The Atlanta Falcons fan base may be a little split about how much better the defense will be in 2023.
But it’s hard to argue the Falcons’ offense won’t be better … even a lot better.
That’s what Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine expects.
On a list of the top 7 most improved offenses from this offseason, Ballentine ranked the Falcons at No. 5.
“The headliner is obviously Bijan Robinson. Teams don’t take a running back with the eighth pick overall unless they plan on making them a centerpiece of the offense,” Ballentine wrote. “He is the most hyped running back prospect since Saquon Barkley.
“But the moves on the margins deserve some respect too. The Falcons have a clear identity as they moved away from smaller receivers like Olamide Zaccheaus and Damiere Byrd while signing Mack Hollins and a tight end to pair with Kyle Pitts in Jonnu Smith.
“Re-signing Kaleb McGary wasn’t an addition, but it fits nicely with the Falcons physical, run-heavy identify. The selection of Matthew Bergeron in the second round solidified the approach as well.”
Much to the chagrin of some analysts, the Falcons drafted a skilled-position player in the top 10 for the third straight year. Traditionally, that’s not how general managers build winning teams in the NFL.
But Ballentine turned that strategy into a positive when analyzing the Falcons offense. He complimented the organization for knowing “who it is.”
“The Falcons have a clear identity and plan. That’s going to go a long way in protecting Desmond Ridder and giving him a chance to succeed in his second season.”
Maybe general manager Terry Fontenot still has to find long-term solutions at key spots on defense. But in terms of the offense, it’s been a strong offseason for Atlanta.
CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso shared Ballentine’s enthusiasm for what Atlanta added to its offense around Ridder this offseason.
“Ridder’s in a compelling spot. He was a third-round pick, didn’t really flash as a rookie and plays for a run-oriented head coach,” Trapasso wrote. “Then again, the Falcons personnel department has drafted an offensive skill-position player inside the top 10 in each of the past three drafts. Bananas.
“Atlanta also quietly boasts one of the NFL’s most reliable offensive lines. Ridder has a fair amount of arm talent and tested like a supreme athlete at the quarterback spot at the 2022 combine. With Bijan Robinson and Co. in the backfield, it’s hard to envision Ridder getting the opportunity to throw it 30-plus times very often.”
The Falcons put together an offseason that should allow head coach Arthur Smith to make that plan a reality.