BS Report: July 17th

The Falcons start training camp Monday, and it will be a huge month of August for the team to get ready for a season that is critical for head coach Dan Quinn. He is under the gun after a mediocre season last year. And since the Super Bowl, the Falcons are 17-15. So, is this a do-or-die year for Quinn, who is entering his fifth season as head coach. When you have a quarterback who is now 34, you start to wonder how long the window will be open for you to win with that player. Now, Matt Ryan is still a tremendous player, and quarterbacks are so protected these days they can obviously last until their late 30s or early 40s, but it’s logical to wonder how long Ryan will stay at a high level. The Falcons did invest in the offensive line – finally – this offseason, and that should help Ryan this season. He’s got the weapons at wide receiver, and after the team gets the contract done for Julio Jones, hopefully they can all concentrate on football instead of money. The key for Atlanta’s offense this season will be running back DeVonte Freeman, who has played in only 16 games in the last two years. He must stay healthy, as his backup, Tevin Coleman, is now gone to San Francisco via free agency. It’s great Ryan can throw the ball downfield, but if the Falcons can’t run the ball effectively, they’ll be in trouble. Freeman says he’s 100 percent healthy, so the Falcons must hope he avoids another concussion. As for the defense, Quinn put himself on the chopping block by naming himself the defensive coordinator. He was a good one, in his day, so we’ll see if that makes a difference. His biggest project is making Vic Beasley effective again. The Falcons must have a pass rush, and Beasley could be the key. He’s had only 10 sacks in the last two years, after having 15.5 in the Super Bowl season. The other key for Atlanta is they must stay healthy. Last year this team was decimated by injuries. Linebacker Deion Jones is back, and that is essential for the defense to once again be a strength for this team. There are a lot of questions for this team, and they probably would have won nine or 10 games last years without the injuries. But when a coach is on the hotseat, there are no excuses. Quinn might have topped out as Atlanta’s coach at halftime of the Super Bowl in Houston, and this team has not been the same since. Regardless of the excuses, Quinn’s Falcons have to win – and win the January – for him to keep his job. And there are a lot of dominos to fall perfectly for that to happen. So, let’s watch how August goes for this team to see how these questions are answered. Atlanta’s first game of the preseason is August first, so, football is almost here.

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