Well, it's time to move on from the NFL season and re-group. I took the Falcons loss pretty hard, and it has been tough to discuss or watch anything NFL related since. I think there are some things the team can do this off-season that would give the team another chance at making a strong run in 2011. Here are the needs in no particular order:
1) Offensive Tackle
2) Running Back
3) Slot Receiver
5) Defensive End
I believe the most pressing need is at defensive end. Biermann is serviceable and makes plays and Abe can still be good, but more is needed here. Chauncey Davis is fine as a back-up, but someone needs to come in and make a difference as a consistent pass rusher. This will help the secondary, which can get better, but certainly was not the sole reason behind the GB loss. Shaun Ellis, Charles Johnson, and others are free agents, but a guy like Cameron Heyward from OSU is also intriguing in the draft. Look at what Julius Peppers did for the Bears defense this season, a solid pass rush covers up other weaknesses.
Once this piece is added, depth at linebacker and corner can be met through free agency and the draft. Thomas Dimitroff has brought in a big-name free agent every off-season, and if he uses that strategy again and brings in another offensive piece, I could see it being RB or WR.
Michael Turner is likely coming up on his last season as a guy that can handle 300+ carries. He simply takes too big of a pounding each week. Snelling is a fine 3rd stringer, but the team needs a back-up guy that has some big-play ability, quickness, and good pass receiving skills. If the team goes free agency, Darren Sproles could be a fit. As for slot receiver, Santana Moss needs a job and if the price is right, that could be another offensive fit for the birds.
It is tough to think positively immediately after the crushing loss against the Packers. However, they had a rare combination of a hot QB and a stiff defense-good things are still in the Falcons future.
The Falcons have a really good nucleus and now are on 3 winning seasons in a row. Winning seasons and division titles certainly made the Braves significant in the 90's, but as anyone today will tell you, world titles are what matters. At this point, I can't see Art Blank failing on his goal to bring Atlanta a Lombari trophy...