Soon enough, the NFL’s long lockout will come to an end, and the coaches and players will get back to work.
Fans will rejoice, although we all have been cheated out of the usual offseason talk of trades, free agent signings and up-and-coming star rookies.
For some teams, that work to get ready for the season will be much more difficult than others. Teams with new head coaches or teams facing transitions in some other manner could be in trouble. They’re going to have a long season ahead of themselves. It’s really going to be difficult for them to be considered playoff contenders because all of their changes will be hard to overcome with so little time to prepare.
Then there are teams like Atlanta. The Falcons don’t have any of those kinds of worries.
First, the Falcons have plenty of talent. And they have a ton of experience coming back from last year’s strong team, although that season didn’t end the way Atlanta wanted it to with a blowout loss to Green Bay in the playoffs.
But most importantly coming out of the lockout, the Falcons have stability, especially at the three key positions of any NFL franchise. With an elite quarterback in Matt Ryan, a solid head coach in Mike Smith and a general manager in Thomas Dimitroff who has a steady hand on the wheel of the organization, the Falcons will be in good shape when the teams are allowed to return to work.
The Falcons, in fact, should be considered favorites to win the NFC title and go to the Super Bowl. They’ll have to go through the Packers, but the Falcons have plenty of positives despite the lockout.
Well ... Atlanta has as many positives as any team can, considering the situation. The lockout is going to make things difficult on the teams, and it is going to hurt the level of play this season. Teams are going to be in a rush to fill out their roster with free agents and rookies, and they are going to be even more rushed to get practices going and get ready for the season.
But teams like Atlanta will have a huge advantage because they have the key pieces in place to be a good football team. And they have stable, veteran leadership that will be needed to get through the lockout without much damage.
That could lead to another strong season for the Falcons and probably even a better finish than last year.
Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or at firstname.lastname@example.org