The Atlanta Falcons blew a big lead in the Super Bowl, becoming the biggest big game punchline since the Buffalo Bills in the process. Before the Bills and Falcons square off in Week 4 of the 2017 season, we take a look at their offseason with some help from SB Nation’s Broncos blog, The Falcoholic.
Notable free agent additions: DT Dontari Poe, WR Andre Roberts, FB Derrick Coleman, DE Jack Crawford
Notable free agent departures: FB Patrick DiMarco, DT Tyson Jackson
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies: DE Takkarist McKinley, LB Duke Riley, FS/CB Damontae Kazee
Biggest offseason addition: Poe. He’s signed for just one year, but he’s slimming down and has the talent to be the missing piece for the Falcons’ so-so run defense, plus a situationally useful pass rusher. For a team with very few glaring holes on defense, Poe is a huge addition, especially given the team’s real questions at defensive tackle aside from Grady Jarrett.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp: Can the Falcons rebound from the most crushing Super Bowl loss of all-time? (Editor’s note: The Bills have a claim to this, right? - MRW) Everyone wants to know if the team has the mental toughness or can-do attitude or whatever you call it to return to relevance and contention in 2017. There’s a rich history of teams falling short the year after a Super Bowl berth, especially when they lose, so Atlanta will have to do more than talk about staying focused (which they’ve done) and show they’re as good or better than they were a year ago.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: Is the defense ready to break out? The Falcons battered Tom Brady for almost three full quarters in the Super Bowl and quietly played very well down the stretch last year. We know the offense will be good, but can the defense take a step forward on the strength of additions like Poe and their current young core? We’ll see some very early glimpses in training camp.
Notable injuries heading into training camp: Everyone should be healthy, but Desmond Trufant, Adrian Clayborn, Derrick Shelby, Alex Mack, Julio Jones, and Taylor Gabriel are all coming off injuries and will need to prove their health.
Thanks again to The Falcoholic. The Bills head to Atlanta in Week 4.