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NFL Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons Training Camp: 5 Questions That Must Be Answered

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Atlanta Falcons Training Camp: 5 Questions That Must Be Answered

Julio Jones
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons had their reputation as a Super Bowl contender significantly marred in 2013, finishing with a losing record for the first time since 2007 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2009. With better health and improvements on defense, though, the Falcons have enough fire power offensively to bounce back with a successful campaign this fall. Check out these five questions facing the franchise heading into training camp.

5. Are Stud WRs Healthy?

Roddy White and Julio Jones
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

5. Are Stud WRs Healthy?

Roddy White and Julio Jones
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the league's best receiver duo when healthy, Julio Jones and Roddy White suffered through injury-plagued seasons in 2013. A lethal aerial attack has been the Falcons' identity, so getting both players back at 100 percent will be key to the club's prospects of righting the ship. Jones and White have both been sitting out OTAs for mostly precautionary purposes, but should be ready to go for training camp.

4. Who Fills Void Left By Sean Weatherspoon?

Sean Weatherspoon
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

4. Who Fills Void Left By Sean Weatherspoon?

Sean Weatherspoon
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the aforementioned injuries in the receiver corps a thing of the past, the Falcons still can't seem to shake the injury bug. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who was previously a favorite to start this fall, ruptured his Achilles' tendon during OTAs and has since been placed on injured reserve. Joplo Bartu and Prince Shembo will presumably compete for snaps at inside linebacker.

3. Can Dwight Lowery Upgrade FS Spot?

Dwight Lowery
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

3. Can Dwight Lowery Upgrade FS Spot?

Dwight Lowery
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons took a slight gamble on Dwight Lowery, who has had difficulty staying healthy in recent season, with the hope the veteran would fill the team's need for a starting free safety. Lowery seemingly has the range to do the job, but with not much depth at the position, Atlanta can't afford to lose him to injury.

2. Will Devonta Freeman Earn Significant Role?

Devonta Freeman
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

2. Will Devonta Freeman Earn Significant Role?

Devonta Freeman
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons' running game was atrocious in 2013, ranking dead last in the NFL. Steven Jackson is thought to be safe as the starting running back, but after a mere 3.5 yards per carry last year, he's certainly not untouchable. Jackson's backup, Jacquizz Rodgers, also averaged 3.5 yards per attempt. Needless to say, fourth-round choice Devonta Freeman can earn a big role in Atlanta's offense by impressing this summer.

1. Is Run Defense Improved Enough?

Paul Soliai
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1. Is Run Defense Improved Enough?

Paul Soliai
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta's run defense was nearly as bad as its running game in 2013, ranking 31st in total yards conceded. Signing Paul Soliai, a former Miami Dolphin who is a prototypical run-clogging nose tackle, in free agency and drafting Ra'Shede Hageman, a supremely athletic interior lineman, in the second round of May's draft should foster improvement -- at least it better.