It's June 1, so football is getting close!

It's almost time to see what Matt Ryan will look like for the first time with a new coach.

It’s June 1. We are officially in the summer. And we are officially getting closer to football season!

The football magazines are now on the shelves. We will start hearing more football talk each and every day as we get closer to September.

We will hear stories about OTAs and workouts and the discussions will start about games and matchups and position battles. We will worry how football players can get ready in the awful heat and then just be glad they are getting out there.

For the Falcons, there is a lot to look forward to. There is a new coach in place, Dan Quinn. Anytime a team has a new head coach, you wonder how the team will look compared to last year’s team. It’s been seven years since the Falcons have had someone new roaming the sidelines, the longest gap in between coaches. So this will be different.

There are a lot of new players, perhaps as much as half of the roster will be different. Does that mean it will be better or simply new? Will we see an immediate impact, an immediate difference, or will it take time?

There is no “Hard Knocks” this year, and you don’t know how transparent the new coaching staff will be, so how much will we know until the season starts? Will it simply keep us in suspense until the first game of the season?

The defense has to improve, as does the running game. Players have been brought in that should make a difference.

The NFC South doesn’t look very intimidating on paper, but will we see the teams emerge and look more formidable, or will this be the weakest division in the NFL? Might that help a retooling team like the Falcons have more of a chance at a division title? Or will it be like last year when we wonder if a mediocre team will have a chance to squeak into postseason contention anyway.

Matt Ryan is now a veteran quarterback. This will be his eighth NFL season, and the longer a veteran quarterback goes, the more speculation will be in place about his chances to one day be a champion. But with so much change, should it be realistic to expect that this season?

There will be so many questions, so many issues. But hey, it’s June 1, and we are now getting closer to finding out the answers.

It can’t get here soon enough!


Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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