For the Falcons, special teams has been a "phase" (ala the oft-used Mike Smith "all three phases" catchphrase) of the game plagued by inconsistency over the past few years. In fact, it got so bad at one point that the brass had to bring in the ageless wonder Morten Andersen. However, if anything it looks to be an area of strenght in 2011.
Matt Bryant: In 2010, Bryant was anything but inconsistent, nailing 28 of 31 field goal attempts, including game-winners against the 49ers, Packers, and most importantly the Saints. He had a fantastic year, and probably should have made the Pro Bowl. Bryant's family now lives in Atlanta, and he's made it known that he wants to stay with the Falcons.
What's more, the Falcons want him back. He's 36 years old, definitely good for at least a couple more years in the NFL, and is coming off of a great season. He shouldn't be too expensive, and it's pretty hard to find consistent kickers via free agency. I'd definitely say keeping him around is a sound move.
Michael Koenen: On the other hand, now we look at a guy that underperformed last season. Koenen only averaged 40.7 yards per punt last season, 33rd in the league. While he was great at pinning other teams inside the 20 (29 versus only five touchbacks), that's only half of the job. There were more than a few times the Falcons needed a big, hanging punt, but what they got was a weak kick and the other team starting at midfield.
That said, I think the Falcons definitely recognized this, and addressed that need by taking Matt Bosher in the sixth round of the draft. While he has experience both as a placekicker and a punter, Bosher will most likely end up at punter, and I expect Koenen to walk when free agency hits.
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