The Falcons were the football equivalent of a movie box office flop in 2013. Just a game from the Super Bowl in the year before, the Falcons never really got going last year. The culprit was an unbalanced offense and plain bad defense. They repeatedly got run over by their opponents, while stunningly not recording a single 100-yard rusher in a game all season. They bet big on veteran Steven Jackson (543 rush yards, 3.5 yards/carry) and it didn’t work out. Without any acquisitions at running back, though, they’re betting again on Jackson to rebound and prove he has something left in his career. Granted it was his first non-1,000 yard season since 2004, so the man has been doing it well for a while. Matt Ryan (4,515 yards, 26 TDs) had another great season, but couldn’t control being sacked 44 times due a porous offensive line. Enter #6 overall pick OT Jake Matthews, a key cog of Johnny Manziel’s offense. They did draft a running back in Florida State’s Devonta Freeman. Freeman could see immediate playing time. The running game will be crucial to make the passing game that much more effective. They’re loaded at WR with Roddy White (711 rec yards), Harry Douglas (85 rec, 1,067 rec yards), and the return of Julio Jones, who missed the last 11 games last season to injury. They do lose Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez to retirement but have the talent to sustain that loss. They added legendary Bear Devin Hester although it remains to be seen if he’ll be used at wideout or not.
They didn’t make many notable free agent moves besides losing S Thomas DeCoud and signing a few starter-level players like CBs Javier Arenas and Josh Wilson, OL Gabe Carimi, TE Bear Pascoe, and DT Paul Soliai. The Falcons’ struggles last season were also somewhat confusing in that the roster was very similar to the one that had won 14 games the year before. They could get right back to where they were in 2012 or it may take a couple years to build back to that. But the biggest news of all for the Falcons this offseason was the groundbreaking of their new stadium in downtown Atlanta, just south of the Georgia Dome. It will be ready for the 2017 season and over 70% privately funded (nearly $1 billion) making it the most expensive privately-funded stadium in the history of North American pro sports. At the groundbreaking press conference, Falcons officials and Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed made it known they want a Super Bowl and badly; the aging Georgia Dome hasn’t had one since 1994. In stark contrast the new Falcons stadium will be a retractable-roof architectural model of a stadium. But the Falcons have the talent to make a Super Bowl even before that opens, as they showed in 2012. Get your Atlanta Falcons tickets from Gold Coast Tickets today!