FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes a new concern for the Falcons heading into the offseason as well as the biggest news from around the NFL.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
Associated Press: Defense rises, but offense is new concern for Falcons
Entering this season, one of the questions surrounding the Falcons was whether or not the young defense would continue to make strides. Now, that defense has become the team's most consistent strength. As Charles Odum of the AP notes, it's the offense that has become a question mark heading into this offseason.
"Quarterback Matt Ryan couldn't repeat his 2016 MVP production," Odum writes. "Julio Jones was held to only three touchdown catches — his low total since having two in 2013, when he played only five games. He couldn't catch a last-chance, fourth down pass in the end zone from the Eagles 2.
"The Falcons tumbled from first to 15th in scoring.
"'I think that's certainly something that we have to look at and evaluate this offseason,' Ryan said, per the AP. 'There were too many times that we were a little bit inconsistent.'"
*Atlanta Journal-Constitution: *The failure of the Falcons' season was a failure of coaching
Although the Falcons revamped a good portion of their coaching staff in the offseason and became the only NFC team to make a return trip to the postseason in 2017, some believe this year was a failure due to poor coaching. *AJC *columnist Mark Bradley championed that particular opinion in his recent piece following the Falcons' divisional round loss.
Here are some more stories on the Falcons:
- *AJC: *Falcons’ 2018 free agents include key contributors
- *Sports Illustrated: *What’s next for the divisional round losers?
- ESPN: Re-grading every NFL team’s 2017 offseason
BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL
NFL.com: Colts expected to hire Josh McDaniels as head coach
The NFL's coaching carousel is turning, and a few more vacancies are expected to be filled soon. According to a report by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the Colts' open head coach job will be taken by Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels following the conclusion of New England's season.
Another playoff coach who is expected to accept a head-coaching position soon is Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmer, who has reportedly agreed to join the New York Giants following the end of Minnesota's season.
Here are some more articles from around the division:
- CBS Sports: Titans parting ways with Mike Mularkey
- NFL.com: Ken Norton Jr. expected to return as Seahawks’ DC
- *San Francisco Chronicle: *Bryce Love to return to Stanford for senior year
MORE FROM ATLANTAFALCONS.COM