Despite Super Bowl Collapse, Falcons Destined for Return

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It’s not easy making it back to the Super Bowl, especially after you lose. There’s been plenty of victims to the Super Bowl curse, most recently being Carolina (SB and 15-1 in 2015, 6-10 in 2016). But, the Falcons won’t fall into that curse and here’s why.

Big Names Still in Tact

The Falcons had many small moves this offseason like every team has, but the main core is still together. After the 2015-16 season, the Panthers got rid of All-Pro CB Josh Norman, and their horrendous secondary was one of the main reasons the Panthers were horrible.

The three biggest names the Falcons lost were Kyle Shanahan (SF), Patrick Dimarco (BUF), and Jalen Collins (10 game suspension). The Falcons will miss Shanahan, but the Falcons have so much talent that it would be hard for the offense to regress substantially barring injury.

Dimarco was a nice player in Atlanta and was one of the reasons Devonta Freeman broke out, but Fullbacks are pretty replaceable and don’t hold the value they use to. New FB Derrick Coleman isn’t a bad player either.

With the return of Desmond Trufant, Jalen Collins would’ve been listed at CB4 on the depth chart, behind Trufant, Robert Alford, and Brian Poole. Collins is certainly a nice piece, but he’s not too important. Plus, the Falcons will get him back after 10 games (assuming they don’t cut him).

What matters for the Falcons is that the important pieces are still there. All the skill positions on offense (Ryan, Freeman, Coleman, Jones, Sanu, Gabriel, Hardy Hooper, etc.) are still on the roster. Overall, the Falcons are returning 9 of 11 starters (FB and RG). On the defensive side, the NFL sack leader Vic Beasley Jr., the two leading tacklers Deion Jones and Keanu Neal, and lockdown CB Desmond Trufant is still on the team.


Injuries weren’t a big reason why the Falcons lost the Super Bowl, but it definitely hurt the Falcons. All-Pro center Alex Mack played in the Super Bowl with a broken leg, which definitely affected his play. The Falcons best cornerback Desmond Trufant missed the entire playoffs with a torn Pectoral. The defensive line was where the Falcons suffered the worst.

The Falcons in the 4th quarter ran out of steam, and that was in large part due to the lack of depth because of injury. Derrick Shelby (Achilles) missed all of last year, and Adrian Clayborn missed the last two games (torn biceps).

That left guys like Brooks Reed, Grady Jarrett, Courtney Upshaw, and Jonathan Babineaux on the field for too many snaps. Also, Julio Jones played through an entire season with a toe injury. I don’t think you could’ve asked more from Julio, but imagine if he was healthy.

Obviously, there are no excuses for blowing that big of a lead in the Super Bowl, but a fully-healthy Falcons team going into this year will make them a lot more dangerous.

Takk McKinley and Dontari Poe

The two biggest acquisitions the Falcons made this offseason was signing Dontari Poe and drafting Takk McKinley. Both will make the Falcons front seven formidably better. Poe is a proven run stuffer and will compliment nicely with Grady Jarrett. McKinley will help take attention off Vic Beasley, which will force teams to make tough decisions on pass protections.

Improved Depth

The Falcons greatly improved their depth this offseason. They drafted TE Eric Saubert in the fifth round, leaving the Falcons with 4 solid tight ends (Hooper, Toilolo, Perkins, and Saubert). Signing Jack Crawford and having Shelby and Clayborn return from injury will leave the Falcons with 6 quality backups.

With that depth, the Falcons can afford to give series off, and guys like Brooks Reed, Derrick Shelby, and Courtney Upshaw will only get 10-15 snaps, which makes their energy a lot better.


Overall, the Falcons will have to deal with the adversity that comes with blowing the biggest lead in SB history, but they’re a better team than last year and have set themselves up in a great position to return.

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