OTAs began earlier this week, so let’s look at some storylines that came to the forefront during the Falcons’ first fully organized gathering this offseason.
Help Me Obi Wan, You’re My Only Hope
What do you do to try and get better after leading the league in sacks in 2016? Go and spend some time with another of the game’s best pass rushers. You can never stop developing your game and Vic Beasley is keeping good company this offseason in hanging out with the Denver Broncos’ Von Miller. Pretty cool seeing a couple of the premier pass rushers spending time together in the offseason honing their craft.
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Re-sign, I will
Staying on the Star Wars‘ Jedi theme, Beasley’s personal Yoda from 2016, Dwight Freeney, is hinting towards a return to the Falcons in 2017. Not a guarantee of course, but more often than not, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Freeney was a great mentor for Beasley, and maybe Freeney himself is eyeing the opportunity to continue working with Beasley while also taking another young apprentice under his wing in Takk McKinley. Another defensive end learning the patented Dwight Freeney spin move? Quarterbacks better get their head on a swivel looking every which way for Falcon defenders flying off the edge.
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
To see my family struggle everyday growing up and now I can help change that..YES I’M HAPPY😊! Don’t worry I’ll be this happy getting sacks 🤗 pic.twitter.com/LckhYSEkQ8
— Takkarist McKinley (@Takk) June 1, 2017
Takk McKinley celebrated becoming a millionaire overnight by posting a fun “dance” video on social media. Takk has been a joy to watch and listen to without having yet even taken the field for the Falcons. Don’t worry Falcons fans he promised to dance just as much following sacks on opposing quarterbacks. Takk has every reason to celebrate as he’s overcome so much in his life to have reached the grandest stage of them all.
Another Pay Day
Post-June 1st cuts will give the Falcons more flexibility in spending possibilities, as running back Devonta Freeman has remained patient while awaiting a new deal. Falcons’ general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn have spoken highly in regards to Freeman, and they plan to keep him around for a long time going forward. I’d anticipate a new deal being in place by the start of training camp, if not before. Can Freeman three-peat his 1,000+ yearly rushing yards as well as consecutive pro bowl appearances in 2017?
And you say he’s just friend
Keanu Neal is also keeping some select company. Neal has been working out with Seattle Seahawks’ battering ram Kam Chancellor this offseason. I sense a theme here. Surround yourself with some premier defensive counterparts and soak up as much knowledge as you can from them. Chancellor is quoted in saying how he saw right away how special a player Neal was on arriving to the NFL. I expect to see Neal take his play to even a higher level in year two.
Build It, They Will Come
All signs point to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium being ready to go for the start of the 2017 season. Construction was delayed somewhat due to the complexity of the roof design, but it’s full steam ahead currently. The 360 degree halo board install has begun, and the giant Falcon statue outside the stadium is in place. Seeing the Falcons new home be built from scratch has been fun to watch. Game days will be a whole new kind of fun in their state of the art home field.
The 2017 season is inching closer and closer. Only 90 some days left until the first regular season game of 2017, but who’s counting? Falcon fans, that’s who!