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The “Process” Better Payoff

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Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Rob Tringali/Getty Images

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The marketing of the National Football League is so great because the product is always entrenched in the mindset of those that watch.  The Super Bowl is a thrilling game, there is about a two-week lapse that causes one to miss it, then on to combine, free agency, and draft coverage.  This is a wonderful time of year because hope floats for all 32 teams due to the anticipation of players that may be obtained.  One can only compare it to a kid on Christmas Eve, thinking about the gifts that “Santa” may deliver in the morning.

For the Atlanta Falcons, the 2011-2012 Season was a tale of highs, lows, skepticism, and abruptness.  The coaching staff and front office set out of put the final pieces in line to make a championship run by obtaining wide receiver Julio Jones through the draft and defensive end Ray Edwards through free agency.  The moves were controversial, especially the move for Jones because of the draft picks given up.  It was regarded as a reactionary move due to such an ugly loss at the hands of the Green Bay Packers the season before.

It seems that the Falcons are once again reacting to a terrible season ending loss in the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants 24-2.  This is totally understandable, considering the Falcons have finally achieved milestones that the franchise has never witnessed before, but the owner, front office, and fan base wants to soar to greater heights.  This is a sure sign that complacency is the enemy for the “Dirty Birds” but the moves this off-season have to be carefully calculated for continued success.  Due to the draft picks given up for Julio Jones last season, the Falcon Front Office and Thomas Dimitroff will have to be crafty in their approach to address needs and depth.

The Falcons currently have $30.6 million in cap space and with the team needing help at offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, and in the secondary the front office must be wise in their approach.  They must first choose which free agents are critical to the team that are worth keeping, which is even a greater task now that the Falcons have new coordinators.  Free agents Brent Grimes, John Abraham, Curtis Lofton, and Harry Douglas are at the top of the Falcon Free Agent list.  There are some prize free agents on the open market that are tempting for the Falcons, like a Mario Williams of the Houston Texans and Carl Nicks of the New Orleans Saints.  I foresee the Falcons leaving the splash in the water this season and work to obtain quality low to mid range free veteran free agents along with drafting the best players available excluding the quarterback and wide receiver positions.  The way of successful teams over the past few years has not been to abandon their plans, it has been to take the blueprint to the next level.  The Falcons’ Time is now but only with careful planning and great execution on and off the field.

Jamie Walker can be reached at jamie.walker@cbsradio.com and you can follow him on Twitter @coachjdub21.

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