Falcons Team Needs: Special Teams Is Strong

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Bosher (left) and Matt Bryant

The special teams units of the Atlanta Falcons can be considered one of the strongest units on the roster. It is highlighted by one of the better pair of kickers and punters in the league in Matt Bryant and Matt Bosher, coupled with arguably the best return specialist in NFL history in Devin Hester. Not to mention, long snapper Josh Harris has blossomed into a solid snapper over the past few seasons.

The Falcons’ coverage units were also solid in 2014 with only a few noteworthy breakdowns. The Falcons ranked as ninth on Football Outsiders’ overall special teams rankings last season.

This success was a major factor in why special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong and his assistant Eric Sutulovich were among a handful of assistant coaches that were retained by new Falcons head coach Dan Quinn from Mike Smith’s former staff. As the old adage goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Any and all concern at this position group was settled when the team was successfully able to re-sign Bryant to a three-year deal ahead of his becoming a free agent next week. That deal should keep the soon-to-be 40-year old kicker in Atlanta for the remainder of his career and put him in position to become the team’s all-time leader in several kicking and scoring categories.

The only real concern there is whether or not Bryant can maintain his current level of play for the remainder of that deal. Only time will tell, but the Falcons are optimistic that Bryant can remain at the top of his game, similar to Adam Vinatieri, who at age 42 is the league’s oldest player and still going strong.

As for the rest of the group, the Falcons have the 27-year old Bosher signed through 2019.Harris turns 26 this offseason and is signed through 2018.

Hester is also up there in age at 32, but he’s got two more years left on his contract and certainly isn’t in any position where the team will be looking to make a change. But it wouldn’t be a bad decision to add another player via the draft that can potentially be groomed as his replacement. But the team might already have that player in wide receiver Bernard Reedy, who spent his rookie season on the practice squad.

The Falcons probably won’t make any major additions at this position group besides adding a couple of undrafted free agents to bolster competition at the various positions in camp. The team has already made efforts to solidify their coverage units with some of their early free-agent moves. They could potentially add a few more with late-round draft picks and undrafted free agency.

Special teams is one of the few position groups that could be labeled a strength on a 4-12 Falcons team and based off the moves made thus far this offseason, should remain so.

 

 

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Aaron Freeman
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