Three weeks ago, ESPN did a little feature in which they projected all 32 NFL teamsto where they could potentially be as far as power rankings go in 2015. It got me thinking about the direction of the Falcons who ranked 13th in ESPN’s little endeavour. Per ESPN, the NFC looks to be stacked in the coming years with the Falcons being the 8th ranked team in the conference, having to compete with the likes of the Packers, Giants, 49ers, Lions, Eagles, Panthers, and Saints as premier teams in the years to come.
I’ll be going position by position to give you some potential insight into how the Falcons team could look come 2015. First, let’s start with the quarterbacks.
Matt Ryan is still the team’s starting quarterback. After leading the Falcons to their first playoff win in 2012, he was able to land a $100 million extension from the Falcons the following off-season. He follows that up with two more winning seasons, making him the second-most winningest quarterback in NFL history through his seventh season, surpassing the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and all but former Cowboy Danny White in terms of all-time regular season wins. Ryan has now posted a 3-6 playoff record, roughly on par with Manning at the same point in his career, yet the Super Bowl remains elusive. The Falcons are poised that 2015 will be their year with a now experienced core of young playmakers around Ryan and his fourth year in Dirk Koetter’s system has now mastered it to become one of the league’s top passers.
Ryan’s backup is former 2013 draft pick out of Washington State Jeff Tuel, who replaced Chris Redman as the team’s primary backup in his second NFL season. Tuel shined under Mike Leach during his final year at Washington State to become the Falcons fifth round pick and the player the Falcons deemed a long-term backup for Ryan. In the years since joining the Falcons he has been solid in limited duty behind Ryan able to use his arm and athleticism to keep the Falcons competitive in the few instances where Ryan has been nicked up.