The Falcons enter the 2012 season with expectations of taking a step forward. New defensive and offensive coordinators are in place to take a talented roster to the next level, specifically a playoff win for the first time under head coach Mike Smith.
Although Atlanta is seeking that elusive win, it shouldn't be overlooked that Falcons fans are watching a Falcons team in the middle of a run that is the best the franchise has ever seen. The inability to win in the playoffs is a frustration, but it's still a good time to be a Falcons fan.
The offense Atlanta is taking into 2012 has been solid in the last four years and new coordinator Dirk Koetter's expectation is to take it from good to great. He inherits a capable offense led by quarterback Matt Ryan and a host of playmakers all around the ball. The Falcons offense under Ryan has set numerous records in recent seasons and the pace at which they've put up points is the best in franchise history.
Since 2008, the Falcons have scored more than 350 points every season, the first stretch of its kind in franchise history. They've been in the top 10 in scoring for three of those four seasons. The 2009 season saw a Falcons team struggle through injuries and miss the playoffs, but still manage a 9-7 record and finished 13th in the NFL in scoring.
The last two seasons Ryan and the Falcons have put more 400 points on the board for the entire season. It's the second time in franchise history that an Atlanta offense has accomplished that feat. The 1980 and '81 teams scored 405 and 426 points in those seasons. 2011 and 2010 were just the fifth and sixth times in team history that more than 400 points were scored by an offense.
A past like that combined with the innovation Koetter is bringing to the players assembled on the roster is why wide receiver Roddy White recently said the group on offense he's surrounded by is the best he's been around. Koetter has said he intends to tailor an offense around Ryan, White and all of the talent on the roster. With a scheme like that in place, there's good reason to believe the Falcons plus-400 run will continue.
With nine days to go until training camp begins for the 2012 season, the Falcons and their offense are clearly excited about the possibilities that are in store for the coming season.