FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes a ranking of the NFL's neediest teams as well as the Indianapolis Colts finding their next head coach.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
*Sports Illustrated: *Ranking the NFL's neediest teams
In Friday's Early Bird Report, we shared a clip from The Ringer's Danny Kelly, which ranked the Falcons as the league's most stable franchise. Now, Andy Benoit of Monday Morning Quarterback has a similar message delivered in a slightly different manner.
Benoit ranks the neediest teams in the NFL, beginning with the team that he believes has the most holes to fill and ending with the one that he deems the most complete. The Falcons, entered his ranking at No. 30, meaning they are the third-most complete team in Benoit's opinion. Here is what he had to say about the Falcons, whose biggest need he lists as guard:
"Even with first-and-second-down D-linemen Dontari Poe, Adrian Clayborn, Courtney Upshaw and Ahtyba Rubin hitting free agency, the Falcons' front is in fine shape. Every position on both sides of the line is set for the near future. Except guard. On the right, Wes Schweitzer, a sixth-round pick in 2016, improved late last year, particularly in pass protection, but he still has athletic limitations. Andy Levitre, 31, was solid on the left but finished the year on IR and now carries an $8.4 million cap number ($7 million of which can be scrapped with his release). Matt Ryan is at his best when climbing the pocket, so Atlanta will invest in that pocket's cleanliness. Whoever they acquire must be mobile, too, as that's critical in Atlanta's outside-zone running scheme."
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BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL
NFL.com: Indianapolis Colts hire Frank Reich to be next coach
The Indianapolis Colts have their new head coach in former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, according to NFL.com. This news comes after Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel abruptly changed his mind and turned down the Colts' offer to become head coach after reportedly agreeing to assume the open position.
"We are extremely excited to announce Frank Reich as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts," Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay said in a statement, per NFL.com. "Frank has all the ingredients of a successful head coach: intelligence, innovation, character, organizational and leadership skills, and a commanding presence. He also has a stellar reputation, and his myriad of life experiences and the people he has worked with make him the perfect fit for us and our fans. I feel extremely fortunate and could not be more excited for Colts Nation and the future of our franchise."
Reich was hired by the Eagles in 2016 to run the team's offense, and he helped turn quarterback Carson Wentz into a legitimate MVP contender in just two years. Reich played a large role in helping the Eagles win this year's Super Bowl, working with Nick Foles to help him perform at a high level through their playoff run.
Here are some more articles from around the league:
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