With two games remaining in the 2020 season, the Atlanta Falcons have an opportunity to get a clear sense of what the younger players on their roster can do in various roles. Who exactly will be making those decisions in the future remains unclear, but interim head coach will reportedly stay in the mix and receive an interview for a permanent top gig following the season.
Morris has already shown indication that he's willing to shake things up with the depth chart to give different players opportunities to step up. On Monday, he announced that Ito Smith would supplant Todd Gurley as the team’s lead running back, and injuries have given players like Russell Gage and Kendall Sheffield increased chances on the field. While there are two tough games remaining against the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they provide an opportunity to see what these young players can do against the NFL's elite teams, writes ESPN’s Jenna Laine.
"It's hard to find positives in a 4-10 season, especially after surrendering a 17-0 lead against a divisional opponent in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers," Laine writes. "But the Atlanta Falcons do have an opportunity this week to evaluate some talent and test some of their building blocks for next season, and to do so against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs."
Travis Kelce on verge of setting single-season record
The Falcons have faced some of the games top tight ends this season in Darren Waller, Noah Fant and Cameron Brate. On Sunday, they will play the very best of the bunch in Travis Kelce. Long considered among the best at the position, Kelce is putting together the best season of his career and will enter Sunday's game against the Falcons in position to set the NFL's single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end. As NFL.com writer Kevin Patra notes, Kelce enters Sunday's game with 1,318 yards and needs just 60 to surpass the record set by George Kittle in 2019. Kelce has not been held under 60 receiving yards since Week 7 against Denver.
"Averaging 94.1 yards per game, Kelce is poised to smash the record," Patra writes. "In the same year Kittle set the current mark, the K.C. TE netted 1,336 yards, placing him second all-time. With this season's production, Kelce became the only tight end in NFL history with 1,300-plus receiving yards in multiple seasons. He's also the only TE in NFL history with 1,000-plus receiving yards in 5 seasons (Kelce has done so in each of the last 5)."
McKay: Falcons' future structure to be based on candidates
Falcons president Rich McKay made the rounds with local media members on Tuesday to provide updates on the team's ongoing head coach and general manager search. Among the notable points that he discussed was the adjustment of the team's roster under new management. He explained that the way they go about de-constructing and constructing the roster will depend entirely upon the people they hire and the plan they want to put into place.
"When you're talking to those candidates, you want to understand from them what their plan is," McKay told D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "What their vision is for all of your roster. Literally, all of your roster. Part of that roster, especially on the high end of that roster, how do view our high-end players? What's your vision for them? How do they fit? What's your short-, mid- and long-term plan?"
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