The countdown to the Atlanta Falcons training camp has almost reached zero barrier. To use the term ‘red alert’ wouldn’t be totally inaccurate (but do pardon the pun). There is more at stake this year than any other, and the Falcons are at the center of the can-they-do-it-this-time Super Bowl scrutiny.
Yes, Tony Gonzalez did say that this year would be his last. However, he said that last year too. At this point, it’s probably a safe bet that Gonzalez will be willing to stick it out for another year if this season doesn’t bring the coveted championship victory.
Hopefully, the Roddy White Twitter gaffe won’t be a distraction as training camp starts. It couldn’t have come at a worse possible time for the team considering the scrutiny already in play. The tweet was a critical error in personal judgment and, as a role model, one that he couldn’t afford to make. Whether or not he has seen the error of his posting ways, the rest of the team also has to answer for it. Getting past the issue isn’t optional at this point, it’s mandatory…regardless of how difficult White has made it for them all. The implications are too important for distractions.
The defense has to bring it this season, no question. Last year’s game with the Seattle Seahawks showcased the deficiencies in the line, and the devastating final loss to the San Francisco 49ers sealed the awful deal.
Can Matt Ryan move into the realm of the elite QB? In two words, he better. Contract extension being in limbo notwithstanding, he must focus on his game. The errors of last season weren’t all on the defense, after all.
This will be the year that the tandem of Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, Falcons head coach Mike Smith and the Falcons’ fans have been waiting for. Last year was the ‘close-but-no-cigar’ season, and history must not repeat itself.