The NFL playoffs are soon approaching, but this year, the NFC will not be represented by the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons concluded the 2013 regular season with a heartbreaking loss to the Carolina Panthers inside the Georgia Dome on Dec. 29, which handed them a third place finish in the NFC South. So with a 4-12 record, and head coach Mike Smith and GM Thomas Dimitroff returning next season, the next move to make this offseason would be to address the problem areas, one being at the line of scrimmage. On Monday, Smith fired defensive line coach Ray Hamilton and offensive line coaches Pat Hill and Paul Dunn.
There is no denying the fact that the Falcons were terrible this year, with flaws all too obvious on both sides of the ball. To some extent, the offensive play calling was shaky at times, but when you dig a little deeper, the offensive line was way below average. Quarterback Matt Ryan experienced the harsh reality of that truth, being sacked a career high 44 times, nine of those coming from the Carolina game in Week 17. As for the running game, it was almost nonexistent. It made me think of a puppy lost in the woods, trying to find its way home, and in the Falcons’ case, “home” was decent blocking up front.
This type of move is a great start to a long offseason ahead for Dimitroff and coach Smith. When you can’t win at the line of scrimmage, you can’t win period, and that’s the obvious fact that the Falcons finally got through their heads.
As for potential coaching candidates, it was leaked that former Chicago Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice was in the mix, but yesterday, rumors suggested Tice would be rejoining coach Lovie Smith in Tampa. As for the defensive line, Rod Marinelli could be an option, but it seems that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are getting all of the attention, as reports from the Dallas Morning News indicate Marinelli could join coach Smith as well. Hopefully Atlanta won’t eventually “settle” for anyone that would fill the slots.