The Atlanta Falcons have dealt with a ridiculous amount of injuries on the offensive side of the football (they’ve also dealt with some tough ones on defense, too), particularly at the wide receiver position. Julio Jones suffered a season-ending injury early in the year and Roddy White has missed a large chunk of the season, so it’s been a big chance for Harry Douglas to shine. He’s familiar with receiving a boost in playing time thanks to injuries, but he’s simply played at a different level with the added reps this season. That gives the Falcons plenty of optimism for what he can achieve in the future, and he’s always had the talent and promise. In fact, he could even become a top-flight wideout in his own right, and I think the way Matt Ryan describes Douglas is fitting.
According to ESPN NFL Nation’s Vaughn McClure, Ryan called Douglas one of the team’s “silver linings” this season. It’s been an extremely rough year for the Falcons (they had another rough game on Sunday), but at least they can hang their hat on a guy like Douglas, who has been a terrific “next man up”. He’s definitely no Julio Jones, but he has averaged a whopping 75.4 yards per game this season. That’s definitely a very impressive total, and there have been five occasions in which Douglas has surpassed that number in one game.
Douglas was a silver lining in the Falcons crushing defeat to the Buccaneers on Sunday, as Douglas turned six receptions into a flavorful 134 yards and a touchdown. His play this year gives the Falcons more hope for the future, especially if they can revamp their offensive line and make massive upgrades across the board on the defensive side of the ball. It’s a lot of work, but the Falcons don’t have to accomplish everything. I mean, they did make it to the NFC Championship last season, so a little bit of health does go a long way. And, to be honest, the Falcons have never been a particularly deep team anyway.
But as Harry Douglas has shown this season, one position where the Falcons do have plenty of depth at is at receiver. So while the Falcons haven’t given their franchise QB the best line to operate behind of, they have certainly given him superb receivers. Jones and White are bona fide stars (Jones moreso than White), but Douglas just might be a star in his own right. I’m not sure if that’s hyperbolic, but the numbers show that he’s more than just a No. 3 option. If Tony Gonzalez somehow stick around for one more year, then the Falcons will be beyond wealthy with weapons for Ryan.