Falcons News NFL: Atlanta Falcons nickel cornerback Jalen Collins suspended for first ten games in 2017 after second failed drug test.



Atlanta Falcons 2017 Season Preview




Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Posted on 8/7/2017.


Atlanta Falcons Free Agency Recap


Atlanta's biggest signing was Dontari Poe. Poe will start as a 4-3 defensive tackle after playing 3-4 nose tackle with the Kansas City Chiefs.



Atlanta Falcons Draft Recap


The Falcons drafted Takkarist McKinley out of UCLA. He's projected to start week 1. He may play outside linebacker like Vic Beasley though even though both Beasley and McKinley should be starting at 4-3 defensive end while pass rushing opposing quarterbacks.




Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Summary: Matt Ryan had a career year under Kyle Shanahan in 2016. Steve Sarkisian is a huge downgrade from Shanahan as offensive coordinator. Bush Hamdan a wide receivers coach at Washington is the new quarterbacks coach. Hamdan is a huge downgrade over Matt Lafleur in my mind.


Atlanta Falcons Running Back Summary: Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have both improved as pass catchers in training camp. Dan Quinn expects career years from both running backs. You also added Brian Hill as a third string running back for depth.


Running back coach Keith Carter was an assistant offensive line coach the last two years. He takes over as running backs coach and is going to put a huge emphasis on running through lanes.


Atlanta Falcons Wide Receiver Summary: Julio Jones is Atlanta's #1 flanker receiver. Mohammed Sanu is the #2 secondary receiver. Taylor Gabriel is Atlanta's slot receiver Justin Hardy is Atlanta's depth receiver and he may come in during four wide receiver sets. The rest of these receivers are backups and have no business on the field. Raheem Morris is the assistant head coach. Morris is better with developing players on defense, but he's the wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator where he will call passing plays on offense during practice sessions.


Atlanta Falcons Tight End Summary: Atlanta finally came to their senses and made Austin Hooper the starting tight end. If he sucks this could be a position Atlanta upgrades in the 2018 NFL Draft though.


Atlanta Falcons Offensive Line Summary: Atlanta has Jake Matthews at left tackle, Andy Levitre at left guard, Alex Mack at center, and Ryan Schrader at right tackle. The right guard spot is the big weakness on this offensive line. You also have to look at possibility that Levitre gets cut at the end of the season to save cap space. Guard is an area Atlanta needs to improve in on offense. Chris Morgan is the only offensive positional coach from last years Super Bowl 51 squad that is returning. That's one bright spot for Atlanta as far as coaching goes.


The Falcons were 1st in points per game, 2nd in total yards, 2nd in passing yards, and 5th in rushing yards in 2016 under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. That's a huge reason why Atlanta made it to Super Bowl 51. Atlanta is almost certain to decline in some of these categories with Shanahan gone.



Atlanta Falcons Defensive Line Summary: Atlanta is going to put Takkarist McKinley at the LEO which is where most 4-3 right ends line up. Vic Beasley will play across from him. Brooks Reed is going to be used as a situational pass rusher for depth. Dontari Poe and Grady Jarrett will start at 4-3 defensive tackle with Rashede Hageman for depth.


Head Coach Dan Quinn specializes in developing defensive linemen, but he didn't do a very good job motivating those defensive linemen despite coming up with some solid strategies for those players at times in his first season, but did a much better job in this area during Atlanta's 2016 season. Bryant Young takes over as the new defensive line coach.


Atlanta Falcons Linebacker Summary: Atlanta will have rookie Duke Riley at 4-3 right outside linebacker. Deion Jones will start at 4-3 middle linebacker. D'Vondre Campbell returns at 4-3 left outside linebacker in the strong side after gaining experience as an outside linebacker during his rookie season as well. Atlanta has quality backups at linebacker as well.


The Falcons have Jeff Ulbrich returning as their linebackers coach. That's one bright spot when you consider he's the one returning positional coach on defense.


Atlanta Falcons Defensive Backs Summary: Atlanta has Desmond Trufant as their #1 field cornerback with Robert Alford playing the #2 boundary cornerback role across from Trufant. Brian Poole will be the nickel cornerback now that Jalen Collins got a ten game suspension. Collins can play the nickel corner role if Poole struggles in his first ten games allowing Poole to move to the dime role while Kazee plays quarter cornerback. Keanu Neal is going to start at strong safety with Ricardo Allen playing free safety.


Defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel was the defensive backs coach last year, and he did a very good job with this unit leading to his promotion. Doug Mallary was an assistant defensive backs coach for Atlanta under Marquand Manuel now he gets promoted to defensive backs coach with Manuel getting promoted to defensive coordinator.


The Falcons had an inconsistent middle of the pack defense in 2016. Atlanta was 16th in sacks, 27th in points allowed, 27th in total yards allowed, 30th in pass defense, and 17th in run defense. The Falcons have a sack artist in Beasley and may have another one in McKinley. They still need a 4-3 right end that can get by left tackles though.



Atlanta Falcons Special Teams Summary: Atlanta has one of the best special teams units. They have Matt Bryant at kicker, Matt Bosher at punter, and Devin Hester as a return specialist. Keith Armstrong is one of the best special teams coordinators in the entire NFL.




Atlanta Falcons Worst Case Scenario: The Atlanta Falcons go 10-6 and get a wild card. They lose their wild card game to a division champion.


Atlanta Falcons Best Case Scenario: Atlanta wins the NFC South and gets home field at 12-4. Even if they do that there is no guarantee they get to Minnesota for a revenge game against New England. I think there will be too much pressure on Atlanta to duplicate what they did last season so even with home field, the furthest they'd go is the Divisional Round.


Atlanta Falcons 2017 NFL Schedule


Week
Date
Opponent
Time
Cable Network
Result
Week 1
September 10
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 2
September 17
VS
8:30 PM EST
NBC
W
Week 3
September 24
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 4
October 1
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 5
Bye Week
Week 6
October 15
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 7
October 22
AT
8:30 PM EST
NBC
L
Week 8
October 29
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 9
November 5
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 10
November 12
VS
4:25 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 11
November 20
AT
8:30 PM EST
ESPN
L
Week 12
November 26
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 13
December 3
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 14
December 7
VS
8:25 PM EST
NBC
W
Week 15
December 18
AT
8:30 PM EST
ESPN
L
Week 16
December 24
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 17
December 31
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W


Atlanta Falcons 2016 Projected Record (11-5): Atlanta has a lot of talent. They have two new coordinators, but one worked within the Falcons on the defensive side of the ball last season though. I have Atlanta and New England as the only teams without a loss heading into the week 7 rematch of last years Super Bowl in Super Bowl 51 on Sunday Night Football.


We have Tampa Bay getting home field at 12-4. This means Atlanta gets the 5 seed and first wild card at 11-5. We cannot determine who they play yet though. Carolina went 10-6 so they are still in running for that final wild card. We have New Orleans finishing last in the NFC South at 8-8.









Comment Box is loading comments...