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Question of the Week: What can the Falcons glean from Super Bowl contenders? 

Scott Bair, Tori McElhaney and Ashton Edmunds discuss. 

If you haven't been living under a rock, you know that Rihanna's concert on Sunday night was one for the books. 

OK fine. 

The Super Bowl… The Super Bowl was one for the books. 


The Kansas City Chiefs are your Super Bowl champions as of Sunday night. They defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in a game that had viewers on the edge of their seats until the final couple minutes. And though the game is behind us, there is still a little left to discuss as to how these two Super Bowl contenders relate to the Falcons. 

So, with this thought in mind, Scott, Tori and Ashton are here to answer the question: What can the Falcons organization glean from the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles as the 2022-23 season officially comes to a close?


Scott: There's plenty to glean from the Super Bowl combatants, who don't look like one-year wonders. The Eagles and Chiefs are either in the midst of or just opening a period of sustained success. While there's no one way to construct a juggernaut, I think we can all agree that pass rush is key.

And the Eagles come at you with waves of top talent. They have invested heavily in their defensive line, as the 49ers have over the years. I covered San Francisco during their Super Bowl run a few years back, and that defensive line was fearsome, with talent collected using premium assets. The Falcons should follow that model when addressing a lackluster pass rusher that new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen is charged with fixing.

Nielsen is supremely confident that he'll put pressure on the quarterback and build a stout run defense. His track record suggests they will. The Eagles got after the quarterback a ton this year, to the tune of 70 sacks in one season. That's more than the Falcons have had in the past three. And, you know who was second in sacks? That's right. The Chiefs. Coincidence? I think not. 

Cranking up the defensive front is essential to building a bully and controlling the line of scrimmage. The Eagles and 49ers and so many other elite clubs have elite pass rushes. The Falcons need to invest in some serious upgrades up front, and they have the money, draft picks and wherewithal to get that job done. 

Tori: I actually want to spend my few paragraphs talking about the team that didn't win the Super Bowl: The Eagles. Look, I know they didn't win. I know they may end up being but a footnote in what people ultimately remember about Super Bowl LVII. (We all know Rihanna will be the lede). But I think there is something to be said about Jalen Hurts, and his journey from the start of the 2022 season to the very end.

Hurts' story this season - to me - is the epitome of not giving up on someone's development too soon. Let's go back to the beginning of the season shall we? How many times did we hear doubts about Hurts' future not just in Philadelphia but as a starting quarterback in the league? Let's go back even further, when there was turmoil and changes happening in Philadelphia in Hurts' first couple years in the league. It was a time in his career when Hurts himself felt as though maybe no one even wanted him in Philadelphia.

"My first year here they probably didn't even want me draft here," Hurts was quoted saying at the end of January. "It was probably one of those things. But it always handles itself."

And yes, Hurts, it was handled because you were given the chance to grow and develop.

Even heading into the 2022 season, the Eagles were not sold on Hurts being the long-term solution at quarterback in Philadelphia. I don't know many people who are not sold on Hurts now. As Nicki Jhabvala wrote, Hurts took a star turn in 2022.

Before you read anything further, read this: I am not comparing Desmond Ridder to Jalen Hurts in this scenario. Hurts is playing at a level most people only dream of playing at. This is not - and I repeat not - me saying that Ridder is Hurts or Hurts is Ridder. Do not get what I am saying confused.

I simply bring all of this up about Hurts because I would like to see more of Ridder and I think Hurts is a good example as to why giving Ridder the reins of the offense in 2023 isn't a bad idea. I want to see Ridder grow and develop in much of the same way Hurts was allowed to grow and develop.

The Falcons are in a similar position in which they do not know if the future of the quarterback position is actively on the roster at the current moment.

I am not saying Ridder would go out in 2023 and be what Hurts was for the Eagles in 2022. I'm not saying that at all. If he's a fraction of that, though? If he grows into something that works for Atlanta? Would that be worth it for how the Falcons offense operates? I'd personally like to see if it is.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) pushes for the first down against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 57 football game, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Ashton: I think we all can agree that Super Bowl 57 was arguably one of the best Super Bowl's to date. And yes Tori, I agree. Rihanna's halftime performance was definitely one for the books. But, back to the game now. 

The biggest takeaway from this matchup was how well the Chiefs' offensive line played. You look back two years ago when the Chiefs and Buccaneers played in Super Bowl 55 – Mahomes was intercepted twice, sacked three times, tackled four times for loss and hit nine times. Against the Eagles, Mahomes didn't throw an interception, nor was he sacked a single time. You can't overlook those numbers against an Eagles defense who had the most sacks and fifth most interceptions in 2022. 

When I think of the Falcons' offensive line, I see parallels when compared to the Chiefs'. Both units finished in the top five in 2022, per PFF. Both teams have starting centers who were drafted in 2021. Even more, each of the two units have only played a short time together. The 2022 Chiefs' offensive line played two years together and the Falcons just one year. 

Four out of the five starting offensive lineman for Kansas City were acquired in 2021, through both free agency and the draft, which allowed them to develop and grow together over this two-year span. The Falcons have the option to re-sign Kaleb McGary and Elijah Wilkinson who both were critical pieces in the 2022 offensive line's success. Drew Dalman made consistent improvement in his first year as the Falcons' starting center and Chris Lindstrom played the best football of his career thus far. Why break that up? 

In essence, I think how the Chiefs retained their core offensive lineman to allow growth and development is something the Falcons can glean from to build upon the successes they had in 2022.

Join us as we take a look back at our favorite photos of our home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, during the 2022 Atlanta Falcons season.

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