How they stack up
Their ability to move the Falcons’ offense downfield will be crucial for a team returning just seven starters. Only two of those come back on the defensive side, which might not be a bad thing considering Nation Ford’s stoppers allowed over 37 points per game, including 60-plus in a stretch of three games out of four. Allen said his team definitely had some personnel issues that it’s worked to overcome during the offseason, especially up front on the defensive line. Senior Ervin Lassiter was one player who moved over to the defensive side of the ball, and his length in the secondary should help the Falcons corral some of the taller receivers on their schedule.
“They kind of set the standard with their work ethic and how they played, so these guys who are coming back that played with those guys, understand the level of play that we expect. Our expectations are still there; they’re higher and we intend for them to continue to be higher and higher year-in and year-out.”