The Atlanta Falcons, it has to be said, did not put up very impressive numbers, last season, other than their 13-3 regular season record: Quaterback Matt Ryan did his part; throwing for 4,719 yards and 32 touchdowns (plus a single rushing TD). His overall passer rating came in at a respectable 99.1. In the passing game, they ranked 6th overall, but they were 29th in rushing and their defence allowed opponents to rack up some serious yards, both through the air and on the ground.
It appears that the Falcons (or the "dirty birds", as they are known where I live; just an hour from New Orleans) have a severe case of DCS: Dallas Cowboys' Syndrome is when much is repeatedly expected of a highly-talented team, while said team continues to come up short, leaving everyone scratching their heads.
Where, then, do the Falcons go from here? On offence, they have an impressive receiving duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones, but they desperately need to improve their running game. Retaining Tony Gonzalez for another season at the tight end position certainly drew sighs of relief that could be heard in Savannah, and now Steven Jackson adds some exciting additional rushing options. With all due respect to Michael Turner, his departure will be mourned much less, once Jackson gets to show what he's truly capable of in the Georgia Dome.
On the other side of the ball, there are some holes to fill, or at least patch, and Atlanta's defensive draft pics will be watched by their fans with breath that is most definitely baited. There is widespread speculation, regarding defensive tackle prospects and very little point in regurgitating the names of the usual suspects once again. Two words which spring to mind, however, should be "back" and "corner"; not necessarily in that order. Could there have been a more desirable piece of real estate than Revis Island, Georgia? Maybe not.
The Falcons were not greatly troubled by their bitter divisional foes from the Crescent City last season: That situation will not repeat itself in 2013, but - with the right additions to the roster, coupled with some inventive additions to the playbook - the Falcons could well be looking at another NFC Championship game. Even more exciting is that it may turn out to be a re-match with the 49ers. Will Ryan's 2013 team have what it takes, this time? I think so.