Tha Sports Junkies 101

2017 NFL Training Camp Preview: Atlanta Falcons

NFL Training Camp Atlanta Falcons via Flickr


2017 NFL Training Camp Preview: Atlanta Falcons

The 2017 NFL Training Camp is just a few days away, which means it’s time to get back in the football mood. For the Falcons, most people are wondering can they get back in that mood after the devastating Super Bowl loss. The players have been working hard this offseason to get back to where they were last season. They start the journey again this week.

Training camp report date: July 26th

Training camp location: Atlanta Falcons Training Facility, Flowery Branch, Georgia

Major additions: Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian, DT Dontari Poe (FA), DE Jack Crawford (FA), DE Takkarist McKinley (Draft), LB Duke Riley (Draft)

Major losses: Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan, FB Patrick DiMarco, DE Dwight Freeney, WR Aldrick Robinson

3 Questions Heading Into 2017 NFL Training Camp

1. Will The Defense Take Another Step Forward?

Since Dan Quinn’s arrival in Atlanta, the most talked about topic has been the defense. The Falcons already had players such as Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, and Ricardo Allen on the roster be Quinn arrived. In 2015 they drafted Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett, Jalen Collins, Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, and DeVondre Campbell. Towards the end of last season, the defense improved tremendously, due to Dan Quinn controlling the play calls. This year the Falcons look to become more “fast and physical” with the additions of Dontari Poe, and draft picks Takkarist McKinley and Duke Riley. This defense has the potential to be the best the Falcons have had in years.

2. How Much Will The Offense Change?

The Falcons had the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL last season, mostly due to Kyle Shanahan. After the season Shanahan departed for the head coaching position for the San Francisco 49ers. The Falcons signed former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian to take over the offense. His offense is similar to Shanahan’s, so it shouldn’t be much of a drop-off. It helps that most of the offensive players are returning, which helps a lot with chemistry. As long as Matt Ryan is the leader, this offense should continue to strive regardless of the play calling.

3. Can The Team Rebound After The Super Bowl?

All we’ve heard about this offseason is how the Falcons blew a 25 point lead in the Super Bowl. That has to be painful for any player, but it seems like everybody is over it for the most part. Some of the players have been working to get better in the offseason, some as a group and some individually, Matt Ryan gathered a lot of the players in Florida for “Camp Brotherhood” which helps them build chemistry on and off the field.  The Brotherhood is ready to fight for each other for another season.

Players To Watch

Dontari Poe

The Former Chiefs run stopper was brought in to bring more power to the Falcon’s defensive line. He was tremendous at stopping the run in Kansas City and with Jonathan Babineaux not returning, this is great for the team. Not only do the Falcons want him in during run plays, but they want him in on passing downs as well. If he wants to see more reps on passing downs, he will have to lose weight. In Poe’s contract, it has incentives that say he has to stay around 330 pounds. Let’s see how he moves around in training camp and if the Falcons will play him as a 3-down player.

Austin Hooper

Austin Hooper was a player that came on late into the season. He has solid hands and is also a good route runner. It seems as if Hooper will be a focal point at tight end for the team this year. Jacob Tamme isn’t returning and Levine Tolilolo hasn’t been the player the Falcons wanted him to be. Hooper is still young and willing to improve. He worked out with Matt Ryan as well this offseason to work on timing and chemistry so they can be better this season. Expect Hooper to get a lot of reps in training camp.

Season Prediction

As you saw last season, you don’t know what you can expect from this team. The roster had a lot of questions, and on top of that, they had one of the hardest schedules in the NFL. They overcame that and ended up going 11-5 and earned a trip to the Super Bowl. This time around the Falcons have a more complete roster and their schedule isn’t as difficult as last year.  The NFL training camp will be a great way to see just how much the Falcons are prepared. With the defense coming around and offense being good as always, expect this team to be contending for a championship again.