There seems to be a general consensus that the Hawks have gotten worse, not better, this offseason although perhaps it's really fair to judge the roster yet because there are still moves to be made and there's always a chance they trade for Russell Westbrook. (Kidding.) At the very least, coach Mike Budenholzer is taking a significant risk with his decisions.
In a blog a couple of months ago , I asked readers which of the three pro sports franchises they had the most confidence in moving forward. Of six options, the most popular responses were Falcons-Hawks-Braves (28.28 percent) and Hawks-Falcons-Braves (22.9 percent). Later today on MyAJC.com , I'll have a full column on the keys for each franchise for their long-range plans to work out.
For now, here's what we're looking at:
• FALCONS: They are at a bit of a crossroads (again) after a season that saw them start 6-1 but finish 8-8. Quarterback Matt Ryan is working to fix some of the issues that arose in the first year of Kyle Shanahan's offense. On offense, the team effectively swapped out wide receiver Roddy White for Mohamed Sanu, added center Alex Mack and drafted tight end Austin Hooper. On defense, the highest profile changes were the drafting of safety Keanu Neal and outside linebacker Deion Jones, and the signing of free agent defensive end Derrick Shelby. The pass rush needs to improve.
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