On Monday, Falcons players and coaches returned to the team facility in Flowery Branch to put a final stamp on the disappointments of the 2013 season. They cleaned out lockers and packed away equipment they used this season during the 4-12 campaign. but it was clear they weren’t pleased with how things ended, especially after trips to the playoffs in three straight seasons prior to this year.
While the physical leftovers from this season can be discarded, the Falcons players will be left to come to terms with the mental leftovers of this season for a while. Most players will be looking to use the experiences of this season to improve their play going forward.
“I think I did some good things,” rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant said of his assessment of the season. “I made some big plays, but I definitely should have had more big plays if I would just catch the ball sometimes. Next year, I plan on capitalizing on those opportunities when it presents itself. That’s going to be my biggest thing. When I have an opportunity to make a big play, I’m going to try to make it every time. That’s what I’m going to work on in the offseason.”
While the rookies experienced losing in their first season in the NFL, many of the veterans of the Falcons have only known winning in the last six years, making this season especially difficult. They’ve been provided with a glimpse into what can go wrong in an NFL season, but they also know how to fix it.
“Everybody needs to learn more and get in their books,” safety William Moore said. “We had a lot of explosive plays that killed us this year at the wrong time. We can’t have that. You can’t have that as a great defense and a team. If the special teams are struggling and the offense is struggling, everybody has to hold somebody up. Everybody can’t be struggling. We broke down at the wrong time this season and that can’t happen.”
“Disappointed” was the word of the day as players spoke with the media. They knew what they were capable of, they said. They know they’re better than 4-12 and they want to come back with a vengeance and remind everyone that it wasn’t too long ago that the Falcons were one of the best teams in the NFL.
“This offseason we’re going to get back to the team we used to be,” Trufant said. “That’s going to be our whole focus. We know we’ve got a good team. We know we’ve got the athletes, the coaches and the schemes, everything’s in place. We’ve just got to do it. That’s what we’re going to be working on this offseason.”