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  • Writer's picturekevinlaffey

The Falcons Need a Bill, and Belichick Needs a Home

Belichick could get a fresh restart, and the fun part? 

The Atlanta Falcons aren’t that far away from, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, contending again. 


I know what the voice in your head is screaming as you read silently; “The NFC has the 49ers, Cowboys, and Eagles!”


Or maybe something like, “But it’s the Falcons, the NFC South is the worst division in football! 28-3!”


And I mean, sure, you can have all of that.

But the Falcons just put together a rather respectable season for a very young roster in lockstep, and yet, a not-so-demanding of respect limbo remains at quarterback.


Atlanta has been searching for the heir apparent to Matt Ryan since they traded the legend to the Indianapolis Colts for a 3rd-round pick in 2022. That pick turned into defensive end DeAngelo Malone, who has 35 career tackles and has yet to start a game in two healthy seasons.

That’s FOURTEEN years of high level security at the quarterback position.

And, although there have been situations in recent memory where teams have been able to find their “Guy” rather quickly (Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, CJ Stroud, Jordan Love, etc.), it’s also incredibly difficult to fit each carefully crafted jigsaw piece into the puzzle that is an NFL team (Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, Daniel Jones, Zach Wilson).

Some teams have the nest built awaiting their falcon to swoop in and rest; some teams have a falcon already home and no nest to keep it secure. 


That’s where Arthur Blank and Terry Fontenot have been doing it right.


Since Matt Ryan’s departure before the 2022 season, the Falcons have infamously gone 7-10 back to back (to back, if you count Ryan’s last year). The front office has slowly but surely pieced together one of my favorite rosters in the league, simply missing the paramount position.


Let’s take a quick look at the last three years to see the little nest they’ve built for their QB to settle safely into whenever the time is right:



   Drafted: AJ Terrell (DB), Kaleb McGary (T), Chris Lindstrom (G)

AJ Terrell has become a premier cover corner on the outside. McGary and Lindstrom have been nothing short of anchors for an Atlanta team that has run the ball as much as anyone in the league during Arthur Smith’s tenure.



Drafted: Kyle Pitts (TE), Tyler Allgeier (RB), Drake London (WR), Desmond Ridder (QB), Bijan Robinson (RB), Drew Dalman (OL), Matthew Bergeron (G)

Notably Signed/Traded for:

   Jessie Bates (S), Taylor Heinicke (QB), Casey Hayward (DB)

This is the magic slate in my opinion, as you’d be hard-pressed to find a team as young and dynamically talented as the Atlanta Falcons offense has become. The combination of Bijan and Allgeier in the backfield has provided an incredibly steady base to the offense, behind a great offensive line built in-house. But much like Disney shows, it became very predictable, hindering London and Pitts ability to be what they are: mutants.

If you were able to read my article on Michael Penix Jr. (here), you’ve had a window into how I feel about this Falcons team already.


So what now?


Blank and Fontenot have done work to put in place cornerstones to the current roster. They’ve added the talent at all the right positions to create a dynamic young team, and they’ve spent assets on spots that were glaring, like giving Jessie Bates III a year, $64 million deal to shore up the backend of the secondary, as well as keeping the offensive line intact with McGary and Jake Matthews.


I know you’re waiting for it… and Arthur Smith is G-O-N-E.

The man who made sure Bijan Robinson touched the ball less inside the five-yard line than James Cook and De’Von Achane (who didn’t play in 6 games), and seemingly refused to spotlight Kyle Pitts whatsoever is now gone, like when Jon Snow returned home and the Starks finally took back Winterfell from House Bolton.


Who are the Starks in this scenario? It's not Vrabel, it's not Harbaugh, it's not who?

Well, none other than House Belichick, of course. Headed by William, and potentially his sons in tow.


The old king potentially descending from Boston has a track record that speaks for itself: entering New England as the Head Coach and de facto GM at the century’s turn (5-11), and from there finding his dynastic protégé in one Tom Brady in 2001 (11-5). The duo would rule over the league as cold-weather overlords for the better part of two decades, collecting relics of Super Bowl rings, Coach of the Years, and full control over what may now be the most storied franchise in history.


So he has experience taking his lumps for the first year with a young, budding roster, and has experience finding a quarterback capable of shouldering a franchise weight on his shoulders…it appears almost too good to be true, right?


There are a few reasons why I’ve been shouting Belichick to Atlanta for a week and a half now:


1. He doesn’t have the burden of being the GM in Atlanta.

Like I stated before, Blank and Fontenot have the front office rolling as of late, and while Bill would surely provide too much wisdom to not have a say in moves and the direction the franchise is going, the decision-making is off of his plate, and he can sharpen his focus around this crop of young talent.


2. New scenery = New hunger

To a similar extent from a legendary player, we saw this with Aaron Rodgers; going from full on uncertainty to the point of submitting to a darkness retreat to make a decision on his playing future, ultimately emerging with New York destined to home a career resurgence. Belichick had been in Foxborough under Robert Kraft’s tutelage for over two decades, and while their relationship was strong, Arthur Blank is an owner for the people, and I believe Belichick would swiftly find a new fire under him stoked by the embers of budding stars like Kyle Pitts, Bijan Robinson, and Drake London.


3. NFC South is wide open

We can say all we want about the AFC East during Bill’s tenure there, but one thing is for sure; Belichick saw a vacuum that needed to be filled as the AFCE division played hot potato with the division pennant for the entirety of the 1990’s, winning the division 17 out of 19 years from 2001 to 2019. The NFC South?


While the division is peppered with some really great young players like Antoine Winfield Jr., Rachaad White, Chris Olave, and Bijan Robinson to name a few, their past two champions have won a combined 17 wins over the last two seasons.

I was at my peak childhood fandom when Belichick and his mean Patriots team won 18 games in one season.


I’m not saying that Belichick to A-town is a guaranteed home run, hell, it’s not even guaranteed as of this being written on this fine morning. 

What I am saying is that a blank check to Belichick gives the greatest coach in the history of America’s favorite game a second chance at life after his castle withered and crumbled away under the pressures of post-dynasty life.

And what I am saying is if the Atlanta Falcons are the foundation of wood in a fireplace, and the players they’ve brought in are the embers that glow hot beneath a forest of twigs laying atop, then Bill Belichick may very well be the spark that lights the newest fire that sets the world ablaze.


Belichick should be given the Blank slate.

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