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What To Think Of Td.


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I am a bit perplexed what too think of TD at the moment. I know he gets more criticism than he deserves, but does he also get too much credit as well. Last year when the crap hit the fan he was given a short leash but not removed from the franchise.

The reasons given where that while he is GM he makes it a point to listen to the coaching staff and draft the players they feel they can work with. Now given my professional experience working with others I do know its imperative that everyone in the organization work as a cohesive unit in order to reach the highest success level possible.

So now in my mind, and mind you this is speculation but it feels that somewhere last year TD decided that smith was not the correct man to lead this team. That became obvious to me when it was released that TD wanted to build a pass rush but ultimately gave into the coaching staff and build the interior defensive line once again neglecting a struggling factor of our team.

Now judging from this free agency period and the draft it feels like TD has done an excellent job, at least on paper of bringing defensive talent for the coaching staff to work with, BUT is this the work of Pioli and Dan Quinn with TD just there?

Last year Pioli joined the front office and I personally feel that while we might not have drafted the right positions for what we needed to win, we did draft some excellent football players compared to previous seasons (At least since 2008), these players will be a huge part of our team going forward with the new coaching staff. Is it a coincidence that Pioli happen to show up that a solid draft happened, or was it the two together used a chemistry to draft better than before?

When Piloi showed up last year I speculated in my mind that Blank had decided to bring in a third party to put a mark on where the Atlanta Falcons where failing in leadership. He had experience as a GM in KC, so he understood the dynamics of how an organization is suppose to run. But there is also the factor that KC had had strong drafts under Pioli defensively and now I feel like the last two drafts we have drafted better defensively than ever before. That can't be luck, can it?

This year our Free agency while not flashy by any means I feel on paper was extremely solid compared to previous seasons. were the previous seasons since 2008 Mike Smiths fault since TD was ultimately trying to build the defensive unit Smith was envisioning or was it TD who failed Smith by never acquiring the talent Smith needed?

I am getting old so I don't remember the years, but we abandon Smith's vision if the cover 2 defense and brought in Mike Nolan as the defensive coordinator, was Mike Nolan a part of the defensive decisions in the past had smith's ideas been shelved for something TD felt would make us better or did smith make that call? It became obvious since 2008 that we where able to build a solid offense which is funny since that seems to be where Smith would be the most hands off that can't be coincidence can it?

Some people on the board bash TD to the point, they sound like children but the truth is I don't know. Who ultimately made the decision that Sam Baker was our guy no matter what, was that Smith or TD?

I know this comes across as a ramble but, I wanted to hear other peoples perspectives on the issue because to me the franchises leadership is an enigma. Was TD the captain of the ship and instead of going down with his ship dressed as a woman and got on a life raft? or was TD the weasel like Beni Gabor in the film the Mummy who hasn't got whats coming to him yet? Or is TD simply a cog in his organization of a team while it was the right fit, the other cogs had to be replaced or brought in to build this team to the next level?

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personally, i think it comes down to whether or not you think that arthur blank knows what is good for this franchise or not. if you feel he is the best owner in the nfl and a shrewd evaluator of the personnell the franchise needs to be succesfull, then keeping dimi and getting rid of smith speaks volumes about who is the primary culpritt for the decline this franchise has experienced.

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The real problem, was that Smith didn't seem to have a clear vision of what he wanted the team to be and what we needed to get there, especially after Nolan became DC.

Initially, we were a traditional 4-3 Defense and our perosnnel decisions reflected that. When Nolan came in, we went from quick penetrating d-linemen to stouter guys better suited to a 3-4. We became a mishmash of 4-3 and 3-4 personnel, running some bizarre big nickel hybrid scheme with no pass rush, where so many players looked out out position.

The level and nature of criticism that TD gets is unjustified. He had always been a good talent evaluator. His pick retention rate and the playing time they get has always been amongst the best in the NFL - and for 5 years we were a serious contender on the back of that. He has made mistakes though. We traded away too many picks from 11-13. The Julio Jones trade was too expensive and crippled our talent and depth in several areas. The picks used in that trade needed to be used to rebuild the OL and find a long term replacements for some of our ageing key veterans guys. At times he has also placed too much emphasis on character types (intelligent, hard working leadership types), valuing these attributes over better players in the me and late round, adding high floor, low ceiling types. That enabled him to find a lot of contributors, but not enough real gems. In the last 2 years we have now found a better balance in that respect, black-dotting fewer people and taking a few more risks on boom/bust guys with higher ceilings.

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The real problem, was that Smith didn't seem to have a clear vision of what he wanted the team to be and what we needed to get there, especially after Nolan became DC.

Initially, we were a traditional 4-3 Defense and our perosnnel decisions reflected that. When Nolan came in, we went from quick penetrating d-linemen to stouter guys better suited to a 3-4. We became a mishmash of 4-3 and 3-4 personnel, running some bizarre big nickel hybrid scheme with no pass rush, where so many players looked out out position.

The level and nature of criticism that TD gets is unjustified. He had always been a good talent evaluator. His pick retention rate and the playing time they get has always been amongst the best in the NFL - and for 5 years we were a serious contender on the back of that. He has made mistakes though. We traded away too many picks from 11-13. The Julio Jones trade was too expensive and crippled our talent and depth in several areas. The picks used in that trade needed to be used to rebuild the OL and find a long term replacements for some of our ageing key veterans guys. At times he has also placed too much emphasis on character types (intelligent, hard working leadership types), valuing these attributes over better players in the me and late round, adding high floor, low ceiling types. That enabled him to find a lot of contributors, but not enough real gems. In the last 2 years we have now found a better balance in that respect, black-dotting fewer people and taking a few more risks on boom/bust guys with higher ceilings.

This^ and might I add. I think Smitty simply got burned out. 7 yrs is a long time as a HC. Not many are like belichik and evolve with the game. The game changed, Smitty didn't.
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This^ and might I add. I think Smitty simply got burned out. 7 yrs is a long time as a HC. Not many are like belichik and evolve with the game. The game changed, Smitty didn't.

Exactly. The last two years he was grasping at straws. The signings were indicative of that as well. Then we had 'hybrid' schemes also known as players in wrong positions etc.

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The real problem, was that Smith didn't seem to have a clear vision of what he wanted the team to be and what we needed to get there, especially after Nolan became DC.

Initially, we were a traditional 4-3 Defense and our perosnnel decisions reflected that. When Nolan came in, we went from quick penetrating d-linemen to stouter guys better suited to a 3-4. We became a mishmash of 4-3 and 3-4 personnel, running some bizarre big nickel hybrid scheme with no pass rush, where so many players looked out out position.

The level and nature of criticism that TD gets is unjustified. He had always been a good talent evaluator. His pick retention rate and the playing time they get has always been amongst the best in the NFL - and for 5 years we were a serious contender on the back of that. He has made mistakes though. We traded away too many picks from 11-13. The Julio Jones trade was too expensive and crippled our talent and depth in several areas. The picks used in that trade needed to be used to rebuild the OL and find a long term replacements for some of our ageing key veterans guys. At times he has also placed too much emphasis on character types (intelligent, hard working leadership types), valuing these attributes over better players in the me and late round, adding high floor, low ceiling types. That enabled him to find a lot of contributors, but not enough real gems. In the last 2 years we have now found a better balance in that respect, black-dotting fewer people and taking a few more risks on boom/bust guys with higher ceilings.

I agree with much i to a point, and while I was never comfortable with what we gave up for Julio, I think we had plenty of picks and cap space to make this team much better, but we whiffed on them. A lot of that is on TD, but I think as much is on Smitty. Putting them in bad positions, and not offering a clear visions besides wanting a team full of team captains.

I think TD was caught in between an Offense that wanted to be power run and a finesse passing team, and a defense that was totally schizophrenic between a 3-4, 4-3, and whatever that big nickel nonsense was. The head coach has to have a clear vision for what he wants, and Smitty obviously didn't have it. Maybe pressure from the FO muddled whatever vision he may have had, but the GM has to procure the talent that the matches the coach's vision. It obviously didn't work out

I think it's time to let the "we gave up too much for Julio" argument go.

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No matter if Smitty said they needed Baker back,to resign him at those years and salary is all on Dimitroff. That said I do think TD is smart enough to learn from his mistakes. Smitty's clock management alone drove me bug chit LOL. Going to be good to see Quinn's approach.

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In think the whole drafting boyscouts thing was all on smith

I disagree with this.

I think the emphasis on character has been a part of the culture of our organisation for a some time and comes down from the top. Mr. Blank has always prided himself in building a classy organisation and Rich McKay is the guy who developed the whole character based approach to drafting whilst in Tampa.

Smith and TD may have bought in to it, but I don't think they started it.

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Exactly. The last two years he was grasping at straws. The signings were indicative of that as well. Then we had 'hybrid' schemes also known as players in wrong positions etc.

Yup,and this is no indictment of smitty. Quinn may lose some fire 5 yrs into it. Read John madden's autobiography...he talks how coaches as a whole staying more than 5 yrs at a place usually ends bad. It's a pressure cooker job.

Off topic slightly, the longevity and creativity factor is what makes belichik so great

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personally, i think it comes down to whether or not you think that arthur blank knows what is good for this franchise or not. if you feel he is the best owner in the nfl and a shrewd evaluator of the personnell the franchise needs to be succesfull, then keeping dimi and getting rid of smith speaks volumes about who is the primary culpritt for the decline this franchise has experienced.

We had some major missteps past three seasons caused by poor player evaluation, which in my view lays on TD's lap, and poor coaching decisions, which lays on Smith. Cleveland/Detroit losses sealed smith's fate. to Smith's credit, Falcons as a team never gave up and were in it till the end, which is a tribute to him as a motivator and coach, IMHO, especially with all the injuries team sustained. But it was time for him to go, team needed the infusion of energy that Quinn brings.

It's always easier to fire the coach, who is always the first fall guy when changes are needed. TD got demoted of some power, which he should have been, and was kept to keep some continuity of past successes 2008-2012

Edited by Vandy
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The Baker decision was tough for the front office. Baker was coming off a healthy season where he had been an above average starter.

We already had Lamar Holmes on the roster, but chances of Lamar Holmes becoming a long term franchise LT to replace Baker were always very small. Not many franchise LT's can be found at the back of the 3rd round of the draft, and every single scouting report saw him as a raw, long term prospect.

The alternative free agency options were also very limited at the time when Baker was re-signed. The only more accomplished OT on the market was Jake Long, who was a big injury risk, cost significantly more and been as bad as Baker over the last 2 years. We were also picking 29th in the draft that year with a ton of other needs, so we weren't in a great position to draft a replacement either.

I can understand why we re-signed Baker in the circumstances, and the size of the contract was pretty much fair reflection of his abilities as a serviceable (if not slightly abover average) starting veteran LT. The problem with the deal, was that we didn't adequately address the risk that he might not stay healthy and we guaranteed too much of the contract - meaning that we weren't in a good position to cut him and move on, in the worst case scenario.

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While I'm admittedly not reading all of that, I will add my brief input regarding Dimitroff. As far as I'm concerned, he should not be employed after the last 2 seasons. His absolute inability to draft good players in the later rounds is either a case of extremely bad luck, terrible general management, or both. And it's not just the confusing busts like Konz in which we all thought he would turn out well. I can't remember any draft expert giving the Lamar Holmes pick a good grade. It's like everybody expected him to fail, and then he failed. To me, the same with Dez Southward. While I want nothing more than to see him succeed, I hated the pick the second it was announced. I hope he proves me wrong.

With all of that said, TD salvaged a lot with this draft. It was a slam dunk, and I credit a large part of that to Pioli and Quinn. If things go according to plan and we get back up on our feet next year (led by Beasley, Coleman, and co.), Dimitroff may have accomplished the impossible (IMO) and include himself in Atlanta's future.

Oh, and I didn't like the Collins pick at all. I get it though.

I get the complaint about "missing in the latter rounds" but those guys always need coaching. We didn't have good coaches who could develop talent.

A GM can only do as much as his HC. I always liken the GM/HC relationship to the HC being the chef and the GM buying the groceries based on what the chef asks for and the chef approves. This draft has Quinn's and Shanny's fingerprints all over them with the same grocery shopper. Coincidence? No.

Not directed at Mono: A lot of people want to put this on Pioli. I don't get how. TD is Pioli's boss. Quinn talks about and with TD, not Pioli. When the Beasley was picked, who made the phone call? This conspiracy theory about what's going on around here is quite sad.

I personally don't feel highly of many GMs, as they all are only good if they have a good HC and QB, because that QB gives you a fighting chance every year and the HC comes up with the schemes to help the GM find the correct talent. We went from a 3-4 defense in FA and the draft last year to a 4-2-5 during training camp. That's a lack of direction and mismatch of talent because of it. The GM can't change the scheme.

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I have never been neither a TD or Smith basher but in the end, the head coach is the guy is is responsible in my mind. If you are a good coach, you pick your staff, communicate your vision and articulate what players can make that happen. If FO is making decisions for you, then it is either because the coach did not communicate the real need or they don't trust you. TD, SP, RM and AB are business men who like football. The coaches and the players are football.

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Mike Smiths inability to evaluate talent was the biggest problem. That and he never had the balls to replace veteran starters therefore even if talent was drafted it never had a chance

This is why Smitty is gone and TD is still here. Did you notice how the defense got better as young guys started to see the field because of injuries?

I think Smitty was a good coach but terrible at player development and too stubborn about keeping vets in place and young players on the bench.

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People accuse TD of not finding "good players" in the later rounds. It depends what you mean by good players.

IMO you have to look at our results in perspective. Look at the number or pro-bowlers drafted in rounds 4-7 since 2008. Last time I checked, it was about 1 in every 50 picks, that did so, and about half of them were kickers, punters and other ST'ers. The chances of finding the next Richard Sherman or Greg Hardy are tiny.

What TD has done over the years, is find a lot of role players and backups and his draft pick retention rate is among the very best. The lack of gems is down in part to the scarcity of such players, but also a character based approach that yields high floor, low ceiling players. I am happy to take a few more calculated risks on guys with issues and on unpolished players with great measurables. I think increases the odds of finding the gems, but it inevitably means a greater risk of guys busting.

Edit - I went back and checked. From the 5 drafts from 2008-12, 25 players in rounds 4-7 have been to a pro-bowl. That is 25 pro-bowlers from a total of about 800 picks. 6 of the 25 were ST players. I Didn't look at 2013 or 14, as those guys have only been in the league 2 years.

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He appears more adaptable than I originally thought. Originally I thought he was more of "this is my decision" or "I know more than you" type of GM but it appears he is doing better now that he has a solid team around him...Quinn, Pioli, Vital...which may indicates he is a more team guy than I thought. So now I don't think I can base the successes or failures solely on him.

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Wait a second...didn't drafting duties get stripped from Dimitroff this offseason. So you have a lame duck GM who is also the "equipment manager" and it clearly came out that Quinn has final roster decisions and Pioli was doing the scouting and the draft this year and some around here are giving Dimitroff credit???

Is it just a coincidence that once Dimitroff is neuteredby Blank that the picks get better and actually have relevance in a head coaches plan? Some of you idiots have your fanboy heads up the Falcons a$$es so far it is funny. I did not like Smith as a coach but to blame horrible personnel decisions and even worse drafts on a guy that is no longer here and was NOT the GM is moronic..buy typical around here.

Objectivity.

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In think the whole drafting boyscouts thing was all on smith

No sir.

With the YKW meltdown,,,,,,,,the Eagle Scout mentality was a Arty Blank Mandate.

This might add some perspective.

My neighbor is a Bucs fan, she is totally pissed at the Winston pick.

She abhors the thug like mentality , and my comment was that every team

needs a few thugs.

Falcons fans know this pain all too well.

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The real problem, was that Smith didn't seem to have a clear vision of what he wanted the team to be and what we needed to get there, especially after Nolan became DC.

Initially, we were a traditional 4-3 Defense and our perosnnel decisions reflected that. When Nolan came in, we went from quick penetrating d-linemen to stouter guys better suited to a 3-4. We became a mishmash of 4-3 and 3-4 personnel, running some bizarre big nickel hybrid scheme with no pass rush, where so many players looked out out position.

The level and nature of criticism that TD gets is unjustified. He had always been a good talent evaluator. His pick retention rate and the playing time they get has always been amongst the best in the NFL - and for 5 years we were a serious contender on the back of that. He has made mistakes though. We traded away too many picks from 11-13. The Julio Jones trade was too expensive and crippled our talent and depth in several areas. The picks used in that trade needed to be used to rebuild the OL and find a long term replacements for some of our ageing key veterans guys. At times he has also placed too much emphasis on character types (intelligent, hard working leadership types), valuing these attributes over better players in the me and late round, adding high floor, low ceiling types. That enabled him to find a lot of contributors, but not enough real gems. In the last 2 years we have now found a better balance in that respect, black-dotting fewer people and taking a few more risks on boom/bust guys with higher ceilings.

Finally someone gets it. It would appear that they believed by getting a Julio they thought that they had a shot at a Superbowl run. It would seem to me that Nolan would have been the one that was suggesting guys for his scheme or telling people what he needed. We had far better results on defense with Vangorder. When we changed DC and needed to flip talent we were slow aquiring it and had to probably take some FAs that were not the best fit due to not having the picks or lacking the picks to stock the roster.

Leadership and group dynamics or group psychology is a interesting thing as well. In other words it was just time for a change. There is a reason that the military transfers people on a regular basis that does not get talked about a lot. It is called complacency. People tend to fall into the ruts and after being somewhere for a while the same tactics that were used to motivate and inspire start to lose some of their effectiveness. Smith even admitted to this last year what they realized after this season is the players had also and it was time to change. TD has never been a bad evaluator of talent but you also need that fresh influx of players for the very reason I am talking about here. While I do not resent the results they got I am not a fan of the philosophy they used to come just short of a superbowl. We mortgaged drafts to get a couple of specific players. Hopefully now that we seem to have that core of essential players we can continue to do what we have done the last 2 years and draft value throughout the draft.

Edited by Sobeit
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