Execs tell ESPN: The Falcons’ offseason merits a C-plus

“Let’s strive for a B-minus, men!” (AP Photo/David Goldman)

My positives regarding the 2017 Atlanta Falcons: They’re a very good team representing what has become a very good organization.

My doubts regarding the 2017 Atlanta Falcons: They’re coming off the worst loss in NFL history, and they’re doing it without the architect of one of the 10 best offenses in NFL history. (Although said architect did bear blame for said egregious loss.)

Those doubts would seem to be underscored by the findings of ESPN’s Mike Sando, who surveyed (anonymous) NFL execs and assigned a grade to the Falcons’ offseason. That grade is a C-plus, though one front-office type who awarded a C is quoted as saying it wasn’t “a bad C” because the Falcons were “at the head of the class already and maintained.”

The panel’s biggest issue regards offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, now head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Sando offers this exec-offered sentiment: “I can’t remember (in recent years) a Super Bowl team having that type of coaching turnover on both sides of the ball. To think that going from Shanahan to Steve Sarkisian is going to be some sort of upgrade, there are a lot of different objections to that premise.”

Yes. One of them is mine. Shanahan was great last season, at least until the final nine minutes of the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl; Sarkisian won’t be as good. As for the other part of the execs’ issues … well, here’s where I quibble with the quibbling.

Departed defensive coordinator Richard Smith isn’t irreplaceable. Indeed, the Falcons’ Super Bowl run was fueled by Dan Quinn stepping in to call defenses in December. Marquand Manuel might well be an upgrade over Smith. I think there’s every chance the defense will be better; I’m reasonably certain the offense will be worse.

Reader Comments 0

8 comments
Okeetee
Okeetee

Here's the bottom line: We improved on both offense and defense in the off season!  We are a year older and wiser!  We lost virtually nobody to free agency!  Our schedule sets up beautifully compared to last years brutal start (4 out of 6 on the road) with basically THREE bye weeks out of the first 7 games!  (Bears, our own bye week, and then the Jets!) This team makes the playoffs again, probably with the best record in the NFL Conference, and home field advantage throughout!  Oh, one other thing!  The reason for losing last years Super Bowl (horrendous play calling from the pressbox) has been shipped out of town to the west coast on a Grey Hound bus!

AMFILMSHD
AMFILMSHD

there is a good chance Sark is better, and smarter...

JuanPoe
JuanPoe

The offense might be worse, but it won't be a huge dropoff.  The entire offense is rostered with seasoned vets.  The key this year will be the defense, which will be markedly better.  They began to hit their stride as they entered the playoffs - without their best CB.  The DL is much improved and the LBs aren't rookies any longer.

The offense won't have to score 30+ points a game this year to win.  Instead, 25-28 should do the trick, and they will be more than capable of that task.

bigcw
bigcw

you guys are wayyyy!!!! off base . first they should have fired coach s last year. this year they are finally turning the o over to matt with the best o line he has ever had also poe is going to raise the d boy is this going to be fun

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

I love how Shanahan has become this offensive genius when everyone, and I mean everyone, questioned whether or not he should have been fired before the 2017 season. In his career, he has had only one truly noteworthy season as an OC. One. The tools, plays, and more importantly, the growth of Matt Ryan that really fueled last year's turnaround is still in place. If we were throwing out the playbook or had lost key personnel, that would be one thing, but Shanahan has never been the lynch pin to any team he has ever coached.


Regardless, these grades are subjective (as evidenced by Sando once again considering the Falcons to be inferior. It's kind of his mission statement). We addressed a few needs on the lines in free agency. We had what initially appears to be a strong draft. C+ would indicate that we made no improvements. As usual, we will see what happens when toe meets leather.

Atlwarrior
Atlwarrior

ESPN has lost so much influence and who really cares about their assessment.

jcarson
jcarson

Players win games and we have one of the best rosters in the league. We are adding Poe, Trufant and Takk (among others) to a team that should've won it all last year. I see no reason for a step back at all.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

c- my a__, I say we upgraded and we will see Matt Ryan released a bit to be more creative.