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It’S Arthur Blank’S Show Now, And That Could Be Problem - Jeff Schultz


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Mike Smith is gone. He needed to be. As good a football coach as he is, even Smith would tell you there is no justification for going 4-12 and 6-10 in consecutive seasons and failing to fix the defense when defense is supposed to be your forte.

Thomas Dimitroff is not gone. As of … what time is it? The Falcons’ general manager has made mistakes. He knows it. He said it (even if possibly at the point of owner Arthur Blank’s bayonet). Assume nothing about Dimitroff’s future because it was clear from Blank’s incomplete responses Monday that the general manager could still be stripped of autonomy or lose his job altogether. That hinges on Blank’s ability to lure a high-profile, headline-grabbing, sell-me-some-PSLs-because-baby-needs-high-speed-wifi coach who demands all the power.

Which leads me to this: This is Blank’s show. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

It’s impossible to not admire Blank as a businessman. It’s impossible to not embrace the fact he’s emotionally and financially invested in his team, because that’s what anybody should want in a sports owner.

But there’s another, far less endearing side to Blank. He’s hot-headed and difficult to work for, as anybody in Flowery Branch will whisper to you. The way he handled Smith’s exit, hiring a search firm and then having it leak publicly the morning the Falcons were preparing to try to win a division title, was clumsy at best and classless at worst.

Blank takes a front-row seat at every post-game news conference (with family members). He holds weekly meetings with his football operations staff. He strolls the sideline for the final minutes of almost every game.

I’ve heard from fans who believe strong-minded coaches won’t work for Dimitroff. I disagree. I think the bigger obstacle is Blank.

He’s already undercut Dimitroff with the search committee hire. Dimitroff and former GM Rich McKay, who’s taken his share of arrows, sat there Monday as Blank said, “I’ll be involved in the search” and, “at the end of the day, the decision will be mine.”

Do you want this man making football decisions? He thinks business first, not football. (Read: Sales in the new stadium.) Business is what he knows. The last time Blank and the marketing department forced a decision on football operations, everybody was subjected to, “Hard Knocks.”

That worked out well.

I’m neutral on Dimitroff. I understand the screaming from the cheap seats to fire him. But if you’re going to hold him responsible for 2013 and 2014, you also need to credit him for 2008 to 2012. He inherited a mess of a franchise, in case anybody has forgotten.

Blank grew irritated Monday when media members kept asking him about Dimitroff’s status, but he’s the one who left the door open, saying the coaching search will “help us determine if we’ll make any other changes to the structure of any parts of the football operations.”

The Falcons’ roster is not talent-less. They can turn this around pretty quickly, with the right moves. All together now: find pass rushers, solidify the offensive line.

The biggest question is whether Dimitroff will have a significant voice in the coach hiring. Blank wants buzz. Dimitroff wants a coach. But they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.


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The way he handled Smith’s exit, hiring a search firm and then having it leak publicly the morning the Falcons were preparing to try to win a division title, was clumsy at best and classless at worst.

He's repeating the same BS again without offering any proof, supporting argument, or anything to make this a half-decent claim. What is bad is to have journalists like Schultz running their mouth without feeling the need to at least make sense.

Forget proof that Blank leaked the news, because Schultz obviously doesn't have any. But what reason could Blank possibly have to leak the news. It was well understood that he was going to fire Smith. He's also hoping to get a high profile HC which isn't easy if you do something like this. Most importantly, what's the benefit?

Apparently lame @$$ journalism at AJC is not limited to Bedwetter.

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Blank needs to keep his dam hands out of all football operations, including hiring the new coach. He doesn't know jack sht about football and hasn't played since he played peewee league in upstate NY. After that mess I paid to see yesterday I'm getting a little fed up with him and his bush it.

Yeah he doesn't know anything about football...hes only owned a team for the last 13 years.
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