The 2009 Atlanta Falcons' offense will have a different look than the 2008 Falcons. Head Coach Mike Smith and the Atlanta coaching staff got one of the best offensive players in the NFL, former Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, a constant NFL All-Pro at tight end, should be tremendous help to second year starter Matt Ryan. Gonzalez not only brings his experience and his great catching abilities to the lineup, but he is a great run blocker, as well.
As if the Falcons needed any more help with the running game with Michael Turner rushing for 1,700 yards in '08, Gonzalez blocking for him may allow Turner to rush for 2,000 yards this season.
And Ryan will have another target for defenses about which to be worried. Even with a struggling Chiefs’ offense, Gonzalez still managed to catch 10 touchdown passes and went for over a 1,000 yards receiving.
So, a much improved offense will only get better coming into this season. Head coach Mike Smith will not need to make many changes on offense and will be able to focus more on improving the defense.
The Falcons ranked near the bottom in total defense last season, but that should change with the drafting of Peria Jerry.
Jerry, a defensive tackle from Ole Miss, was the Falcons' No. 1 draft choice. Jerry was a first team All-SEC performer and was a first team All-American selection, as well. He should be a great addition to the Falcons' defense.
In 2008, the Falcons only had 34 sacks. That should change drastically with Jerry in the defensive backfield. His presence is going to give quarterbacks nightmares, much like when he terrorized the rest of the SEC.
These new additions to the offensive and defensive side of the ball can only help an already good team.