When Mike Smith started the 2013 season, his first game was a last second loss to New Orleans. The rest of the season was downhill.
Injuries and a defense that needed help from the start, plus three tackles who went down with injuries did not help.
The Falcons resembled a MASH unit more than a football team. While Smith and his coaches could not right the ship. And things now need to be fixed.
There is plenty of depth in free agency with good talent to come in and help this team succeed.
The Falcons will heal all their wounds, but can the team get over losing Tony Gonzalez, correct a sad pass rush and rejuvenate a running game.
Here are five players this team must take a shot at to help this team get back to the playoffs.
This was a serious problem last season. Monroe started the season in Jacksonville, was traded to Baltimore and could not help the running game. Look for him to open holes for another team this season, possibly in Atlanta.
He is not going to be in New York this season and will be a wanted player. Nicks is a tall, lanky receiver, and a huge end zone threat. With Roddy White a year older, the idea of Nicks, White and Julio Jones would shake the NFC South up quite a bit.
The defensive line needs a dominant pass rusher to strike fear in the offensive line and the opposing backfield. John Abraham used to do that for the Falcons. Can Allen be that player? Since he has been in the league (Kansas City and then Minnesota) few have been as aggressive as Allen. It would be a bold move considering he is aging, but he still has loads of talent.
He will most likely remain in Pittsburgh, but this defensive tackle will get some attention on the open market. Hood is a player who could provide depth or start for this team. Atlanta needs more than just a pass rusher to help their defense.
Another player who will test the free agent waters two seasons in a row. Actually, he was told he could seek his own trade last season, but he returned to the Chiefs and was successful in helping the team go from 2-14 to 11-5 and a playoff team. Albert can play all over the offensive line.