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3 Burning Questions: Atlanta Falcons

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It’s that time of year again. It’s time for the three burning questions series. Last season this series was divided up into the eight NFL divisions. This season each team will be spotlighted individually. Here are three burning questions for the Atlanta Falcons.

What version of Matt Ryan will this season bring?

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is coming off of a season where he looked like a shell of his 2016 MVP-winning form, so much so that rumblings were beginning as to whether his time under center in Atlanta was coming to an end.

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The latter half of the season fans began to once again see the quarterback they’ve grown accustomed to seeing. With the added pressure of the increasing number of doubters, Ryan will have to be similar to the younger version of himself. If anyone can make that type of adjustment, a 35-year-old entering his 13th NFL season is a prime candidate. In a division that now is home to another future Hall of Fame quarterback in Tom Brady to go along with Drew Brees, anything less than great play from Ryan will not bode well for the Falcons season.

What can Atlanta expect to get from Gurley?

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A salary cap casualty of the Los Angeles Rams, Todd Gurley was picked up by the Falcons almost immediately. Gurley, arguably the best back in the NFL just a few short seasons ago, has had prolonged knee issues. He is going to have a huge chip on his shoulder to prove he can still be a productive back in the NFL.

While it’s unlikely he’ll ever be the dominating back he was just a pair of seasons ago, he could be very successful in Atlanta. His pass-catching ability out of the backfield will provide his quarterback with a viable check-down option, and it will open up the playbook as well if Gurley can stay on the field.

Is Julio Jones still a tier-one wide receiver?

Without a doubt the best player on Atlanta’s roster is and has been Julio Jones. Sooner or later, as in all great players, he will eventually take a step or two back. But Jones has proved even when playing through an injury he’s still better than most team’s top receivers. In order for the Falcons to return to above-.500 fashion, he needs to keep up his otherworldly production for 2020. 

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