In addition to being a die hard Atlanta Falcons fan, Matt is also an avid Villanova University men's basketball fan. Matt did not, however, attend the university as he is a graduate of Bloomsburg University (PA) where he earned a bachelor's and master's degree in Accounting. Matt currently works as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) at a local CPA firm in the Lehigh Valley (about an hour north of Philadelphia).
Heading into the 2019 offseason, the Atlanta Falcons had three priorities. They accomplished all three when they locked up Grady Jarrett, Deion Jones, and Julio Jones for the next three seasons, at which point the Falcons have an out in their contracts.
The Atlanta Falcons enter the 2019 season with one burning question to answer and that’s whether or not they can return to prominence following an injury-riddled 2018 campaign. Outsiders are quick to forget that this team was one quarter away from hoisting the Lombardi trophy and a Julio Jones catch from returning to a second consecutive NFC championship game in the previous two years.
On Saturday evening, former Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez will reach the pinnacle of his profession as he is officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
And while Gonzalez played 12 of his 17 seasons in Kansas City, Dirty Bird Nation proudly calls the greatest tight end one of their own and for good reason. Gonzo ranks first in receptions (409), third in yards behind Jim Mitchell and Alge Crumpler (4,187), and tied for first in touchdowns (35) by a tight end in Falcons history. All of this despite Gonzalez playing in 55 and 28 fewer games than Mitchell and Crumpler, respectively, in his Falcons career.
Regrettably, Roddy White’s career did not intersect with my time covering the Atlanta Falcons. White decided, or perhaps more appropriately Father Time decided, that 2015 would be his final season in the NFL.
Shortly thereafter, I began covering the team for Fansided’s Blogging Dirty during their run to the Super Bowl in 2016. And while that season certainly left a bad taste in the mouths of Falcons fans, it must have hurt Roddy White even more.
In less than two months, the Atlanta Falcons will embark on their fifth training camp under the guidance of Dan Quinn. That means camp battles take center stage in Flowery Branch, Georgia as the Brotherhood seeks the best 53 members for its return to playoff glory.
But despite being a group strengthened by competition, there are admittedly very few spots up for grabs given the current state of the Falcons roster. The team fortified the offensive line, secondary, and backfield in the draft.
When the Atlanta Falcons entered the 2019 offseason, they had question marks at three of their five offensive line positions and a defensive line that hasn’t lived up to its lofty draft status. Since then, Atlanta added two new starters at guard in James Carpenter and Jamon Brown. Both figure to add some much needed physicality to a unit that’s relied on finesse the last four seasons.
The front office also decided to give Ty Sambrailo, the guy who finished the season at right tackle, a handsome new payday, leading many to believe he’s the front runner to man that position in 2019 as well. Given these three moves and some of their other cost-effective signings on offense (Luke Stocker, Kenjon Barner, and resigning Justin Hardy), one would figure the Falcons have positioned themselves to address the defense heavily in the draft.
That’s proved to be a wise strategy for Dan Quinn in the past (see Grady Jarrett, Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, De’Vondre Campbell, Takk McKinley, Damontae Kazee, Isaiah Oliver, and Deadrin Senat) so that begs the question—is more of the same in store for the Falcons in this year’s draft?
At the Falcons end of season press conference, Thomas Dimitroff declared that 2019 will be a busy offseason. And unlike other parts of the presser such as the qualifications of the next offensive coordinator, I believe we can take these words to heart.
Back in 2016, following a disappointing rookie season for Dan Quinn, the team went out and added two impact free agents in Alex Mack and Mohamed Sanu. A similar fate awaits the Falcons in 2019.
It’s been a year to forget for the Atlanta Falcons. Aside from a three game stretch in the middle of the season, what could go wrong for our beloved Dirty Birds has gone wrong.
While many will point to the injuries as the culprit, this season’s failures go much deeper than that. Truth be told, the coaching staff overestimated certain talent on the roster and no spot was that more evident at than defensive line.
Combine that with the regression of players like Ryan Schraeder, De’Vondre Campbell, Desmond Trufant, and Robert Alford, and you get a team flirting with a top five pick.
Allow me to be the first to say it. It’s time to start looking ahead to 2019. After three straight losses, following three straight wins which only served to give us false hope, the Atlanta Falcons are seemingly dead in the water in the NFC playoff picture at 4-7.
The Falcons essentially have to run the table, plus get some help from around the league, in order to make the playoffs at 9-7. And with tough games still remaining such as a home date with Baltimore and road games in Green Bay (where the Packers have not lost this season) and Carolina, that proposition seems futile.
Therefore, this article serves as the jumping off point into the offseason discussion of how Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff retool the Brotherhood in 2019. So without further ado, here is part one of a three-part series which will run through who the Falcons could cut, sign, and draft in 2019.