Originally written on Down and Distance  |  Last updated 11/16/14
Can Mike Smith lead the Falcons to the Super Bowl in his sixth season with the team? (Associated Press) While much of the attention so far this offseason has been directed to the NFC West, the Atlanta Falcons have been retooling their roster to make another run at the Super Bowl in the 2013 season. Longtime New York Giant Osi Unemyiora and former Rams running back Steven Jackson should be upgrades over departed veterans Michael Turner and John Abraham, and tight end Tony Gonzalez returned for a 17th season in pursuit of that elusive Super Bowl title. Coming as close as they did to a Super Bowl berth, it could be easy for the Atlanta Falcons to dwell on what could have happened in 2012. Still, any team that truly wanted to be successful would find a way to look past the adversity of last season. That is exactly the goal for Falcons head coach Mike Smith. Smith has to keep his team looking forward to a new year and a new opportunity to represent the NFC on one of the biggest stages in sports. The Falcons aren’t going to do that by reflecting upon how close they were to upsetting the San Francisco 49ers in January, according to Chris Wesseling of Around the League. “After I came out of a week and a half of not sleeping and not watching the Super Bowl, I heard a lot of people talking about, ‘We were 10 yards away,’” Smith told fans at the Falcons’ annual State of the Franchise event. “Listen folks, that was 2012. Our only focus right now is on 2013. We’re not 10 yards from the Super Bowl. “We’re like every other team in this league fighting to get to the same place. We’re 261 days from going to New York and getting a chance to go play in that. So we’re done talking about that 10 yards. We’re moving on and looking forward, folks.” The Atlanta Falcons sure have a long road to travel if they want to make it to the Super Bowl right now. The team lost many good players from last year’s team. Standout offensive linemen Todd McClure (center) and Tyson Clabo (right tackle) will be replaced by second-year players Peter Konz and Lamar Holmes, respectively. McClure retired after spending his entire career with the Falcons, and Clabo was cut by the team and signed with the Miami Dolphins. At cornerback, the team also lost two great veterans. Brent Grimes, who was arguably the team’s best corner when healthy, left for the Dolphins in free agency, while Dunta Robinson was released and signed on with Kansas City. The Falcons spent their first two draft picks on cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, who are both promising prospects in their own right. Whether they can replace the veteran presence in the secondary will be interesting to watch. What may be most troubling for the Falcons is the fact that they couldn’t hold up in the second half in the playoffs. After taking a 20-0 lead into the half against Seattle, the Falcons nearly blew the game before a last second field goal by Matt Bryant saved their playoff lives. They were not so lucky against the 49ers, as a 24-14 halftime lead for the Falcons turned into a 28-24 loss that could not be salvaged by the Falcons’ drive that ended up 10 yards short. While the Atlanta Falcons will have to rely heavily on Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Roddy White again in 2013, the defense will have to take significant strides to take the team to the Super Bowl this season. Follow us on Twitter - @DownandDistance Down and Distance Columnist Joe Ray - @jpray_SK The post Smith: Atlanta Falcons no longer “10 yards from the Super Bowl” appeared first on DOWN & DISTANCE - Presented by Sports-Kings.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Did Marshawn Lynch grab his crotch after touchdown run?

Sherman has torn ligaments, Thomas dislocated shoulder

Goodell turns gown interview with NBC before Super Bowl

Insider information suspected on National Anthem betting

Giants co-owner Ann Mara dies at age 85

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Pats-Seahawks tickets most expensive in S.B. history

Report: Seahawks offer Lynch a huge contract

Super Bowl matchup of low round QBs a rarity

Reporter who broke Deflategate story receiving death threats

Sherman not expecting baby on Super Bowl Sunday

Report: Peyton Manning likely to announce return shortly

Fashion police: Katy Perry's Super Bowl Halftime Show

Overtime rules: what happens if Patriots, Seahawks are tied

Seahawks get away with roughing the kicker on punt?

Marshawn Lynch rocks gold cleats during pregame

Earl Thomas did not like ‘Legion of Boom’ nickname at first

WATCH: Kevin Love booed by fans in return to Minnesota

WATCH: Gregg Popovich gets nailed in head with a shot

Tom Brady sounds fired up for Super Bowl

Deion Sanders’ charter school shut down

The six most popular players in Super Bowl XLIX

Tony Dungy voted for Bobby Wagner for NFL MVP

Patriots' footballs were 'just a few ticks' under limit?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Fashion police: Katy Perry's Super Bowl Halftime Show

Seahawks make Lynch a huge offer?

Super Bowl matchup of low-round QBs a rarity

Kevin Love booed in Minnesota return

Deion’s charter school shut down

Dungy cast the Wagner MVP vote

Report: Jets, Bills to pursue Revis

Did the Falcons pipe in crowd noise?

2015 Hall of Fame class announced

Aaron Rodgers wins NFL MVP

Tim Duncan suing financial adviser?

Five likely cap casualties of 2015

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.