Falcons capsule


New faces: WR/KR Devin Hester, OGs Jon Asamoah and Gabe Carimi, DT Paul Soliai, CB Javier Arenas, rookie OT Jake Matthews, DE Tyson Jackson, rookie RB Devonta Freeman, rookie LB Prince Shembo, QB T.J. Yates, S Dwight Lowery; OL coach Mike Tice and DL coach Bryan Cox.

Key losses: ; RB Jason Snelling, S Thomas DeCoud, OL Garrett Reynolds, FB Bradie Ewing, QB Dominique Davis, TE Tony Gonzalez, OT Sam Baker, LB Marquis Spruill, CB Asante Samuel, LBs Sean Weatherspoon, Akeem Dent and Stephen Nicholas.

Strengths: QB, WR, DT, CB.

Weaknesses: RT, RB, LB, C, TE.

What's New: Falcons expected to use 3-4 base defensive scheme, though they'll have different looks in attempt to be less predictable. With Gonzalez gone, Ryan should target more receivers in slot, including White and Douglas.

Expectations: Falcons believe injuries were cause of last year's collapse after five straight winning seasons. New injuries to Weatherspoon, Baker, Spruill and RB Steven Jackson have put damper on preseason. Assuming Jackson bounces back from right hamstring injury and rebuilt offensive line finds some cohesion, Ryan could put up big numbers. WR Julio Jones has looked explosive in limited exposure following return from broken foot. Still, anything better than .500 finish may be asking too much.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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