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Doesn't Arthur Blank Share Some Culpability For This Mess?


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I have heard on these boards countless times over the years that TD won't take a chance on players with character issues. That he's too hung up on acquiring team captains at the expense of acquiring potential game changers.

What's curious about this is that the organization from which TD learned his trade does not at all embrace that particular philosophy, and is freely willing to take chances on black sheep players. A few examples:

Rodney Harrison was perennially voted the "dirtiest player" in the NFL by his peers according to polls conducted by Sports Illustrated. By 2002, he had racked up over $200,000 in fines by the NFL.

Corey Dillon was convicted of trying to sell cocaine to an undercover officer at age 15. After failing to meet NCAA academic requirements out of high school, went on to be kicked off his JuCo team for skipping classes and fighting.

Randy Moss was convicted of battery at age 17, then subsequently violated his resulting probation by testing positive for marijuana, leading to him being dismissed from the FSU football program. His propensity to dog it at the pro level was well documented before joining the Pats.

Albert Haynesworth, Chad Johnson and, of course, Aaron Hernandez... the list goes on and on.

Whatever his current philosophy on the importance of player character, we can certainly say that TD didn't bring it with him from New England.

On the other hand, our Mr. Blank has been quite explicit as to what he looks for when evaluating a player:

"At the Falcons, one way we do that is by recruiting the very best individuals to our team – players who want to win on the field and off the field. We use a system that measures aspects of their character, as well as their football talent – before they’re ever asked to join the team. It’s called the 'Falcons Filter' – and it’s helping us build a high-character, high integrity organization that can win the ultimate game -- the 'Super Bowl of Life,' as we like to call it."

That particular statement was made in 2005, three years before TD was even on AB's radar. Why has nobody suggested that TD is simply giving his owner exactly what he has asked of him?

Keep in mind we are talking about a reactionary owner who likes to be front and center, with a long history of meddling in personnel decisions and hyping up high profile players. I can't help but see fingerprints all over the Julio trade of an owner who once put a lot of butts in seats by marketing a superstar athletic freak.

Something just doesn't add up here. TD came into this organization preaching building through the draft and following a process, and then proceeded to do anything but that following his high profile owner arrogantly declaring, "I'm about rings now."

I'm all for assigning blame, and there is certainly plenty to go around, but why does the buck always stop with TD? Why is it virtually blasphemous around here to even suggest that AB might be a significant part of the problem?

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Just as planned.

Step 1. Solidify QB.(MAtt Ryan. Check)

Step 2. Blow draft picks to secure best WR core.(JJ the future w/ Roddy DD and Dj for when Roddy retires future.Check)

Step 3. Fill in skill positions on defense with young promising players.(Check)

Step 4 . Suffer a blow out season due to killing the Offensive-line and defensive line(Check)

Step 5. Fake Injures for Roddy White and Julio jones to keep them off the field this year and have them steadily working out to improve. check

Step 6. Use the mock season to further develop Matt Ryan and Young recivers. Check

Step 7. Use Gonzales Last retirement year to work with new receivers and develop his replacement(tolilio check)

Step 8. Secure low tickets in the draft for first dibs with mock season and gain O-line and dline buffs.

Step 9. Use excess cap space from cuts release and retiring to fill in dept Chart or fill in any holes(Which shouldnt be that many if any)

Step 10. Next season dominate with a complete team and Win Superbowl. And say we dedicate this game to Tony Gonzales.

End Result. Falcons have 2014-2015 Super Bowl Champion ship. And Has a Dominant team for the next few years. With our sexy new stadium.

If its true. then the plan is genius

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It's hard to assign blame to the owner when no one is really sure what all he does. He hired Dimitroff, and Dimitroff hired Smith. Now we got Nolan and Koetter. And the players.

We all know Blank owns the franchise, signs everyone's paycheck, and can normally be found on the sideline at our games. We know he's working on a new stadium, and that he values good character in the organization. Everything else is totally speculative. Is he heavily involved in our personnel decisions? Who knows. What kind of relationship does he have with the coaching staff? Is his presence on the sideline a good or a bad thing?

Sure, Blank might share in the blame. But most of what he does (or what you presume he does) is all behind-the-scenes. Blank didn't draft Julio. Blank doesn't coach the players. He doesn't play right guard either. So what are we really supposed to blame him for? He might have played a big role in leading this franchise astray but that's all just speculation.

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Rob4242 posted a fascinating point last week, and I'm very surprised it wasn't discussed more.

He claimed that a friend within the organisation told him that the the organisation (Blank and McKay in particular) believe that the fans in Atlanta won't come out and support a consistent winner. What they meant by it, was that the fans will only show up for an exciting team loaded with playmakers, and won't support a more physical but less exciting team that wins a lot of games.

The more I look at the enormous investments we've made in the offensive skilled positions since 2001 compared to the paucity of investment in the OL over that time, the more I think that could very well be right. It would also explain the highly unconventional Julio Jones trade, which was a move that defied logic at the time given our other needs.

If there is truth in that, Blank and the fans are very much to blame.

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"At the Falcons, one way we do that is by recruiting the very best individuals to our team players who want to win on the field and off the field. We use a system that measures aspects of their character, as well as their football talent before they're ever asked to join the team. It's called the 'Falcons Filter' and it's helping us build a high-character, high integrity organization that can win the ultimate game -- the 'Super Bowl of Life,' as we like to call it."

That particular statement was made in 2005, three years before TD was even on AB's radar.

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Just as planned.

Step 1. Solidify QB.(MAtt Ryan. Check)

Step 2. Blow draft picks to secure best WR core.(JJ the future w/ Roddy DD and Dj for when Roddy retires future.Check)

Step 3. Fill in skill positions on defense with young promising players.(Check)

Step 4 . Suffer a blow out season due to killing the Offensive-line and defensive line(Check)

Step 5. Fake Injures for Roddy White and Julio jones to keep them off the field this year and have them steadily working out to improve. check

Step 6. Use the mock season to further develop Matt Ryan and Young recivers. Check

Step 7. Use Gonzales Last retirement year to work with new receivers and develop his replacement(tolilio check)

Step 8. Secure low tickets in the draft for first dibs with mock season and gain O-line and dline buffs.

Step 9. Use excess cap space from cuts release and retiring to fill in dept Chart or fill in any holes(Which shouldnt be that many if any)

Step 10. Next season dominate with a complete team and Win Superbowl. And say we dedicate this game to Tony Gonzales.

End Result. Falcons have 2014-2015 Super Bowl Champion ship. And Has a Dominant team for the next few years. With our sexy new stadium.

If its true. then the plan is genius

...but why bring in guys like Sjax and Osi who have their clocks ticking toward end of career? Guys that were expecting to contend this year?

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I think it's a little easy to take shots and say you don't have enough Aqib Talib type players right now when we're struggling but when you lose guys due to off the field incidents (like '07) it's going to make you wary of guys with character guys. I don't think the problem is that they have too many nice guys. The problem is they haven't picked the right guys that don't have the off-field issues.

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Yes he does along with the coaching staff. After watching the Falcons for years, I don't feel the staff and the players want it bad enough. If the players would stop thinking and acting like they are "Stars" and start playing football like they want to win, we might see a difference.

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Rich McKay's Falcons filter was written about in PeteWilliam's book "The Draft". It was NOT what everyone on here thinks. It was actually the exact opposite.

The filter wasn't used to filter out people with character concerns. It was used to filter out and identify a very small number of people in every draft who scored the very top marks in every aspect of character that the organisation coveted. It was a filer to identify the exceptional, not a filter to rule out the troublemakers

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I do not have the conviction rates for every NFL team, but I am sure a team can win a Super Bowl without a player with a prison record or arrest history. I have no problems with less serious juvenile crimes, but when we move into drugs, DUI, robbery, and worse, I agree with the filter. It does not have to be either win a championship or have only players who set good examples as human beings.

Edited by AREA51
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I think it's a little easy to take shots and say you don't have enough Aqib Talib type players right now when we're struggling but when you lose guys due to off the field incidents (like '07) it's going to make you wary of guys with character guys. I don't think the problem is that they have too many nice guys. The problem is they haven't picked the right guys that don't have the off-field issues.

The talent pool becomes extremely shallow when you eliminate every potential red flag player from it.

That said, I'm not saying we need, nor would I want, an Aqib Talib. I'm just wondering why those who do only criticize the GM for not acquiring such players. Especially when it is the owner who has long trumpeted his objections to the practice.

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The talent pool becomes extremely shallow when you eliminate every potential red flag player from it.

That said, I'm not saying we need, nor would I want, an Aqib Talib. I'm just wondering why those who do only criticize the GM for not acquiring such players. Especially when it is the owner who has long trumpeted his objections to the practice.

There are plenty of guys we had the opportunity to go after and didn't or passed on them for guys we currently have on roster that don't have major off-field issues. We just missed with the guys we took. Geno Atkins didn't have character issues when he came out and we took Corey Peters instead. Clay Matthews didn't when we took Peria Jerry in the 1st. Sure, there are guys like Justin Houston that A BUNCH of teams are probably kicking themselves over for not taking him when he dropped to the 3rd round but I think saying it's about the "filter" is just us searching for answers. Just bad evaluation by the front office on guys in the draft and free agency and overvaluing guys already on roster like DeCoud, Blalock & Nicholas.

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Rob4242 posted a fascinating point last week, and I'm very surprised it wasn't discussed more.

He claimed that a friend within the organisation told him that the the organisation (Blank and McKay in particular) believe that the fans in Atlanta won't come out and support a consistent winner. What they meant by it, was that the fans will only show up for an exciting team loaded with playmakers, and won't support a more physical but less exciting team that wins a lot of games.

The more I look at the enormous investments we've made in the offensive skilled positions since 2001 compared to the paucity of investment in the OL over that time, the more I think that could very well be right. It would also explain the highly unconventional Julio Jones trade, which was a move that defied logic at the time given our other needs.

If there is truth in that, Blank and the fans are very much to blame.

Yes, that would certainly explain a lot.

We all know how rabid posters here become in anticipation for that big FA "splash" come February each year. It's gotten to where one is nowhere near enough now.

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Rob4242 posted a fascinating point last week, and I'm very surprised it wasn't discussed more.

He claimed that a friend within the organisation told him that the the organisation (Blank and McKay in particular) believe that the fans in Atlanta won't come out and support a consistent winner. What they meant by it, was that the fans will only show up for an exciting team loaded with playmakers, and won't support a more physical but less exciting team that wins a lot of games.

The more I look at the enormous investments we've made in the offensive skilled positions since 2001 compared to the paucity of investment in the OL over that time, the more I think that could very well be right. It would also explain the highly unconventional Julio Jones trade, which was a move that defied logic at the time given our other needs.

If there is truth in that, Blank and the fans are very much to blame.

I don't buy that. We did two things:

1) overestimated talent of OL. Although I'm thinking pat hill could be problem

2) injuries. Sorry but injuries to WR, OL, DE and LB and oh rb spots hurts anyone

Lastly, blank has the playmakers adding OL will only make better playmakers. We took a shot and invested in DE/LB and secondary (4 picks) and it backfired--this season. Having a buncha. Good young secondary players next year will yield dividends

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Arthur sure does. Mistake #1 bringing in a fake GM from the Bucs who were all too happy to let him come f*ck up the Falcons organization. Mistake #2 keep McKay, promoting him to Pres/CEO of the organization. Mistake #3 allowing McKay to talk him into hiring Mike Smith (a very average at best DC) as the HC before a new GM was hired. Mistake #4 listening to others in the league talk-up Dimitroff as some up and coming scouting genius. All you have to do is look at our current players on the field and you'll be able to determine if he's a "genius" or not. So Arthur wanted to win now! When you try and win now that means just adding a few players that you THINK are missing to get you to the next level. Well what if the existing players are average to below-average to begin with? Because you want to win now, you never built the OL to protect your franchise QB, you never get a DL that can consistently get after the QB (you just use Abe and other make-shift DEs that didn't work out), and you get rid of your best tackling machine Lofton (who couldn't cover by the way). So that meant you just have to take the time to build those missing pieces with high caliber 2nd and 3rd round players. Oh wait a minute, we reached for a number 1 in Baker, drafted average guys or traded the picks away in the core rounds that you find you starters (2nd & 3rd). Arthur this is your team. If you don't have a vision of the type of team you want to field, then one of the clowns you hired will create their vision of your team. See what their vision has gotten you so far?

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I have heard on these boards countless times over the years that TD won't take a chance on players with character issues. That he's too hung up on acquiring team captains at the expense of acquiring potential game changers.

What's curious about this is that the organization from which TD learned his trade does not at all embrace that particular philosophy, and is freely willing to take chances on black sheep players. A few examples:

Rodney Harrison was perennially voted the "dirtiest player" in the NFL by his peers according to polls conducted by Sports Illustrated. By 2002, he had racked up over $200,000 in fines by the NFL.

Corey Dillon was convicted of trying to sell cocaine to an undercover officer at age 15. After failing to meet NCAA academic requirements out of high school, went on to be kicked off his JuCo team for skipping classes and fighting.

Randy Moss was convicted of battery at age 17, then subsequently violated his resulting probation by testing positive for marijuana, leading to him being dismissed from the FSU football program. His propensity to dog it at the pro level was well documented before joining the Pats.

Albert Haynesworth, Chad Johnson and, of course, Aaron Hernandez... the list goes on and on.

Whatever his current philosophy on the importance of player character, we can certainly say that TD didn't bring it with him from New England.

On the other hand, our Mr. Blank has been quite explicit as to what he looks for when evaluating a player:

"At the Falcons, one way we do that is by recruiting the very best individuals to our team – players who want to win on the field and off the field. We use a system that measures aspects of their character, as well as their football talent – before they're ever asked to join the team. It's called the 'Falcons Filter' – and it's helping us build a high-character, high integrity organization that can win the ultimate game -- the 'Super Bowl of Life,' as we like to call it."

That particular statement was made in 2005, three years before TD was even on AB's radar. Why has nobody suggested that TD is simply giving his owner exactly what he has asked of him?

Keep in mind we are talking about a reactionary owner who likes to be front and center, with a long history of meddling in personnel decisions and hyping up high profile players. I can't help but see fingerprints all over the Julio trade of an owner who once put a lot of butts in seats by marketing a superstar athletic freak.

Something just doesn't add up here. TD came into this organization preaching building through the draft and following a process, and then proceeded to do anything but that following his high profile owner arrogantly declaring, "I'm about rings now."

I'm all for assigning blame, and there is certainly plenty to go around, but why does the buck always stop with TD? Why is it virtually blasphemous around here to even suggest that AB might be a significant part of the problem?

Good point.

Truth be told I've never been a fan of the Filter but I understand what Blank wants to achieve and Dimi probably did too when he signed up for the job.

I believe there are plenty choir boy types out there that could pass through the filter and bring a high level of talent and execution to the football field. Like Ryan and Julio. Dimi just has to do a much better job of finding these players cause the Filter is probably here to stay.

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Just as planned.

Step 1. Solidify QB.(MAtt Ryan. Check)

Step 2. Blow draft picks to secure best WR core.(JJ the future w/ Roddy DD and Dj for when Roddy retires future.Check)

Step 3. Fill in skill positions on defense with young promising players.(Check)

Step 4 . Suffer a blow out season due to killing the Offensive-line and defensive line(Check)

Step 5. Fake Injures for Roddy White and Julio jones to keep them off the field this year and have them steadily working out to improve. check

Step 6. Use the mock season to further develop Matt Ryan and Young recivers. Check

Step 7. Use Gonzales Last retirement year to work with new receivers and develop his replacement(tolilio check)

Step 8. Secure low tickets in the draft for first dibs with mock season and gain O-line and dline buffs.

Step 9. Use excess cap space from cuts release and retiring to fill in dept Chart or fill in any holes(Which shouldnt be that many if any)

Step 10. Next season dominate with a complete team and Win Superbowl. And say we dedicate this game to Tony Gonzales.

End Result. Falcons have 2014-2015 Super Bowl Champion ship. And Has a Dominant team for the next few years. With our sexy new stadium.

If its true. then the plan is genius

And watch the fanbase be like "omg, smith is a awesome coach now!"

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There are plenty of guys we had the opportunity to go after and didn't or passed on them for guys we currently have on roster that don't have major off-field issues. We just missed with the guys we took. Geno Atkins didn't have character issues when he came out and we took Corey Peters instead. Clay Matthews didn't when we took Peria Jerry in the 1st. Sure, there are guys like Justin Houston that A BUNCH of teams are probably kicking themselves over for not taking him when he dropped to the 3rd round but I think saying it's about the "filter" is just us searching for answers. Just bad evaluation by the front office on guys in the draft and free agency and overvaluing guys already on roster like DeCoud, Blalock & Nicholas.

Or maybe Blank continually issuing the decree that he places the utmost importance on acquiring high character community leader types have played at least a role in that bad evaluation and overvaluing guys already on the roster. Do you think AB's relationship with Sam Baker's dad played at least a small role in him being selected over Duane Brown?

And weren't there some questions regarding Clay Matthews' steroid use pre-draft that may have bumped him off the Falcon's draft board?

Edited by cooperbh
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Or maybe Blank continually issuing the decree that he places the utmost importance on acquiring high character community leader types have played at least a role in that bad evaluation and overvaluing guys already on the roster.

And weren't there some questions regarding Clay Matthews' steroid use pre-draft that may have bumped him off the Falcon's draft board?

Cushing. Not Matthews. If our FO or any others associated him with Cushing by going to the same school then we're in a world of trouble and the whole FO needs to be shown the door.

I still don't buy that Blank wanting character to be a strong consideration is holding us back. There are plenty of guys we could have gone after and just didn't. How many "bad character" guys are out there that we had a chance to get and didn't in large due to character concerns? How would we even know?

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Here's what I do know:

Blank's first draft as an NFL owner featured the Falcons giving up multiple picks to acquire a player with freaky athleticism.

Then in 2007, Blank ordered his GM to do everything possible to land Calvin Johnson, according to SI.

http://www.footballsfuture.com/news/2007/04/falcons-owner-orders-gm-to-move-up-and.html

A few years later, and once again his team is trading up for yet another uber-athlete. ("Julio or AJ -whatever. Just get me a circus freak!")

But, hey, why should we hold the owner of a company responsible for that company making the same mistakes over and over again?

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