Biggest Question Mark: Michael Turner
Burner Turner is a superstar, but only when healthy. He had just one rushing attempt after Week 12 last season (a seven-yard run against the Jets). Even early in the season Turner appeared to be playing below his typical dominant level. Jason Snelling and Jerious Norwood are capable backups, but the Falcons would obviously much rather have their star running back at full strength.
Position Battle to Watch: Defensive End
Jamaal Anderson is barely fighting off the bust label as he enters his fourth season in the league. In an effort to maximize his contributions he’s bulked up and is expected to play a Justin Tuck-like role, rotating between tackle and end. That leaves a hole opposite John Abraham at defensive end when Anderson isn’t lined up in that position. The candidates – Kroy Biermann, Chauncey David and Lawrence Sidbury – aren’t exactly exciting, but they’ll need someone to step up as a pass rusher.
Impact Rookie: Sean Weatherspoon
Weatherspoon is likely the only rookie who will see significant playing time in Atlanta. The starting strong-side linebacker position is his from day one, and the Falcons will be expecting immediate production. It shouldn’t be hard for him to out-perform former start Stephen Nicholas. The most noticeable upgrade will be in his coverage ability, where Nicholas was clearly lacking.