In the past few seasons, there have been perceptions or doubts that the Atlanta Falcons were tough enough to win it all. For example, many have stated that although Matt Ryan is a good quarterback with exceptional skills, he is too “Nice” and doesn’t have that “Kill” instinct that is associated with some of the all-time greats.
After finishing off one of their most disappointing seasons where they finished third in the NFC South and an overall record of 4-12, owner Arthur Blank essentially agrees that his team wasn’t aggressive or tough enough, as he saw his team implode during the regular season.
“I think, at the end of the day, if I asked you … give me a brief definition of what toughness is, I think you might say something else, but you might say to me it’s how you control the line of scrimmage,” Blank said, according to ESPN. “Can you run the ball? Can you stop the run? … And I don’t think we did either one of those things very well this year. So I would say, if you looked at toughness from that perspective, I don’t think we were as tough as we needed to be.”
Blank is dead on with his assessment in regards of how awful both lines were for the Falcons, as they allowed Mattie Ice to be sacked 44 times and was one of the most hit quarterbacks in the league during the regular season. Every time Ryan looked to throw, the offensive line has been unable to give him any time to view the field, as he has seen the ground more than his receivers finish their routes.
While the offensive line has been very “soft” in terms of blocking, it also led them to own one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL. On the flip side, the defensive line hasn’t been much better, as they have been inconsistent with their pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Against some of the worst quarterbacks and offensive teams in the league, they made them look like a superior offense.
Blank has already made it clear that the Falcons will draft a lineman with their sixth overall draft pick. Blank has also said that he wants to bring in tougher players without sacrificing character, to make the Falcons a more aggressive team.
In today’s league, aggressiveness is the key and the Falcons had none of it in 2013. The Falcons seem to have their New Year’s resolution all set, as we patiently wait to see if they will indeed deliver or just let it fade away once again.