ATLANTA – Between the talent Atlanta possesses on the offensive side of the ball and the addition of Dirk Koetter as offensive coordinator, former NFL quarterback and current NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms is excited about the direction the Falcons are headed in.
"I am a huge Dirk Koetter fan on the offensive side of the ball," Simms said. "I'm not going to say this is Kyle Shanahan, but I think this is as good as Atlanta has had in a while. His play-action pass and deep passes down the field are really what separate him. Creativity has been my issue with the Falcons on the offensive side of the ball since Kyle left and I think he's going to bring that back in the fold."
With a lineup that includes Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Alex Mack, Devonta Freeman, Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu and Austin Hooper, it's understandable why expectations are so high when it comes to the Falcons offense.
Since the 2016 season when the Falcons went on their Super Bowl run with the No. 1 ranked scoring offense (33.8 points per game), the unit has yet to get back to that level of production on a consistent basis.
In 2018, the Falcons offense had the No. 4th ranked passing offense and the No. 27th ranked rushing attack. They finished 10th in the league in scoring, averaging 25.9 points per game.
There's certainly reason to believe the Falcons' passing offense could be even better in 2019 with Koetter at the helm.
In his final season as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018, Koetter's offense led the league in passing yards per game with 320.3 yards per game. The Bucs also ranked No. 3 in yards per game with 415.5 yards per game.
The addition of Koetter is a big reason to why Simms has a lot of confidence in the Falcons heading into 2019, but Atlanta's talent on both sides of the ball is the biggest reason for excitement in his eyes.
"The Falcons are still in a good spot, they just got ravaged by injuries this past year to where I'm not concerned about the Falcons," Simms said. "They are going to be right back in the fold of the playoff conversation once again. There's just too much talent on both sides of the football."