Right now it's the pass rush. If Atlanta can generate more pressure on quarterbacks, it'll force opponents to rely more on the run game—the Falcons rank second in the NFL in rush D—and it'll make the secondary's job a lot easier. Remember, Vic Beasley, Jr. could break out at any point; Adrian Clayborn, who's displayed flashes of brilliance, could put it all together, as well. If those two start racking up sacks, it'll drastically change how other teams approach Atlanta's defense.
That's hard to say, because teams rarely do much at the NFL trade deadline. I could see the Falcons addressing a need if the right deal presents itself, but such a move would have to help the team well into the future—not just this year. Though Dan Quinn is focused on winning now, long-term success is the ultimate goal in Atlanta.
I do. Missing OTAs due to injury slowed Collins' development, but now that he appears to be caught up, he's in line to become an integral part of Atlanta's defense. Collins' big frame, aggressive mindset and skills in press coverage make him a good fit for Dan Quinn's scheme. And his presence allows Robert Alford to move inside in certain nickel packages. Dan Quinn said the rookie from LSU has been getting extra work in practice and has improved his technique, so fans should expect to see more of him as the season unfolds. Having three solid, young cornerbacks would make a big impact on the Falcons moving forward, and based on recent progress, Collins should be able to give Atlanta that luxury.
Most importantly, the Falcons have to avoid self-inflicted mistakes. Dropped passes, holding penalties and a couple of miscues from Matt Ryan made matters difficult against Tennessee. The passing game will be just fine if correctable errors are reduced across the board.