Falcons still hurting after coming up shy of title - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Falcons still hurting after coming up shy of title

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FLOWERY BRANCH, GA (AP) -

The Atlanta Falcons came up 10 yards short of the Super Bowl.

Now, they head into an offseason filled with difficult questions.

Coach Mike Smith isn't ready to address those issues just yet, saying Monday that the pain from a 28-24 loss to San Francisco in the NFC championship game is still too fresh in everyone's mind.

But it's clear the Falcons will have several holes to fill on the defensive side, especially when it comes to getting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. John Abraham has been the only effective pass rusher, and he's 34 and prone to injuries. Offensively, Atlanta will likely have to deal with the planned retirement of Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez.

Smith says he's still clinging to the 5 percent chance that Gonzalez returns.

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