Right now, I don't think the Falcons are capable of winning a Super Bowl. They have too many issues on defense. Not that the defense is bad (they are just underachieving at the moment). If they were healthier, particularly in the secondary, I think you would see much improvement out of this unit. But I believe the team is missing both Kevin Mathis and Chris Cash much more than probably most people think a team should miss a nickle corner. I think if we can get both players back, add a young capable corner in the draf to be the #5 guy next year (so we don't ever have to play Rossum on defense again), get Hartwell and Beck back, add another pass rusher on the edge to help that rotation, and bolster the middle with another widebody, and hopefully add a run-stuffing safety, we will see vast improvement in our defense. Now, that' s a lot of things to do in one off-season, so it might not all get down within a year, but by 2007 I suspect it will be done.
We are always going to eb a running team, with this offensive line, QB, and tehse RBs. Only if we got a Chad Johnson/T.O.-caliber receiver, lost Dunn, the defense played like it did vs. NE for 16 games instead of 2 or 3, and Vick made huge leaps as a pocket passer would be the only things that would make us into a passing team anytime soon.
I think offensively, in order to get the offense going we need a reliable veteran receiver that is capable of making big plays. But that's only going to happen if:
1. We get really lucky in the draft and a great player falls (the "Chad Johnson" option)
2. We give up a 1st round pick or more for an already established veteran, or pay an arm and a leg for a receiver in FA (the "Peerless Price" option)
3. Jenkins and/or Roddy make huge strides in the next year or two (the "Santana Moss" option)
All are just as unlikely as the next IMO.
Well, the stats I posted before indicated that 91% of the time (since 1994), the team that was the most balanced on offense won to the Super Bowl. It didn't mean that the team with the most balanced offense went to the Super Bowl, but once they got there, it helped to be the more balanced of the two.
Right now, there are a number of teams that are lessed balanced than the Falcons, and 4 of them are in the AFC. So saying that if the Falcons went on to the Super Bowl, they'd have a 90% chance of beating them (at this point in the season):
Falcons - run the ball 58% of the time
Steelers - run the ball 61.6% of the time
Patriots - pass the ball 61.7% of the time
Titans - pass the bal 59.1% of the time
Browns - pass the ball 59.7% of the time
I'm just going to say that the Falcons aren't ready for the Super Bowl this year. But I think we are capable of getting there within a year or two. I think our window of opportunity really is in the next 2-3 years. A pretty small window. Saying that if we don't get there by the end of 2008, it's doubtful we'll ever get there, without overhauling the team and starting over.
But a more balanced offense are probably necessary for us to get there, and that means we need to start throwing the football better.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.