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Falcons owner Arthur Blank coming to grips with early playoff exit

Sun Tzu 7

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Didn't see this posted...


Falcons owner Arthur Blank, like much of the team's fan base, has come to grips with the team's swift and unceremonious exit from the NFL playoffs last weekend.

In retrospect, he noted the team's 13-3 record while speaking to the Buckhead Business Association on Thursday. He rattled off some of the awards the coaches and players have received and that seven players where headed to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. Then he wondered along with the rest of Atlanta.

"When you look at all that, you say, well, what happened on Saturday?" Blank said. "That's a very good question."

The Falcons, the No. 1 seed, were routed 48-21 by No. 6 seeded Green Bay at the Georgia Dome on Saturday.

Blank agreed with head coach Mike Smith's assessment that the team's play was uncharacteristically sub-par against the Packers.

But he also credited president Rich McKay, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and Smith for the franchise's three consecutive winning seasons and two trips to the playoffs over the last three years.

"So the arrow is definitely pointing up," Blank said.

Blank believes that in the current NFL structure, there is not much difference between the No. 1 team and No. 32 team, a realization of former commissioner's Pete Rozelle's stated goal of parity.

He noted that most of the games come down to five or six plays. In the playoff loss, the Packers dominated the Falcons on nine key plays -- the four turnovers and five sacks.

"Obviously, we made some mistakes and we paid the price for those mistakes," Blank said.

The Falcons made some plays, but not enough to offset the Packers' offensive effectiveness. The Packers did not punt once all game.

"There is a very good chance that on Feb. 6 [in the Super Bowl] that two No. 6 seeds from each conference will be playing each other," Blank said. "That would be the Packers and the Jets. One, two, three, four and five seeds could all be gone by the time the Super Bowl is played."

Nevertheless, he was not happy with the early playoff exit.

"There are two seasons in the NFL," Blank noted. "One is the regular season and one is the postseason and we want to achieve during the regular season, which is great. But we want to achieve in the postseason as well."

That all begins with improved performance once the playoffs start.

"You judge a quarterback on how he does in the fourth quarter and the postseason," Blank said. "You judge a golfer on not what he does on Saturday, but how does he close it out on Sunday."

Blank didn't mention quarterback Matt Ryan by name, but he's 0-2 in the playoffs and had two key interceptions and a fumble against the Packers.

"In the future, the bar has been raised for us internally," Blank said. "That's to be expected, but the bar has also been raised for us through the National Football League. The coaches and players are united in that regard. There is no confusion about that."

Blank said his goal is to make sure that the Falcons are consistent winners and are in the title hunt annually.

"Teams like the Patriots, the Eagles, the Packers and Steelers have shown that it can be done," Blank said. "We have a lot of talent on this team, not just because we have seven Pro Bowlers on this team. Most of the talent on this team is very young. It's only going to get better. It's going to play better as time goes on."


Edited by Sun Tzu 7
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He also just turned the heat up on the coaching staff and Matt Ryan.

That's what I read as well. IMO, it's time to turn up the heat and take off the training wheels. This isn't a college campus and I think, to some extent, the coaching and FO have treated him like big man on campus. It's time to raise the expectations from someone making his kind of money.

I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that 2011 is a huge year for Matt. Not only will the people in charge have expectations that he'll lead this team to a similiar record in the regular season, but they will definitely have an expectation that he'll add some playoff wins to his resume. If he doesn't, then I think they will be taking a hard look at that position this time next year.

I'm a Ryan fan. He wins games, and he's never rattled in a game. With a more creative offense, alot more speed at the WRs, and a good deal less handing off to Turner, he will continue to become a top QB. If they don't open it up for him next year and become a quick strike offense, then he will not continue to grow as a passer.

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I like that.

It's not an overreaction. It's stating that we did some good things this year, but it's also being pretty candid about how disappointing the loss Saturday was and that the regular season accolades are nice...but the playoffs are what really matters. Sounds like Arthur took that one as hard as a lot of us did and that's why I love Blank. He's not "just an owner". He's a businessman, but he's also a fan.

It's not time to blow everything up, but he did kind of put the team on notice that going out like that was not really something he was gonna settle for again and again.

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good, now maybe we can actually make a splash in the FA market this year and use our picks on players we need that can benefit the team! I'm pretty sure our draft grade last season was a C- ?

It really doesnt matter who we get on offense. Ryan is simply just not a good qb. He is limited. Thats why MM hadnt opened his playbook more for the kid. We need to go after Kevin Kolb and keep Ryan as a back up. Remember Mark Bulger started out just Like Matt Ryan did. His first season as a starter everyone labeled him the next Joe Montana his next season he was good. Then he just stayed complacent. Look at him now.

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He needs to. If the Eagles let Kevin Kolb get traded. We should get him. He is more accurate than Matt.

Hey Mr. Sharpton, I truly respect your opinion. But I have to add that you sound alot like another poster that visits these parts. Not saying that he is you, but I know only one other poster that has lobbied for that trade. I guess this is starting to pick up steam.

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I gotta completely disagree. I think Ryan is the answer for our franchise. He is still young and developing his game. He's not gonna be the best thing since sliced bread right off the bat. As a fan I can tell a huge difference in his game from his rookie season until now. Peyton Manning threw like 20 INTS this year and Brees threw like 19.. does that mean Indy and NO should look for new QB's? No! It's all about loyalty and faith in your players, which is what some of our fans need. So Matt had a bad game, that don't hide the fact that we've had 3 winning seasons in a row and been to the playoffs 2 out 3 years since Ryan came to Atlanta. If we would've won the game, then everybody who talkin trash would be on Matt's **** right now and not doubtin his potential..

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People putting our loss on Matt Ryan, and really the offense in general don't get it. Our defense was beyond pathetic against Green Bay.

Agreed, the defense was beyond pathetic. But the offense was on par with pathetic. As bad as the defense was, that game was still winnable right before the pick at halftime. The offense didn't do the defense any favors by not put together a decent drive. JMHO

Edited by FalconinPA
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Agreed, the defense was beyond pathetic. But the offense was on par with pathetic. As bad as the defense was, that game was still winnable right beofre the pick at halftime. The offense didn't do the defense any favors by not put together a decent drive. JMHO

Yeah, but our offense was going to have to be perfect to win that game. We could have had our average output, 28-35 points, and still lost the game.

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I gotta say, we hit the jackpot with Arthur Blank as our owner. He wants to win games, he wants to make fans happy. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with money because if we're happy he makes more.. but I feel he genuinely cares for this organization and its fans unlike Skelator up there in Oakland. He isn't afraid to open his wallet if it means bringing more wins for this team, organization, and fans. Constantly renovating the dome, looking at possibilities for new stadiums, I especially love the state of the franchise addresses that we do. We will have a successful team for years to come because of him. Arthur Blank is the definition of class.

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