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In 2022, the Atlanta Falcons finished 7-10 for the second year in a row and were in a three-way tie for the worst record in the NFC South, one of the weakest divisions of in the NFL. The team's newest defensive lineman Calais Campbell believes the 2023 season will be different in Atlanta.

The Falcons are not exactly a lock to succeed this year. They need to improve many areas of their game in order to look like a playoff team, or even a team capable of a winning record.

The six-time Pro Bowler signed a one-year deal with Atlanta this offseason and says he had a clear reason for choosing them: he sees potential.

Complimenting coach Arthur Smith, Campbell said (via, "I really liked his vision for the team. I really thought he had a great game plan for where the team is at right now and where it's going, and I really feel like that's gonna surprise a lot of people this year. This team's gonna be a very competitive, tough team that'll win a lot of ball games."

Campbell said another reason why he chose the Falcons is because he likes where he would fit on their defense. The veteran believes his level of play can elevate the team in a way they need.

"One of the other things I liked about it a lot was because they said my role would be playing true D-end, playing on the edge on first and second down, which was very appealing," Campbell said. "Arthur Smith said he wanted a violent D-line, and I can bring a lot of violence, that's for sure."

Clearly Atlanta's pitch worked. 

The Falcons have been in a rebuilding stage and considering that status, they exceeded expectations many times. They lost five games last season by four points or less, so with a few additions they could've had enough to push them into difference-making wins. Last year was their first season since 2008 without quarterback Matt Ryan as they relied on Marcus Mariota and third round draft pick Desmond Ridder.

While they are far from a top team, there is the appeal of being in a division with no clear leader. Coming from the Baltimore Ravens, who share the AFC North with the Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, Campbell has experienced trying clawing your way to the top. 

"This team plays in a division that I feel like is wide-open," Campbell said. "They play in a conference that I feel like is just, you get to the playoffs -- it's your No. 1 goal -- and once you get to the playoffs, it's anybody's ball game, especially a team that plays good defense and runs the ball. That's playoff football."

Campbell went so far as to stay the team could be playing in the Super Bowl. 

"I feel like if Ridder continues to develop and be who I think he can be, I wouldn't be surprised if we're playing late in January and potentially February," the 36-year-old said.