Brian VanGorder.
Helping Nolan's cause is the acquisition of former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel, who, along with Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson, should give the Falcons a lot more flexibility in the secondary.
More than anything, the Falcons have to get back to the offensive identity that made them so successful back in 2010. If they can run the ball, let Ryan take shots downfield when they present themselves and create a few more turnovers on defense, Falcons fans should get their wish of a deep playoff run in 2012.
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