This week’s episode of The B.S. Report delves into the Falcons chances for 2015

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Atlanta Falcons had their 2015 debut last Friday night, with new head coach Dan Quinn. It was the first exhibition game of the season, so you really couldn’t tell much. We might see a bit more this Friday when the Falcons are in New York to try and knock out the Jets.

There are a lot of changes on this team. We do know that Matt Ryan is still the quarterback and Julio Jones and Roddy White are still the wide receivers. But the players in front of, and directly behind Ryan, are big question marks.

All three of the main running backs – Tevin Coleman, Devonta Freeman and Antone Smith – have hamstring injuries. They should be back, but when? Coleman is a rookie and rookies need time in training camp and in the exhibition season to prepare for life in the NFL. There was no running game last Friday night, and if those three don’t get back and get on the field, you can forget about all the other questions on this team. They must improve the running game from a year ago.

And the offensive line has been a question mark for years now. The last two seasons we’ve seen a revolving door, mainly due to injuries. This year they are installing the zone blocking scheme, so it’s a bit different. The tackles – Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder – look fine. But the question is with the guards, who must do their job so that whoever is at running back can have some holes to run through.

Chris Chester and James Stone are the favorites, with center Joe Hawley back after his injury kept him out last year. The Falcons MUST be better on the line of scrimmage.

The defense is full of question marks. Rookie Vic Beasley looked good the other night in his  10 snaps. We’ll see more of him this week. Beasley is a key piece to the puzzle if the Falcons are going to put more pressure on the quarterback.

The linebackers looked pretty good, but we need to see more of what Justin Durant can do and they need Brooks Reed healthy. Paul Worrilow is no longer just another linebacker. He’s now the leader and must play at a high level.

Second-year lineman Ra’Shede Hageman looked good. He could break out this season. Tyson Jackson has lost weight and is more athletic now as a defensive end. But what about the secondary? Second round pick Jalen Collins looked lost. They are now dealing with injuries to cornerback Desmond Trufant and safety William Moore. The pass rush will be helped tremendously if the secondary can do its job.

The NFC South looks to be the worst division in football, so that gives the Falcons a chance. No team looks to emerge as a preseason favorite, so the Falcons have just as good a shot as the Saints, Panthers or Buccaneers.

The Falcons look – at least on paper – to be a team that can be better than the 6-10 team from a year ago. Quinn has done what new coaches do – he’s instilled enthusiasm and a new energy that was sorely needed. But there are a ton of things for Quinn and his staff to figure out in the next three games.

The Falcons are better, but how much better? Well, it’s just too early to tell.

Categories: Sports

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