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Originally posted on FanNation Falcon Report 
By Daniel Flick  |  Last updated 7/7/22

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

When the Atlanta Falcons hired head coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot following the 2020 season, there was seemingly no impact on the Chicago Bears. After all, neither had been a part of the organization, as Smith spent a decade with the Tennessee Titans, and Fontenot some 17 years with the New Orleans Saints.

The Bears soon became affected, as Smith started plucking assistant coaches for his own staff. By the time the offseason program began, the Falcons' coaching staff featured three former Bears - offensive coordinator Dave Ragone, quarterbacks coach Charles London, and outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino.

 

In large part due to Ragone's influence, the Falcons signed free agent running back Cordarrelle Patterson, who made two Pro Bowl's in Chicago as a return specialist. Patterson received 64 carries in 2020, enough for Ragone to see the upside and convince Fontenot to sign the 2013 first-round pick.

Patterson became the first player in franchise history to record over 500 yards both rushing and receiving and was rewarded with a two-year contract this offseason.

Now, fast forward a year later, and the team has added two more Bears to its staff in the form of running backs coach Michael Pitre and personnel executive Ryan Pace, Chicago's former general manager.

The flow of former Bears to Atlanta doesn't stop there. With the Falcons' signing of defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, the team has now added six former Chicago players to its roster this offseason.

 

Goldman is joined by running back Damien Williams, receiver Damiere Byrd, offensive tackle Elijah Wilkinson, offensive lineman Germain Ifedi and defensive back Teez Tabor. Chicago mustered just a 6-11 record last season, leading to the dismissal of head coach Matt Nagy.

Familiarity has been an integral part of the Falcons' offseason, as the team has signed six former Titans in addition to the influx of Bears. Further, Pace worked with Fontenot in New Orleans' front office prior to accepting the job in Chicago, and Atlanta's second-year general manager clearly values Pace's opinion. Falcons scout Phil Emery held the same position in Chicago before Pace.

The Falcons now must determine whether or not all of these former Bears will stay on the roster. Goldman, Williams and Ifedi seem safe, and Byrd has a very strong chance, but Wilkinson and Tabor still have work to do in training camp.

As things currently stand for these six, the Falcons' Week 11 matchup against the Bears in Atlanta will hold a little bit more weight. If history is any indicator, it's probable the Falcons will be facing some of their own future players in the matchup.

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1 hour ago, HASHBROWN3 said:

Patterson became the first player in franchise history to record over 500 yards both rushing and receiving and was rewarded with a two-year contract this offseason.

And easily cut after this year if things go south. Kuddos to FO if so.

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20 minutes ago, OrthoPTSD said:

And easily cut after this year if things go south. Kuddos to FO if so.

They become free agents if they sign elsewhere in FA, which count as losses in compensatory pick calculations.

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2 hours ago, Jesus said:

Dunno, that team won games.

It is kind of shocking to think that team won games in 2012.  Koetter was OC, Nolan was DC.  Yikes.  I would prefer these free agents.  They brought in actual NFL players, not undersized over achieving players. 

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7 hours ago, ryanadonis said:

It is kind of shocking to think that team won games in 2012.  Koetter was OC, Nolan was DC.  Yikes.  I would prefer these free agents.  They brought in actual NFL players, not undersized over achieving players. 

That team shoulda won it all.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, ryanadonis said:

It is kind of shocking to think that team won games in 2012.  Koetter was OC, Nolan was DC.  Yikes.  I would prefer these free agents.  They brought in actual NFL players, not undersized over achieving players. 

Shocking? It was a top 5 Falcons team of all time. The record was a bit inflated but that was a solid team, that was the best in the NFC (despite the loss to SF).

Edited by Swayzee
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6 minutes ago, GrimeyKidd said:

Idk why its even a discussion. TF and Arthur Smith has some former bears staff on the staff.  Literally their former GM. OC. OLB coach. QB Coach former RBs coach

Absolutely.  Familiarity is a good way to start a build.  Heck, half the guys they signed won't make the team.  

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We are fans.  We want to sign big name players on an ever expanding budget.  We want the JAGs we signed for depth to suddenly turn into pro-bowlers.  We want the rebuilding Falcons to rise to the top and win a Lombardi in 2022.

Reality sucks.  It is not fun.  We don't want that.  2022 will be a frustrating year viewing if from the perspective that we hope the Falcons surprise.  We do not want to wait for 2023.  Instant gratification is the only acceptable gratification. 

So what is the problem?  Perspective.  We need to settle in and understand that a winning season in 2022 would be the Falcons surprise.  What we should be looking for is a more comprehensive offense and defense.  We want to see some players step up and become long-term players.  The more players that do this, the more the Falcons can focus on winning elements during the 2023 draft instead of focusing on gaping holes..  We want to see Arthur Smith get comfortable in the HC position and show more creativity.  We want to see Mariota settle into the QB position without those hard runs and hard blocks.  We want to see our possession receivers get into a groove.  We want to see an effective RB rotation.  We want to see a few wins.

We want to see a solid foundation laid in 2022 for the 2023 Falcons.  Sorry folks.  This is where we are.  We can accept reality or we can make ourselves miserable creating unrealistic expectations.  I expect there will be plenty of complaints as this season unfolds.  The armchair GMs will be lined up explaining how they would have fixed the entire team in the 2022 off season. 

I am going to enjoy the 2022 season watching players develop and the team gel.  I will take delight in ever sign that we will have a solid but average team at the end of the season.  That is the level from where we can build a winner.  I am ready.

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