Cleat Geeks

HOMER’S NFL ODYSSEY(2): Atlanta Falcons

Welcome to Homer’s NFL Odyssey! Like the original hero Odysseus we will journey from NFL shore to NFL shore. Casting a light on each NFL squad and their 2015 fortunes from the perspective of a “Homer”. An upbeat tale of NFL fandom illuminating the chances of the your favorite team in a completely favorable light. This is the ultimate guide to your favorite team told from the perspective of a “Homer”.

 

ATLANTA FALCONS

QB: Falcon Pride is in great hands with Matty Ice throwing precision darts all over the field. One of the best QBs in the league regardless of how you rate them. Ryan possesses a rare blend of strength and accuracy that few in the league can match. A proven crunch time, come from behind winning QB. Healthy with a returning set of fantastic receivers puts Ryan on the verge of a career type season.

RB: Remember the name Devonta Freeman as he is about to ascend quickly up the ranks of NFL RBs. A lead back blend of swerve and suddenness that will allow Freeman to excel in between the tackles, on the edges and catching passes out of the backfield. Tevin Coleman was drafted in the 3rd round to compete and provide relief. By all accounts Freeman is standing out in camp and will be the week 1 starter. Eventually Freeman will be the new it NFL RB in 2015. Unknown but Atlanta has a real talent lurking in the backfield.

WR/TE: What more can one say about the receiving group in the ATL beyond stud WRs Julio Cruz and Roddy White? Well we can mention the receiving ability of Freeman again. We can discuss the dangerous nature of Devin Hester and his timely big play ability. We can also discuss improvement at the TE position as ATL opted to bring in veteran Jacob Tamme and upside heavy Tony Moeaki to compete for the starting gig. i expect Moeaki to gain the starting job and provide a consistent target in the middle of the field. The receiver group in ATL is as good as any in the league. Better than most.

OL: The ATL offensive line is one of the most overlooked groups in the NFL. With 2014 1st round pick Jake Matthews leading this group of mostly young, high round draft pick great things can be expected in 2015. A young, talented and versatile group maturing into one of the league’s best OLines.

 

 

Defense: The Falcons have defensive backs for days. Young talented high round draft picks all coming of age to form one of the most talented secondaries in the NFL. 2014 2nd round steal Robert Alford at one CB. 2013 1st round pick Desmond Trufant at the other CB. 2015 2nd round pick Jalen Collins at the nickel and in depth. The emergence of Kemal Ishmael in the safety position in 2014. Mixed with the veteran safeties William Moore and Charles Godfrey the ATL secondary will make some noise in 2015. Especially late in games when teams are forced to the air in a keep pace effort. The defensive line and LBs are stocked from both a pass rushing and run stopping perspective. With the talented Tyson Jackson, Adrian Clayborn, Kroy Biermann and Jonathon Babineaux leading the line. Tackle monster Paul Worrilow and 2015 1st round stud Vic Beasley leading the LB crew. The Atlantas Falcons 2015 defense has the personnel and scheme to be a truly dominant unit.

 

Coaching: Dan Quinn brings the SEA defensive blueprint with him to the East Coast as he takes the reigns of the ATL coaching staff. Joined by Kyle Shanahan at OC and Richard Smith at DC the Falcons have put together a top notch young coaching staff. The schemes, style and personnel all serve each other perfectly. This is a special year for the Falcons and this coaching staff will be a big reason for Falcon success.

 

Division Outlook:

The Carolina Panthers won the NFC South in 2014 with a record of 7-8-1. Not a difficult team to overcome. A running QB who CAR refuses to run to keep healthy. Strong armed but horribly inaccurate. No RB threat of any sort behind the oft injured Jonathan Stewart. WRs are underwhelming or unproven beyond Kelvin Benjamin. Even Benjamin is still less than a guarantee of yearly high end production. Olson is a good TE but not a player who’s talent will lead a team to victory as a main cog. Olson operates best as an accessory and not a star. The OLine is less than stellar. The DLine seems to always be lacking, especially now with the departure of the domestic abusing Greg Hardy. A good move by the organization. The LBs are led by super man Luke Keuchly but beyond Luke is aging faces, mediocre talent and unproven commodities. The DBs are a group without a superstar and finds itself easily beaten by a team with the pass game capabilities of the Atlanta Falcons.

The New Orleans Saints finished 2nd in the division, 1/2 game behind the Panthers. Another team that does not appear to have helped itself much in the off-season. A struggling sub par OLine blocking for a rapidly aging QB who took a major dive in production in 2014. Brees found himself throwing flatfooted when contained to the pocket and under pressure. ATL can supply the pressure and has the DBs needed to create turnovers out of those poorly thrown balls. Oft injured Mark Ingram is joined by oft injured CJ Spiller as the main cogs in the run game. A solution to a RB injury issue is not another RB with injury issues. The receivers have weakened substantially with the departures of Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills. A year older Marques Colston is not about to bounce back. The Saints find themselves dependent on unproven 2nd year WR Brandin Cooks as the main focus of the pass game. Not a great solution for a pass game that struggled mightily in 2014. The defense in NO is horrible and does not belong being referred to as a quality unit even by Saints fan standards. Jordan Cameron is the biggest name on the DLine and is under-performing or an average player as his lack of meanngful impact will show. The LBs are an aging group and suffered miserably down the stretch. The DBs are swollen with big names at safety but alas no one player has managed to curb the susceptibility to the deep ball. A horrible NFL D that can easily be taken advantage of by this ATL offensive attack.

So we come to 2014 cellar dweller TB Bucs. With the first pick in the draft TB selected Jameis Winston. A player with good legs, a sketchy arm and character issues. Lacking the maturity to step in and be effective as a rookie signal caller TB O will struggle mightily even with the tandem of Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans at the WR position. No RB solidified as a weekly starter, let alone a difference maker. An unproven 2nd year TE and an OLine oft depleted by injury bug and roster turnover. This offense will not be a formidable concern for the ATL D. The TB D is a unit built mostly with Free Agent additions that have yet to pan out. Beyond Lavonte David at LB and Alteraun Verner at CB this defensive group is unimpressive and incapable of mounting much resistance to an offense the caliber of Atlanta’s.

 

2015 OUTLOOK:

Getting into the playoffs is key. There is not a team in the NFC South that can provide a barrier to that goal. The Atlanta Falcons are primed, stocked and focused on running rough shot over their divisional rivals in the regular season. By the time playoffs appear the Falcons will be in prime position to earn the bye and enter the playoffs as a favorite to come away with the Lombardi Trophy.

 

 

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