Atlanta Falcons: What Offseason Needs Do the Falcons Have?
The 2010 season is over, and it is time to start looking toward every team's needs for the 2011 season.
Obviously, the NFL labor situation is the dominant storyline right now, but let's assume that there will be a 2011 season.
The Atlanta Falcons finished the season 13-3 and had the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. They were at the losing end of a 48-21 blowout against the Packers in their first playoff game. Now, they are looking to return to the playoffs in 2011.
This article looks at the positions where the Falcons need the most help this offseason and at what upgrades could push this team to a Super Bowl title.
Wide Receivers currently on the roster: Harry Douglas, Brian Finneran, Michael Jenkins, Kerry Meier, Eric Weems, Roddy White
Roddy White is one of the best receivers in the league and the unit as a whole is solid, but there is no explosiveness in the Falcons' receiving corps.
Even if the Falcons don't intend to use the deep passing game, having a legitimate deep threat forces the coverage to respect the deep routes, and that opens up the underneath passing game as well as the running lanes for Michael Turner.
Defensive Ends currently on the roster: John Abraham, Jamaal Anderson, Kroy Biermann, Chauncey Davis, Lawrence Sidbury
John Abraham is one of the best pass rushers in the league. The problem is that Abraham is having to carry the pass rush because Kroy Biermann only had three sacks in 14 starts.
Getting a solid pass rusher to play on the opposite side of Abraham takes some of the extra blockers off of Abraham and also helps the Falcons secondary.
Safeties currently on the roster: Thomas DeCoud, William Moore
The Falcons secondary was thoroughly abused by the Packers in the playoffs. If they want to avoid a repeat of that performance, it would be a good idea to look for an upgrade in the secondary.
With very few urgent needs on offense, trying to get top safety in the draft or in free agency would help the Falcons continue to improve in both run and pass defense.
What Are Their Chances To Succeed in 2011?
Even if the Falcons took this exact same roster into 2011, they would have a playoff caliber team. They protect the ball well, don't commit stupid penalties and are efficient on offense.
However, the NFC South is a tough division. No team has won the division in back-to-back years since the division realignment in 2002. The Saints will be in the race for the NFC South as will the Buccaneers.
The Falcons will also have to play a tougher schedule than they played last season, as they will not have the luxury of playing against all four NFC West teams.
I'm not going to predict them to win 13 games again, but they should be able to get into the 10-12 win range and get to the playoffs.