The Falcons had to find a new offensive coordinator when Kyle Shanahan left to take over as San Francisco鈥檚 head coach. Atlanta decided to fill the void with Steve Sarkisian, who was briefly Alabama鈥檚 offensive coordinator when the Crimson Tide lost the national title game to Clemson.
Sarkisian was a stopgap measure when the Crimson Tide sent Lane Kiffin packing. Now Sarkisian is back in the NFL for the first time since serving as Oakland鈥檚 QB coach in 2004.
Last season, Newton followed up a 2015 MVP campaign with the worst statistical season (19 TDs, 14 INTs) of his career. He struggled behind an offensive line beset with injuries and played the final month of the season with a partially torn rotator cuff that required offseason surgery.
To help, Carolina signed free agent left tackle Matt Kalil and drafted right tackle Taylor Moton in the second round. They also added two versatile weapons on offense with their first two draft picks 鈥?running back Christian McCaffrey and wide receiver Curtis Samuel.
RISING EXPECTATIONS: The Bucs haven鈥檛 made the Miami Dolphins jersey 2017 playoffs since 2007 and haven鈥檛 won a postseason game since the team鈥檚 Super Bowl run 15 years ago. But with Jameis Winston entering his third season, pressure is mounting to change that.