Five Atlanta Falcons Who Shouldn’t Be Back in 2014
Five Atlanta Falcons Who Should Not Be Back Next Season
The Atlanta Falcons entered the 2013 season as a popular pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, but some key injuries and poor line play on both sides of the ball led to a 4-12 record.
The Falcons still have plenty of star power offensively, led by quarterback Matt Ryan, and running back Steven Jackson will be looking to rebound after a poor first season with the team in 2013. Most of the team’s obvious shortcomings are on the defensive side of the ball, as Atlanta finished in the bottom five in the league in sacks (32-30th in the league), interceptions (10-tied for 29th) and against the run (135.8 yards per game-31st in the league).
Some turnover is sure to come in some key areas, particular along the offensive line as Ryan was sacked 44 times in 2013, and the Falcons are sure to make upgrading their franchise quarterback’s protection a top offseason priority. An additional hole on the defensive line could be added if defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who had a team-leading 7.5 sacks this year, is let go after just one season of the two-year deal he signed last offseason.
The Falcons can be selective in terms of re-signing their own free agents, with no big names in a position to sign a lucrative new contract. But I do expect it will be a priority for the team to retain defensive tackle Corey Peters, who started 15 games and finished second on the team with five sacks this past season.
With some clear needs and talent upgrades needed at other positions if the team is to resurface as a playoff contender next season, here are five Atlanta Falcons who should not be back with the team in 2014.
5. TE Chase Coffman
Coffman has just one catch in 15 games for the Falcons over the past two seasons, and 2013 draft pick Levine Toilolo looks likely to be first in line to replace Tony Gonzalez.
4. OT Sean Locklear
Locklear never took the field for the Falcons after being signed in November, which has to be a black mark regarding his skill level with how bad their offensive line was.
3. DT Jonathan Babineaux
The Falcons need an infusion of youth along the defensive line, and Babineaux does not fit the bill at age 32 with declining skills.
2. OT Jeremy Trueblood
Trueblood started 10 games at right tackle for Atlanta this season after being cut by the Washington Redskins late in the preseason. Simply put, an upgrade should not be hard to find.
1. DT Peria Jerry
The fact Jerry started 14 games this past season, and got a negative grade from Pro Football Focus, tells you everything about the lack of options Atlanta had along the defensive line. The former first-round pick (24th overall in 2009) is sure to be allowed to test the free agent market.