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The Falcons Need A Blank Slate; Blank Didn’T Provide It - Mark Bradley


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That Mike Smith was no longer the right coach was obvious, and it’s likewise clear that Thomas Dimitroff is no longer the right general manager. That the latter remains in place while the former was given the gate makes us wonder if the Atlanta Falcons don’t have an even greater problem.

It makes us wonder if Arthur Blank is still the right owner.

He bought the team since January 2002 and became the gold standard for local owners. Granted, he had no real competition — the blithering Atlanta Spirit and the faceless Liberty Media have never been lumped with the Rooneys and the O’Malleys of the sports world — and he had, in the ham-handed Smiths, an easy act to follow. But give him credit: A.M. Blank connected with his constituency in a way the best owners do.

That’s why the disconnect with which Blank apparently views his franchise — the coach had to go because he didn’t get the most out of his many gifted players, even as the past two seasons proved the Falcons are a two-man team — is so jarring. Monday was the time for the Falcons to start over. Instead the owner dealt in half-measures: Smitty out, Dimitroff still in.

Be honest. Were Blank to hire the absolute best coach in the business — Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Nick Saban — today, would that man turn a roster with more holes than Augusta National into a Super Bowl winner 13 months hence? The owner saw the same Smitty-blown games against Detroit in London and against Cleveland in the Dome we all did, but he must have missed the other eight losses.

What tells us that the Falcons were lacking in talent — this in a league where the draft and free agency and a salary cap all but guarantee parity — were the other games. On Sept. 28, the Falcons yielded 558 yards to Minnesota, playing behind rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in his first NFL start. On Oct. 5, they were outscored 20-0 over the final 17 minutes by the New York Giants. On Oct. 12, the Falcons were outgained by 191 yards by Chicago.

Total number of subsequent victories the Vikings, the Giants and the Bears would muster after vanquishing the Falcons: 10 (and Minnesota and Chicago split with each other). All three would finish between 7-9 and 5-11, which should have marked them as the Falcons’ peers. Yet all three beat the Falcons, who finished 6-10, by double figures.

That’s how you know your manpower isn’t powerful enough. If those three games hadn’t hammered home the point, Sunday’s astonishing loss to Carolina should have. Over a 10-game stretch from September into December, the Panthers had won once. Their only victory over a team that would break .500 came against Detroit on Sept. 14. But with a division title in the balance, they beat the Falcons — on the road, no less — by 31 points.

Even the right coach can’t turn substandard personnel into a colossus. This should have been the time for systemic change. Instead the owner took the path of least resistance — though he did suggest that firing Smith “may not be the only move we need to make” — because time’s a-wasting and there’ll be a new stadium to fill come 2017 and those sticker-shocking personal seat licenses are set to go on sale.

In the novel “Smiley’s People,” John le Carre writes of the British spy George Smiley’s last desperate bid to outflank Karla, his longtime Russian nemesis. Toby Esterhase advises his mentor to tread lightly. “You’re an old spy in a hurry, George,” Esterhase says. “You used to say those were the worst.”

Blank has invested too much capital, political and financial, in his new pleasure palace to slow down. He’s 72 and makes no secret of his lust for a Lombardi Trophy. (Heck, even the bumbling Smith family saw the Falcons reach a Super Bowl.) His impatience, once displayed only behind the scenes, grows more blatant with every season that ends short of the prize, as all 13 have.

There’s a forest out there, but Arthur Blank saw only the tree with “Smitty” carved into its bark. He’s an aging owner in a hurry, and those are the worst kind.

http://www.myajc.com/news/sports/pro-sports/the-falcons-need-a-blank-slate-blank-didnt-provide/njcRF/?icmp=ajc_internallink_invitationbox_apr2013_ajcstubtomyajcpremium#7f50122e.3550169.735596

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Bradley absolutely nailed it...and as Blank goes into his and our Falcons future with Dimitroff as the GM he is wasting his and our time.

good post Gritz. Makes me think of Red's(Morgan Freeman) line in Shawshank, "just stamp your papers sonny and quit wasting my time".

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This article says it all. The problem with this team was not all on Mike Smith and it never has been. For Blank to keep Dimitroff as GM one second longer than he kept Smith as head coach tells me he is not able to discern the depth of the talent problems facing this team going forward. I see another five or six years of wandering around in mediocrity until Blank finally has to face reality and get rid of the weakest link in the organization, that is besides Blank himself.

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This article says it all. The problem with this team was not all on Mike Smith and it never has been. For Blank to keep Dimitroff as GM one second longer than he kept Smith as head coach tells me he is not able to discern the depth of the talent problems facing this team going forward. I see another five or six years of wandering around in mediocrity until Blank finally has to face reality and get rid of the weakest link in the organization, that is besides Blank himself.

bingo...every second that Dimitroff occupies the GM Chair is further delaying the rebuild of this roster.

You are wasting time Artie.

Also, it is rather frightening to me if Blank does not recognize how serious te talent deficiency is on this roster. It is one thing if a messageboard poster does not see it but quite another if Blank does not see it.

Hopefully the consultant - Joe Banner - talks some sense into Blank.

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Arthur may sincerely believe that TD is the man for the job for one more year.

Or, it could be that he wants to do this in his own time, not when everybody else thinks he should.

He could be waiting for the HC search to conclude. He might want to see whether TD and the new HC would be on the same page.

And who's to say he doesn't have a list of possible replacement's for TD already in mind and is working on it--or another search going on?

Give the man time.

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I'm sorry, but the 2-day old whiny bitchfest from the AJC is getting annoying. These may be the greatest articles ever written, but I'm done reading them.

If it comes from the AJC I do not even pay attention...... They are absolutely terrible.... every single writer there . I think they take JOY in the falcons suffering.

Even when we were good there always seemed to be a " yeah but" with everything that came out of there.

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Arthur may sincerely believe that TD is the man for the job for one more year.

Or, it could be that he wants to do this in his own time, not when everybody else thinks he should.

He could be waiting for the HC search to conclude. He might want to see whether TD and the new HC would be on the same page.

And who's to say he doesn't have a list of possible replacement's for TD already in mind and is working on it--or another search going on?

Give the man time.

Or they might already be in the room.

Edited by Mr. Lubba Lubba©
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What I didn't understand was Blank's frustration/surprise with how many people kept asking why Dimitroff still had a job.

What the **** were you expecting, Arthur? Any analyst in the league will tell you that this roster is a wasteland when it comes to talent, a roster that was composed by Dimitroff. Stop sighing and throwing your hands up like a frustrated mother who had a kid 8 years earlier than she wanted to.

You should have cleaned house, and now you have to live with the criticism of not doing so.

Saying that the front office is going to be evaluated after the head coach is hired is assbackwards. That's not how you do football. Of course you'd know that if you knew football at all.

I wish Blank would sign the checks and shut the **** up.

Edited by The Shotfather
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TD is just going to be "GM" in title only. It is becoming apparent that Blank is going to more of a team approach with 4 or 5 guys ultimately serving the function of a GM. He also is probably going to court the new Head Coach by promising him heavy involvement in this GM team.

If that's true then he better throw a crap ton of money at the problem because thats what it's going to take to get a top notch mind to put up with this dog and pony show.

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The call for heads in the NFL goes in stages- Blank knows how to do this. He DID NOT give Dimitroff his "full support" today. What is most probable is that whoever the new HC will be has to "mesh" with the GM. It is obvious Blank does not have faith in TD to do the search for HC, so TD will be waiting it out and will probably be gone

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I think TD is living on borrowed time.The way Blank answered questions today made it obvious that there are other changes to be made in the front office.TD looked scared and nervous,if the search squad finds a new HC that wants full control, TD's butt is out the door.I loved seeing Blank get irritated with the media lol

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