We hear the Falcons will be pursuing speed and explosiveness on both offense and defense this offseason.
GM Thomas Dimitroff has had a few weeks to digest Atlanta's crushing playoff loss to the Packers in the divisional round, and PFW spoke with him earlier this week at the Super Bowl media center.
"We need to be very mindful of continuing to produce on offense and part of production on offense is making sure that we have big-play explosive players at so many levels," Dimitroff said. "We're going to be very mindful of that going forward as we are going to be very mindful of big-time explosive playmakers on defense because we know in this league it's about personnel matchups, and we need to be able to run and we need to be able to make plays on both sides of the ball."
Two of the team's draft picks in the last few years that were expected to help in the big-play department — WR Harry Douglas and DE Lawrence Sidbury — did not contribute as much as the team had hoped they would heading into last season. Douglas was coming off a torn ACL that he suffered in training camp before the 2009 season. After sitting out of all of '09, he made just 22 catches and scored only one touchdown.
"Harry unfortunately was coming off of an injury this year, but three-quarters of the way through the season he had his mojo back and he can still get the ball and run," Dimitroff said. "We didn't produce as much with him as we probably should have and we'll continue to look at doing that because Harry's very important for our development."
Sidbury was a healthy scratch from 10 games last season after playing in all 16 as a rookie, and he wasn't credited with making any tackles in '10.
"As far as Lawrence Sidbury, we want to continue to develop him," Dimitroff said. "He has some very natural raw rush skills that we really want to tap into going into the future. This will be a big year for him."
It will also be a significant year for Douglas, who is due to become a free agent after next season.
"(Douglas and Sidbury) are still very much in our plans and we expect bigger and better things out of them," Dimitroff said.