With a new Head Coach and one of the worst QB rooms in the league, fixing the Falcons is bound to be a fun one! The answers they find to these questions will frame at least their next 5 or so years – and if they find a winning combination – this is the type of reset that can propel a team to sustained success. So let’s get into it!
While the entire internet came for Arthur Smith’s head for his misuse of his offensive weapons – and probably rightly so – I do think he is due some credit. He had the Falcons at 7-10 in all 3 of his seasons there, which exceeded the expectations of his especially poor rosters in the beginning of his tenure. New Head Coach Raheem Morris will have his work cut out for him to find the answer on offense while managing the defensive side of the ball himself.
Coaching: Continue the Stability & Fix the Mistakes
Morris has been a respected defensive mind in the league since 2003, so I have no doubts he can keep a culture afloat, as well as coach a solid defensive unit. His defenses in recent years haven’t had the crazy high ceilings of say the Bill Belichick or DeMeco Ryans coached defenses, but he has put together numerous stable groups. This is a feat in and of itself, especially considering the awful Rams’ defensive roster he was working with this year.
For the OC job, Morris has brought in Sean McVay disciple Zac Robinson. This is a promising, high risk high reward hire. McVay tree guys like Zac Taylor in Cincinnati have had success in this league, and any young mind stemming out of that wide zone system that half the offenses run nowadays is a shot worth taking. Granted, the downside that comes with this is that behind McVay, we don’t get a great look at Robinson’s abilities beforehand, but again, a risk worth taking in my opinion. The system overall won’t be too different than what Arthur Smith had implemented, albeit hopefully with some more common sense use of Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson.
On defense, I’d expect Morris to conduct most of the work by himself. He’s hired Jimmy Lake – who worked under him in LA – as his DC.
This coaching staff’s task will be to maintain the stability surrounding this team’s on field production while being able to coach up who will likely be a new young QB to get them to the promised land.
Free Agency/Trades: Fix Up the Offense
The obvious discussion comes first: quarterback. Atlanta is the favorite to land Justin Fields if he’s moved. I’m not very high on Fields, but he’s better than what the Falcons have right now, and he has the upside to be even better. I think this would be a solid move. If I’m the Falcons personally – however – I’m looking toward the draft in the QB department. Just for the sake of realism, we will trade for Fields here because at this moment in time I feel that outcome has the perfect combination of realism and probability of success, rather than being stuck with Desmond Ridder again
After QB, the biggest need by far is WR. Outside of Drake London, the Falcons are lacking guys that are even somewhat compelling names there. I expect Atlanta to be in the sweepstakes for the top names that aren’t Tee Higgins or Michael Pittman, as these guys are the exact same archetype as London. If, in reality, Atlanta does go with a Fields trade, I’d address WR in the draft instead. They should also probably re-sign one of the depth WRs they have on expiring deals.
Atlanta’s defense is pretty set, but I’d just invest in some veteran depth here, especially on the edge.
Notable Free Agents and What I Would Do ($25,117,153 in Cap Space)
Mack Hollins (WR) ✅ Re-Sign
Van Jefferson (WR) ❌ Let Walk
Cordarelle Patterson (RB/KR) ❌ Let Walk
Calais Campbell (DL) ✅ Re-Sign
Bud Dupree (EDGE) ❌ Let Walk
Jeff Okudah (CB) ✅ Re-Sign
Notable Free Agent Signing I Would Make ($25,117,153 in Cap Space)
Justin Fields (QB) (Trade)
Marquise Brown (WR)
Dante Fowler (DE)
Jonah Williams (DE)
Kristian Fulton (CB)
NFL Draft: Go for the Gold
The Falcons find themselves in a safe spot with the 8th overall pick. If they’d like, they could even trade up for one of the top 3 QBs. If not, they could easily sit back, hope one of them falls, and be very content with taking one of the top 3 WRs: Marvin Harrison Jr, Malik Nabers, or Rome Odunze instead. In our world here, we have exchanged our second round pick for Justin Fields. I am sitting at 8 hoping for a receiver, and if things get desperate, I’m even willing to move up for one.
Patriots 2024 Draft Picks
1st Round (8th Overall)
2nd Round (43d Overall) – Traded for Justin Fields
3rd Round (74th Overall)
4th Round (109th Overall)
5th Round (145th Overall)
6th Round (189th Overall)
7th Round (201st Overall)
7th Round (244th Overall)
In Round 1, I choose Rome Odunze – Washington WR. With my only other early(ish) pick, I will take CB depth in FSU’s Renardo Green. With the last 5 picks, the focus should be on young depth. Maybe find a high upside EDGE to compete with the starters there, and fill out the backup OL.
Altogether, here is what the revamped OFFENSE would look like;
QB – Justin Fields + Taylor Heinicke
RB – Bijan Robinson + Tyler Allgeier
WR1 – Drake London
WR2 – Rome Odunze
SWR – Tyler Boyd
TE – Kyle Pitts + Jonnu Smith
Overall, this team could compete in a still weak NFC South. From a fantasy perspective, I’m looking forward to the removal of the Arthur Smith effect on this offense, as well as the slight upgrade at QB.
Justin Fields 📉
Bijan Robinson ↔️
Tyler Allgeier 📉
Drake London ↔️
Rome Odunze ↔️
Marquise Brown 📉
Kyle Pitts 📈