Owner Believes Falcons Have Eye Of The (Auburn) Tiger
Looks like Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is taking a page out of Auburn University’s book about their magical 2013 season. For those who do not know, the Auburn Tigers football team went from losing all of their conference games in 2012 to being minutes shy of winning the BCS National Championship Game.
In a recent press conference, Blank confidently predicts that he has “every reason” to believe that the Falcons will be on top again after tying for last in the NFC South in 2013.
Go ahead and dream, Mr. Blank.
If Atlanta’s collegiate neighbor can do it, then why not this team? Besides, the Falcons fought harder and stayed in more close games after Week 12. That is enough to create optimism going into 2014. Do not forget that QB Matt Ryan is a lock to stay in Atlanta for at least another four years due to his contract extension, and Atlanta still has elite receivers in Roddy White and a healthy Julio Jones. The linebacker corps is now solidified and although future Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez has retired, the Falcons can trust Levine Toilolo to take over as a threat to score in the red zone.
But this type of turnaround will be vastly different from that of Auburn.
The Tigers needed not only a new head coach, but also a renewed sense of pride and football philosophy (namely run often and play smashmouth football). All the Falcons need is more playmakers and to avoid being decimated by the injury bug once again. They especially need help with finding a starting running back for the future (Steven Jackson, despite his resume, is not getting any younger), another legitimate pass rusher, more depth along the offensive line and more playmakers in the secondary. I think the Falcons can address most of their needs through the draft, taking someone like Missouri DE Kony Ealy or Utah WR Luke Matthews in the first round and then spending days two and three finding a running back and more pass protection.
As long as the Falcons are aggressive during this offseason, Blank’s prediction may come true and Atlanta will be ready to reclaim NFC South supremacy in 2014.