It seems that most contend that the Falcons will have a winning season for the second consecutive for the first time in franchise history in 2005. Why? Because barring a major injury to #7, there's no reason why it shouldn't happen.
But what happens if Vick goes down for 6, 8, 10, or maybe even 16 weeks next year? Does this team have the talent elsewhere to win without him? Or rather put, win 9 games without him?
I contend most will so no. And I would agree. But what should we do about that? Shouldn't we start to make additions/changes that will make us less of a "one-man" team?
Where should those additions/changes occur? I'm thinking that with Schaub at the helm, we can still be a semi-successful team if we strengthen the running attack and the defense. I think most would agree that those were areas we should be strengthening anyway, but let me continue...
I think we need to make sure that we have 2 good backs in here. Knapp did a good job utilizing Duckett & Dunn this year. Could he have done better? Yes, but I still think he did a good job. Both guys are relatively healthy heading into the playoffs and should have very fresh legs in another week.
So assuming we don't cut Dunn, that's taken care of. And if we do, we need to make sure we add somebody worth a damn to replace him. But I think strengthening the run game will focus mostly on the O-line. We need to improve that area. I don't expect a complete turnaround in a single year. We have one of the weaker lines in the league, and I would suspect that in 2005, the best I can hope for is average, since even if we brought in top talent, it would still take time for these guys to gel. So that's why I'd only recommend bringing in no more than 2 new starters. A complete overhaul and you get a unit similar to the Redskins, which is quite talented, but because they haven't really gelled, they don't play that well.
As for the defense, I think the most important things will be improving the front 4, and getting at least one quality DB (preferably SS). I think adding a decent player at DE is going to go a long way, and also improving the depth at DT since none of those guys are known for their durability. LB is okay for now, esp. if Williams starts next year on the outside, so we don't need to force a move there. I'd like to add a quality run-stuffing safety at SS and move Scott to FS, which I think will do the defense wonders.
So in essence, if I'm McKay, I might be focusing on OL, DL, and S the most this off-season because I think that's the best way we ensure that we don't dip back to 5-11 in 2005.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.