The Atlanta Falcons are looking to compete in the NFC South this year. They will have to do it without one of their key pieces. Their leading returner last season, Avery Williams, tore his ACL during a team practice and is likely done for the season.
Atlanta Falcons Avery Williams Tears ACL
Williams was a key piece for the Falcons last year. He racked up a total of 1,418 return yards and averaged a whopping 16.2 yards per punt return. He was a big part of giving the Falcons offense good field position. This made the run-heavy offense have to do less in order to put points on the board. While special teams are often forgotten by many teams, gaining an extra 10-20 yards on a return can be the difference in a game. The injury was non-contact and he is scheduled to have surgery this week.
Next Man Up
The Falcons will now have to find a new player to return punts and kicks. They have no shortage of playmakers on the team and now have the rest of the offseason to find the right player for the job. The Falcons are looking to keep their run-heavy offense alive with first-round draft pick Bijan Robinson coming into the fold. Desmond Ridder will take the reigns of the offense and can hopefully provide more upside than Marcus Mariota. The NFC South is wide open with the Bucs rebuilding and the Panthers likely starting a rookie quarterback. The Saints are always a wild card but the division is still there for the taking.
The Avery Williams injury is awful for the Atlanta Falcons but also for the league. Watching a dynamic returner is fun and we as fans are now robbed of that opportunity. Hopefully, he can fully recover and be back for the 2024 season.