The offense ranked eighth in 2017 -- and that could be considered a disappointment, given the level of talent on this unit. I think that relative underperformance can partly be blamed on the need to adjust to new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. But Sarkisian is a very good coach who is basically doing the same things his predecessor, current
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, was doing, with rhythm being the main difference -- I figure everyone will be on the same page this season. The guards also struggled in 2017, so the
Falcons went out and got
Brandon Fusco, a veteran who can play anywhere on the line. Rookie receiver
Calvin Ridley should make the passing game even better. The key for the ninth-ranked defense will be the continued improvement of youngsters
Deion Jones and Takk McKinley.
Vic Beasley will
move back to being a 4-3 edge rusher, which is the position he was in when he racked up 15.5 sacks in 2016. After a down year, quarterback
Matt Ryan will revert to the mean -- which, for him, means returning to MVP-status. And then there's receiver
Julio Jones, who will go down as one of the top 10 receivers of all time.