The Falcons have several key players returning to the lineup after major injuries in the 2018 season, but hopes for improvement don’t hinge entirely on getting back to health.
There’s also the hope of improvement for some of the team’s younger players. 2017 first-round pick Takk McKinley is in that group and has spent the offseason working off the edge as both a defensive end and a linebacker in the Atlanta defense.
He’s slimmed down to go through that work and his efforts impressed head coach Dan Quinn over the course of the offseason program.
“I think he’s lighter, his speed and versatility seem ramped up,” Quinn said, via the team’s website. “For him to go through his first offseason, as you know he missed with his left shoulder, his second year with his right shoulder. To see him lighter, faster and more explosive, that to me was someone who jumped out.”
Quinn is running the defense this season and a breakout year for McKinley would go a long way toward making that a winning decision for Atlanta.