ATLANTA – The 2018 season didn't go as planned for the Falcons by any means and there's no denying this offseason is a vital one for the franchise moving forward.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank didn't shy away from saying "this was not a great year" for his team.
Atlanta started the year with expectations by some in the national media to be the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. Instead, the team finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
The Falcons have a relatively young roster and made a number of coaching moves after the season in hopes to get back to playing championship-level football in 2019. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn will spend the next three months making thorough decisions about their roster as free agency and the NFL Draft are just around the corner.
Blank has said the needs for the team will start with improving in the trenches. And they'll make whatever moves they deem necessary to ensure that.
"We'll look at free agency and [see] who is available," Blank said. "Then we'll have to make the determination, do we want to go after any of those players or do we just want to wait for the draft? A lot of it depends on the depth of the draft in certain areas that we have needs in like the offensive line this year is pretty clear. [And] the defensive line. So, we look at that in totality, we look at the pool of players that are available. I expect us to be active in any way we can to improve our team."
After a season in which Matt Ryan was sacked 42 times and finishing the year with the No, 27th rushing attack, the emphasis on continuing to bolster the offensive line is quite clear.
"It's critical," Blank said. "We want to keep [Matt] standing and not having him running around. He can throw the ball well on the run, but he's better in the pocket. We need to find ways to protect him much better. Improving that offensive line is important for him but also with Dirk Koetter, you're going to see much more of an emphasis on a more balanced running and passing attack."