Monday, August 26, 2013

Falcons in 2013: 4 questions

As I noted yesterday in my game by game preview, this has the potential to be a very special season for the Falcons.  There is a possibility of a double-digit wins, and anything less than a division title would be a disappointment.

With that in mind, and by way of a preview, here are the four things I think we need to watch for in order to see this season move from good to great--and they are in the order based on a combination of importance and the level of uncertainty.

1.  QB

It isn't fair, but this is a quarterback driven sport.  It is the most important position, and it isn't close.  Matt Schilz is a senior, a four-year starter, and he won the job this year with what is being described as his best camp.  We will all be watching to see this play itself out on the field.  Last year, Schilz was mostly a game manager, which was moderately successful, but to win a championship, more will be needed.

2.  O-line

A successful season begins up front.  BG has freshman playing at both tackles.  The team will need successful play out of both positions.  If BG isn't getting pass protection, for example, we have shown in the past we will narrow the playbook and that will reduce production.  Similarly, we need holes to be opened to get our RBs to the edge.  Teams will test these tackles and how they respond, especially early, how they respond will determine how we succeed.

3. WR

This was an inconsistent area last year.  Sometimes BG got big plays, sometimes BG did not.  The starters are the same, so it is an issue of getting growth from those guys.  Chris Gallon, in particular, could be a big player.  Clawson and Ruggierio have shown a willingness to ride a WR1 (see Barnes, Jordan), and if he can be that guy it will open things up a lot.

4.  Defense

The defense was outstanding last year.  Only two of the top players graduated, but they were Chris Jones and Dwayne Woods, two of the best.  In addition, there was unanticipated attrition on the d-line and in the backfield and Darrell Hunter is now doubtful.  The question here is not whether the defense will be good.  The question is can it be AS GOOD as in 2012, and if not, how close can it get.  They will get early tests against Tulsa and Kent, probably to a lesser extent.  Hopefully, the offense will take some pressure off, but if the defense has to carry the team, can they?

One last note....every year recently we would have expected to have special teams listed here.  For the first time, I feel good about it.  Placekicking was steady toward the end of last year, punting should be strong, the return games should be good and we have enough depth to have quality players on kick and punt coverage.  That's a good thing.

Finally, Coach mentioned the stability on our staff.  That is a huge advantage.  We can build on what we have because we don't have to start over each year with new assistants.

Just 3 days now....the excitement builds.

No comments :