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Question of the Week: What is the biggest question facing the Falcons offense in 2024? 

With a new head coach, coordinator and quarterback in Atlanta, the Falcons offense is bound to look different this season. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The first domino was Raheem Morris. He was brought in as the Atlanta Falcons' new head coach in late January. Then, Zac Robinson joined just days later as a coordinator. A month-ish pause hit before Kirk Cousins signed up to be the quarterback and a series of other offseason transactions followed.

Come September, all of the offensive dominos will have to inevitably fall in Atlanta when Week 1 kicks off inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

That prompts the latest Question of the Week: What is the biggest question facing the Falcons offense in 2024? The Falcons editorial staff of Tori McElhaney, Terrin Waack and Amna Subhan answer below.


McELHANEY: How much does the addition of Kirk Cousins change the overall production and output of someone like Kyle Pitts?

It's no secret Pitts was something special his rookie season. He burst onto the scene, showing a skillset worthy of a No. 4 overall pick. Outside of his lack of targets in the red zone, Pitts was as advertised, and he had the Pro Bowl honors and 1,000 yards receiving to back the advertising up. But then, injuries happened. Then, a carousel at quarterback. Long were the days between his first season and where he finds himself now. Except, as Raheem Morris said and the front office supported with the act of extending Pitts' fifth-year option to him, there's still a strong belief in Pitts. Now, the belief needs to equal production.

It goes without saying that 2024 is a huge year for Pitts. From a personal standpoint, it could change the overall scope of his next contract in the league. From a team standpoint, a healthy Kyle Pitts is a dangerous Kyle Pitts who can put up big numbers, as seen in 2021.

Outside of health, the major thorn in the side of Pitts has been the lack of catchable passes thrown his way since the departure of Matt Ryan after Pitts' rookie season. The addition of Cousins into the Atlanta operation should -- in theory -- change that stat quickly. The insertion of a Sean McVay-inspired offense into Zac Robinson's unit plans should help, too.

As I wrote way back on March 11, the day Cousins' signing was first reported: "For more than a decade, Cousins has put together a completion percentage that lands at 66.9%. For reference, Ryan's completion percentage through his first 12 seasons in the league was 65.4% while Matthew Stafford's was 62.6%. According to Pro Football Reference, Cousins ranks fourth in completion percentage among all active quarterbacks (with more than 25 game appearances). Cousins has also spent (seven) seasons of his career top 10 in passes completed and passing touchdowns."

If you don't think this matters for someone like Pitts, I don't know what to tell you.

WAACK: Looking at Bijan Robinson here. Will the running back pop off in 2024 as a sophomore?

Robinson, like tight end Kyle Pitts who Tori discussed already, was a first-round pick for the Falcons. Robinson went No. 8 overall in 2023. As a rookie, he then carried the ball 214 times for 976 yards and four touchdowns. He also, however, caught 58 passes for 487 yards and another four touchdowns. Robinson was clearly utilized in both the pass and run game. So much so, he scored two touchdowns receiving (Weeks 1 and 5) before he ever scored his first touchdown rushing (Week 8).

Robinson's 214 carries ranked him No. 19 among active running backs in 2023, No. 1 among rookies. So, Robinson was getting the ball a fair amount compared to his counterparts. His 976 yards then ranked him 15th among actives, first again among rookies. Another so, he was doing well once in possession of the ball, too.

Then, why did it always feel like the Falcons could have gotten more from Robinson? Not saying it was his fault. He wasn't the one calling the plays. But now, indeed with someone new doing just that, will there be more Robinson seen in Atlanta? Will there be that Year 2 jump?

Right now, Robinson is nursing an ankle injury. He sat out practice for the first two weeks of the Falcons' organized team activities, and it sounds like he will miss the remaining third week of OTAs coming up. Falcons head coach Raheem Morris expects Robinson to be back by mandatory minicamp, which is scheduled for June 10-12. And then, training camp begins in late July before finally the 2024 season does the same in early September. The latter is when any sophomore slump or surge will truly be determined.

SUBHAN: My biggest question mark comes in the form of the most important facet of the offense: the quarterback.

By all accounts, Kirk Cousins' repaired Achilles tendon is rehabbing well. Coaches, players and even Cousins himself said the quarterback is ahead of schedule, even surprising a few with what he can do on the practice field through offseason trainings.

Though, practices are still non-contact until training camp in late July. How will his injury respond at that point?

Looking further, there's a ways away until Week 1 in September, but the Falcons don't have an easy start to the season with multiple games against potential contenders, including the back-to-back Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.

Along with coming back from injury and working with a new play-caller in offensive coordinator Zac Robinson, Cousins and the Falcons offense have plenty of uncertainties to answer through the season.

It's worth noting that the veteran quarterback comes from a Minnesota Vikings system that stems off the same Sean McVay-Los Angeles Rams branches that grew Robinson into a first-time coordinator. Falcons quarterback coach T.J. Yates recently said in media availability that the offenses are quite similar.

"There's a very large portion of (Robinson's) offense that (Cousins) already knows and knows down pat, which is good because you can already jump to those 300-, 400-level conversations," Yates said. "You don't need to go back to the basics."

Even still, there's a lot we won't know until we see it on the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and even then it might take half a season for the offense to really gel. And that begs another question: How much patience will be afforded by fans and the larger media apparatus?

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