You probably already know at this point that our blog opponent this week is The Falcoholic.
Dave Choate from The Falcoholic kindly gave us a rundown of the Falcons. Dave covers the passing game, running game and linebackers.
The passing game: In the NFL, it's increasingly rare to rely on a single receiving threat to carry the day. Teams are diversifying their weapons, and the Falcons are no exception.
Obviously, Tony Gonzalez is still one of the league's most reliable targets, and he's still a focal point of the offense. Roddy White had a bit of a down year and still managed to be close to the Top 10 in production across the league. Promising youngsters Harry Douglas and Kerry Meier are hungry and should make an impact.
Toss in the fact that Matt Ryan is in his third season and more well-versed in the offense than ever before, and you have a recipe for offensive fireworks. Speaking of which....
The ground game: This deserves to be split into its own category, I think, rather than just saying the offense in general is a strength.
The Falcons have gone out of their way to address the offensive line the last couple of seasons, drafting road-graders like Mike Johnson, Garrett Reynolds and Joe Hawley. All three have legitimate potential to crack the starting lineup soon, and they join an offensive line that has proven adept in the past at opening holes for Michael Turner & Co. Without the injuries that plagued the line in 2009-or so we hope-the Falcons should once again have a dominant ground attack.
And did I mention Turner? When healthy, he's still a great combination of speed and power. He's joined by oft-injured home run threat Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling, whose built like a tank and runs like one. I see a very balanced attack for the Falcons in 2010.
Linebackers: The Falcons' defense isn't nearly as impressive on paper as their offense, but there's one facet that has historically shone for the team and promises to do so again this season.
Curtis Lofton has all the makings of a dominant middle linebacker. He's not as useful against the pass as he is against the run at this early stage of his career, but he's already making backs think twice before running it up the middle. Stephen Nicholas is a quick linebacker who is adept on passing downs, and promising rookie Sean Weatherspoon should round out the trio with his mix of overpowering swagger and a balanced overall game.
Add in savvy veterans Mike Peterson and Coy Wire, plus promising young 'backer Spencer Adkins, and it's a strong, deep position that should serve as the anchor for the D.