Atlanta Falcons: Biggest Concerns Heading into the Regular Season
With just one exhibition game left on their schedule, it's safe to say the Atlanta Falcons are looking good—real good.
But not all is perfect in Atlanta, as some areas of concern remain.
Here are the three biggest concerns for the Falcons heading into the regular season.
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
The Falcons' passing attack has been on point through three preseason games, but that's been far from the case for their ground game.
Atlanta has managed just 221 rushing yards thus far this year, good for just 29th best in the league.
Dirk Koetter's focus on the pass and poor blocking up front are partly to blame, but that doesn't keep the running backs from deserving their share of it.
The most disappointing has been Michael Turner, who has tallied just 49 yards on 18 total carries for a measly 2.7 average in his three starts.
The coaches can say they aren't worried about the running game all they want, but if Turner indeed is still the explosive and powerful runner that has carried the Falcons' these past four seasons, he has yet to make an appearance this year.
At this point, all Falcons fans can do is hope the man known as "the Burner" can live up to his nickname for one more season.
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
When the Falcons hired offensive line coach Pat Hill, they hoped he could turn one of Atlanta's weaker areas into one of its strongest.
From the looks of things, that has yet to happen.
Matt Ryan is still flushed from the pocket too often, while the line isn't opening holes for the running backs often enough.
Left tackle Sam Baker and right guard Garrett Reynolds have been shouldering the brunt of the blame, but it's not as though the rest of the line has been elite through three preseason games.
However, it should be noted the line as a whole looks improved over last year's group. Rookies Lamar Holmes and Peter Konz have shown promise after solid preseason performances, and backup center Joe Hawley could be ready to take over the starting job from Todd McClure.
As it stands, though, the Falcons will need a lot more consistent blocking from the big guys up front if they want to make a deep playoff run this season.
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images
Scoring points in the red zone wasn't much of an issue under ex-coordinator Mike Mularkey, but it may become a glaring one under new coordinator Dirk Koetter.
CBS Sports' Mike Singer says the Falcons were the No. 2 team in the NFL with an average of 408 yards per game through their first two preseason contests this year. They had only 36 points to show for it, however, which was good for 20th best in the league.
It was much of the same for the Falcons' third preseason game, in which the starting offense marched deep into Dolphins territory on four first-half drives, coming away with no more than a field goal on three of them.
The way Matt Ryan is passing the ball, 2012 could be the year he finally hits the 5,000-yard mark.
But it'll mean little if he has no points to show for it.