FLOWERY BRANCH — Here’s a look at five Falcons who exceeded expectations in 2015 as the team went 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season:
1. Julio Jones, wide receiver: Jones turned in a historically fabulous season. He had 136 catches for 1,871 yards and eight touchdowns. The yards receiving were the second most ever in a single-season. The Falcons must figure out how to used Jones in the red zone and get him more than eight touchdowns.
2. Jacob Tamme, tight end: He’d caught just 34 passes over his two previous seasons in Denver. He busted loose for 59 catches for the Falcons. He made a spectacular one-handed grab in the season finale against the Saints. It was the most passes caught by Tamme since he had 67 catches with the Colts in 2010.
3. Devonta Freeman, running back: When Tevin Coleman went down in the second game of the season, Freeman, the fourth-round pick in 2014, took over for the third-round pick in 2015. He was viewed as just a third-down or pass-catching back. Freeman showed that he can carry the rushing load and was selected to the Pro Bowl. He finished with 1,061 yards rushing and caught 73 passes for 578 yards. He finished tied for the league lead with 11 rushing touchdowns.
4. Ricardo Allen, free safety: He started 13 of 15 games that he played in and had three interceptions after making the conversion from cornerback. He should only get more comfortable in his new position.
5. Pat DiMarco, fullback: He thrived as a lead blocker for Freeman and Coleman. He also caught a couple of touchdown passes and was named an alternate to the Pro Bowl.
FALCONS END OF SEASON STORIES
COVER 9@9: How much will Falcons save if they cut Roddy White?