I had the chance to catch up with Jamie Kelly from FanSided’s Blogging Dirty and discuss the Atlanta Falcons off-season and some of their needs moving forward. Atlanta has been a playoff team the last three years, but has also had disappointing exits in each of those seasons as well. Moving forward they are trying to figure out how to advance deeper, which, considering where the Bucs sit right now, is a nice problem to have.
TPP: After entering the playoffs with high hopes the Falcons made an early playoff exit again. Are the questions about Matt Ryan in the playoffs legitimate or is it the national media trying to stir the pot?
"Matt Ryan has clearly not performed in the playoffs like he has done in the regular season to this point in his career. He is also not the only reason the Falcons haven’t been successful and the media are giving him to much of the blame i feel. With a new OC in town, Matt should improve. Don’t sleep on Matty Ice!"
TPP:In your mind what was the Falcons biggest deficiency last season and how difficult is that to fix?
"Offensive line play was a killer early in the season. How do we fix it? Good question, we brought in former Fresno State HC Pat Hill to run our offensive line, which should help, but honestly we need more talent. Sam Baker has been a bust and aside from Blalock and Clabo the rest of the places are up for grabs. With less picks this year due to the Julio Jones trade, that could be a little tricky to improve the talent level."
TPP: What are Atlanta’s off-season needs and how do you expect the Falcons to address them?
"O-Line, Corner, Defensive End, Safety. We have a few! The Falcons will be active in free agency and have a few guys resign from their own ranks, if they slip away there will be quite a bit of money flying around. In terms of the draft, the Falcons will have to wait and see what is there, when it comes to their pick and have to open to what direction they want to go."
TPP: Who is the guy Falcons fans are eying come draft time?
"Without a first round pick, the Falcons are focusing on the middle round guys. Brandon Boykin from UGA has received a lot of buzz from Atlanta staff. Washington NT Alameda Ta’amu is also a player the Falcons covet, if he slips to Atlanta’s second round the Falcons will be very interested given the use of a hybrid 4-3/ 3-4 defense this year in Atlanta."
TPP: The Bucs seemed to be two radically different teams last year, the one that start 4-2 and the one that finished 4-12. As an outsider, what is your read on the Buccaneers?
"I was fortunate enough to go and see the Bucs play against the Bears at Wembley, London this year and i have to say i was pretty unimpressed. There seemed to be a real lack of discipline and lack of cohesion among the Bucs players. There is talent there though, especially on the D-Line so they have a shot to turn it around, but in such a talented division it will be difficult to get back to the 10 wins they got a few seasons ago."
TPP: Give me a bold prediction for next season…
"Julio Jones will be a 1st team All Pro Wide Receiver."
TPP: Who do you like in the Super Bowl?
"Patriots by a touchdown. This is too good of a story line for Tom “Terrific” Brady to not come out on top and cement himself as arguably the greatest QB to ever play."