The Atlanta Falcons are fresh off taking their biggest step in the Matt Ryan Era by reaching the 2013 NFC Championship. General manager Thomas Dimitroff’s huge gamble on Julio Jones definitively paid off in the postseason and in the NFL Executive of the Year winner.
The results from this Q&A published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is absolutely nothing illuminating, except maybe this one Dimitroff response. “I want to see how our young guys stack up against our veterans as well as seeing both Steven (Jackson) and Osi (Umenyiora) get on the field.”
Then again, it seems like he’s winded having just finished a bike race, so far on the GM’s part, to not get too deep into the franchise’s key personnel questions.
These two high-profile vet signings certainly address serious needs on this roster; unfortunately, it’s also probably just a long offseason before we really get a great idea of how much they upgrade their respective positions. Jackson takes over for Michael Turner, who was drifting over the hill, but also didn’t benefit from a great push in the run game. Meanwhile, Umenyiora vacillated between the greatest strip-sack artist in the league to mediocre in recent years, while John Abraham remained a borderline elite presence on the edge.
One of the commenters on the aforementioned AJC Q&A provided insight into the Falcons’ 2013 prospects. “Pretty lame questions knowing we need more help on defense. Especially at DE and LB. All that offense and we can’t stop anybody. The TE just scored again.”
Vernon Davis made the Falcons’ linebacker unit look like little kids in the playoffs last year, while a suspect group of edge rushers just downgraded. Ryan literally might need to perform all season like he did in the 2013 playoffs for Atlanta to make an NFC title game return.