Atlanta Falcons To Go One Better In 2010

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The Atlanta Falcons, after a strong second-place finish in the NFC South in 2009 hope to move forward and improve in 2010. They did not gain nor lose any marquee players, but they have solidified some spots that should help.

In the draft, the Falcons coaching staff and general manager began by selecting Sean Witherspoon, a linebacker from Missouri. This addressed the biggest need in picking this weak-side linebacker, after long-time Falcon Keith Brooking left prior to the 2009 season. Witherspoon is expected to be a four-down player in a starting role, even playing on special teams. Their second pick was hard-working defensive tackle Corey Peters, out of the University of Kentucky, who is expected to be at least a back-up in his second round. The Falcons also shored up the offensive line, in an effort to protect quarterback Matt Ryan. Offensive guards Mike Johnson (Alabama) and Joe Hawley (UNLV) look to contribute immediately. Possibly the biggest pick-up was in the secondary, where the Falcons signed veteran Dunta Robinson from Houston.

The offense returns outstanding young quarterback Matt Ryan. Falcons faithful are hoping the offensive line can keep defenders off of him, because if he should go down, the reserve quarterbacks are very inexperienced. D.J. Shockley, third-year guy from Georgia, and John Parker Wilson, in his second-year out of Alabama have not shown that they can compete at this level of play. The running game remains strong, with trimmed-down (yes, 20 pounds lighter) Michael “The Burner” Turner and Jerrious Norwood. Turner looked more fullback-ish at about 260 pounds, but has picked up a step again at his new weight of around 240. Jerrious Norwood explored free agency, but re-signed with Atlanta.

Atlanta does not have an easy start to the season. In the first half, they play Arizona, San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Tampa Bay at home, all of which are winnable. They play Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Cleveland, and Philadelphia on the road, all of which are lose-able. Watch the game at Philly, particularly if Michael Vick should get in for the Eagles.

Even though Atlanta plays in the NFC South, which is notoriously weak, they are unlikely to surpass the 9-7 mark from last year. Look for another 9-7 season.

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