OPUS Mag

Far from timid • Caveat Lector

Rise Up: Atlanta Falcons Football is BACK!

Rise Up: Atlanta Falcons Football is BACK!

Go ahead and gather all of your 28-3 jokes. You got em? Now go ahead and laugh it up a little…..you feel better yet? No. You want to make one more joke? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now that you’ve gotten that out of the way let me have this moment. I have only been able to speak about that game that happened in February a few times. Yes I’m still hurt, and disappointed, and angry and yes I hope Kyle Shanahan fails at everything else he does in the NFL but I know that sorrow does not last forever and joy commeth in the morning. Specifically this morning; because it is officially the first day back in Flowery Branch for the 2016 NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons and that means football is almost here!!!!

As we begin our journey into the 2017 season there are many questions that face the 2016 NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, and before you ask that is how I will refer to them until the season begins. The most prevalent of those questions is simple: How do you recover from that Super Bowl loss? How do you move on after being up 25 point at the bottom of the 3rd only to allow the Patriots to come back and win the whole thing? The answer is simple and it’s something head Coach Dan Quinn has been preaching the entire off season. You don’t recover. You accept it and you “embrace the suck.” I’m certain our players have watched that game over and over and over again, hell NFL Network plays it at least once a week. I know they have analyzed what they could have done better, but at the end of the day it happened. It’s time to move on and take all that disappointment and work that much harder to get to Minneapolis for Super Bowl 52 and bring the Lombardi trophy to Atlanta.

Another major question revolves around one of the Falcons star offensive players; RB Devonta Freeman. Freeman is entering the last year of his rookie contract and he, along with the rest of us are expecting a long term contract to be signed any moment now. Freeman has made it clear he would like to stay in Atlanta; the front office has made it clear that they want him here longtime and as a fan I definitely want to keep him long term. He is one half of the most explosive RB duo in the league. So I need Dmitroff to get it together and get this worked out….preferably sometime soon.

The final question, at least for now, revolves around the Falcons explosive offense and the new offensive coordinator. With Shanahan off to destroy the dreams of 49ers fans, Atlanta brought in former Alabama offensive analyst/coordinator Steve Sarkisian as the new offensive coordinator. Sarkisian has made his rounds in college football and things were going pretty well until his drinking problem reared its head during his time as head coach for USC. So if we’re being completely honest there are a few questions regarding Sarkisian. The most important one in my mind is if and how he will alter our offense. Sarkisian only called one game for Bama (Roll Tide), and it happened to be the College Football Playoff final that they lost. People seem to only focus on this game, but forget that Sarkisian isn’t new to this. He was the OC for Washington and USC before returning as head coach in 2014. Thankfully his scheme is fairly similar to Shanahan, and hopefully he’ll add a new dynamic that will make our offensive even more explosive in the 2017 season. Only time will tell.

At the end of the day, I’m excited because my favorite sport is back and my team has the potential to make it back to the BIG GAME. Over the next few weeks we’ll dive deeper into the 2017 draft picks, Free agency pick-ups and my predictions for the upcoming season. I can’t wait to talk football with y’all this season, just make sure to keep the 28-3 jokes to yourselves. #RiseUp

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