Have you thought about the effect current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has on NFL offenses? The Falcons probably have now, considering they averaged 357.8 total yards per game this season but 416.4 the year before with him coordinating. The Falcons also saw a decrease in passing yards per game from 298.9 to 243.5.
Let me elaborate. This unfortunate trend also continues with running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
But wait there’s more: Julio Jones also saw a dip in production from one season to the next.
The Falcons did not improve on their 11-5 record from 2016 and defend their NFC South title. The team did, however, post its first back-to-back winning seasons and consecutive playoff berths since 2012. The Falcons made the playoffs and defeated the Rams, but lost to the eventual Super Bowl champions in the Divisional Round.
It all boils down to this: the Falcons took a significant step back offensively with current offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. They did not win a single game when the team scored under 20 points, including the playoff loss to the Eagles. What happens next for the Falcons?
Free Agents information and cap numbers are courtesy of OverTheCap.
The Falcons currently have $12.03 million in projected cap space heading into free agency.
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The Falcons interior offensive line could use another player to accompany Alex Mack. The team could accomplish this via free agency or the draft, but the play of Ben Garland does not bode well for the future of Andy Levitre. The solid play of Garland when Levitre missed time due to a triceps injury makes him dispensable.
Quarterback Matt Schaub is at the end of his career at age 37.
The Falcons have minimal cap space but very few needs on offense.
The Falcons OL is an area of opportunity heading into the 2018 season. It would be wise for the team to have a contingency plan at right guard if Levitre does not restructure his contract or if Garland does not develop into the starter that the Falcons intend him to be. The team could address this via free agency or the NFL Draft.
How many more peak seasons does Jones have in him? Jones dealt with a number of injuries last season and just turned 29 on February 8th. The Falcons could lose Taylor Gabriel to free agency. It would be optimal if the team added another WR in the NFL draft to pair with Mohamed Sanu.
Atlanta finished in the top 10 in both total defense and scoring defense for the first time since 1998. They have minor holes, but their cap situation suggests they will address a high percentage of these needs through the draft.
Jones is a player I would consider trading in dynasty given his age. Coleman is entering the final year of his contract. Will he and Freeman make up the Falcons backfield in 2019? Freeman is being paid $8.25 million a year and Coleman will seek a career-defining payday. He’s another player to buy low in dynasty formats.
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