When defining the previous decade for the Atlanta Falcons, one word immediately comes to mind: Offense.
After celebrating the best defensive and special teams players from the previous ten seasons, it's time to turn our attention to the offensive side of the ball for the Atlanta Falcons 2010-19 All Decade Team, presented by American Family Insurance. Before getting to the noteworthy players who comprise this team, however, it's worth detailing some of the high points of offensive excellence.
The Falcons scored a combined 3,996 points from 2010-19, the fourth-most among all NFL teams during that span. Likewise, the 59,707 yards gained by Atlanta offenses during the past decade ranked fourth in the league. With Matt Ryan under center, the Falcons new how to move the ball and punch it into the end zone.
Atlanta boasted a top 10 scoring offense a total of five times this decade and a Top 5 unit twice, including the 2016 team that led the NFL with 33.8 points per game. The Falcons finished in the top 10 in yards per game eight times, and only twice did they fail to finish as a top 10 unit on third downs.
The 2016 offense, which received praise as one of the best in league history, featured remarkable consistency. The Falcons averaged 6.68 yards per play in 2016, the third-most among any team in any season this past decade and the fifth-most in any season in league history.
The offenses in Atlanta have been so consistently excellent because they've featured some of the league's best players. So, it's time to name the 12 offensive selections to the Atlanta Falcons All-Decade Team, voted on by members of the national and local media, Falcons alumni and staff.
Quarterback: Matt Ryan* (2010-19)
The league MVP in 2016, Ryan was named to four Pro Bowls during the decade while cementing his claim as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. His 44,830 passing yards since 2010 are the second-most in the league; he also has the fifth-most passing touchdowns in that time and is tied for the most fourth-quarter comebacks.
Running back: Michael Turner (2010-12)
The focal point of Atlanta's offenses at the beginning of the decade, Turner led the league in rushing attempts in 2010 and finished third in rushing yards in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons. During his three seasons with the Falcons this decade, Turner gained a combined 3,511 rushing yards and scoring 33 rushing touchdowns.
Fullback: Patrick DiMarco (2013-16)
A true fan-favorite for the work that he did as both a blocker and a receiver in Atlanta, DiMarco's lone Pro Bowl season of his career came with the Falcons in 2015.
Wide receiver: Julio Jones* (2011-19)
Arguably the best receiver in the league this decade, Jones is well on his way towards putting together a Hall of Fame career. No player in league history has as many consecutive 1,400 yards seasons as Jones does, and he reached 12,000 career yards fast than any receiver to ever play the game, beating Jerry Rice's prior record by a whopping 17 games.
Wide receiver: Roddy White* (2010-15)
Before Jones came along, White was the Falcons receiver ranked among the best in the league and Ryan's go-to weapon. White ended his career as Atlanta's all-time leading receiver, and he caught 493 passes for 6,174 yards and 36 touchdowns this decade. He was inducted into the Falcons Ring of Honor during the 2019 season.
Tight end: Tony Gonzalez* (2010-13)
A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Gonzalez ended his illustrious career with the Falcons. Gonzalez became a crucial part of Atlanta's offenses early in Ryan's career, helping teach the young quarterback both on and off the field. A Pro Bowler in each of his four seasons with the Falcons this decade, Gonzalez caught 326 passes for 3,320 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Center: Alex Mack (2016-2019)
A major acquisition for the Falcons prior to their 2016 Super Bowl run, Mack's presence was felt immediately and has been very important ever since. Mack has started every game for Atlanta since joining the team, and he has been named to the Pro Bowl three times during his four seasons with the Falcons.
Guard: Andy Levitre (2015-2018)
One year before the signed Mack, the Falcons made Levitre their top offseason addition to their offensive line. When healthy, Levitre was a very dependable and reliable left guard for Atlanta.
Guard: Justin Blalock (2010-14)
An underrated but important lineman for the Falcons throughout his career, which took place entirely in Atlanta. Blalock started all but one game while playing for the Falcons this decade.
Tackle: Jake Matthews (2014-19)
Matthews was a high first-round draft pick for the Falcons in 2014, and he's become every bit the player the organization envisioned. Missing just one game in his career, Matthews has become proficient at protecting Ryan's blind side and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2018.
Tackle: Tyson Clabo (2010-2012)
Part of three playoff teams, Clabo started every game at right tackle during his three seasons in Atlanta this decade. His stability was an important part of the early success the Falcons enjoyed in Ryan's career.
Flex: Devonta Freeman (2014-19)
Freeman was named the flex player for the Falcons this decade after Turner barely edged him out in a tight voting battle at running back. A versatile and important offensive piece in Atlanta, Freeman reached his peak during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, when he gained a combined 3,175 yards and scored a total of 27 touchdowns. The former fourth-round draft pick started 59 games for the Falcons this decade, gaining 5,987 total yards and scoring 43 touchdowns; he was named to the Pro Bowl twice.
*Denotes unanimous selection to the all-decade team.
Here is the complete roster for the 2010-2019 Atlanta Falcons All-Decade Team.