Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Cole World

Blank counting on co-team builders to lead a turnaround

66 posts in this topic

Quote

Blank counting on co-team builders to lead a turnaround 

Fixing the offensive line is No. 1 priority 

Updated Feb 08, 2019

By

After the messy ending to last season, Falcons coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff started forging onward into the 2019 campaign.

Quinn got back in the office Jan. 29, the Tuesday before the Super Bowl, and they started the evaluation of the roster that resulted in the release of cornerback Robert Alford, kicker Matt Bryant and defensive end Brooks Reed last week, which created an additional $15.2 in salary-cap space. 

 
 

“Still they are, that’s accurate,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution when asked if Dimitroff and Quinn were still co-team builders. “But you judge a coach and general manager not in the same parameters. There are different disciplines that they are responsible for. One could be successful and one not.”

Much was made of Dimitroff and Quinn going into a “must-win” season after going 7-9 and firing all of the coordinators. Blank said that the two parties were not necessarily linked together. 

“An example would be when we made a move with coach (Mike) Smith and we kept Thomas,” Blank said of Smith’s dismissal after the 2014 season. “It was just because we felt we needed to make a coaching change with great respect and fondness for everything that Mike Smith did for us, five winning seasons in a row, multiple playoffs, but we felt after a couple of very disappointing seasons, we felt we had to have a change in that area. 

 

“We didn’t think it was necessary in terms of our general manager.”

 

After Smith followed a 6-10 season with a 4-12 stinker, the coach with the most wins in team history was dismissed.  

The decision to move on from Alford, Bryant and Reed were the easy ones. 

 
 

The major offseason program will be rebuilding the offensive line. The rebuild of an offensive line was a factor in Smith’s dismissal. 

If the scouting department whiffs again, it likely would be trouble for Quinn. 

“Can he? Yes, he can?” Blank said when asked if Dimitroff could fix the offensive line. “Most importantly, the coach and Thomas believe that’s probably our No. 1 priority.”

The Falcons know that quarterback Matt Ryan is most effective when he can step up into the interior of the pocket. The Falcons started six different guards last season, and the interior of the pocket was not firm. 

“Matt plays much better when he’s vertical as opposed to horizontal,” Blank said. “The running game is an important part of the passing game in the total offense. If we depend on one versus the other you are not going to get a successful outcome.”

The Falcons are counting on new/returning offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to re-establishing the rushing attack. 

Koetter was the Falcons’ offensive coordinator under Smith from 2012-14. He helped the Falcons reach the NFC title game after the 2012 season. 

“The advantage of bringing back Dirk Koetter is that he had good balance when he was with the Falcons,” Blank said. “In Tampa he had a great balance as well. He respects the running game really deeply.”

The Falcons felt they lost their way on offense under offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian the past two seasons after going to the Super Bowl under Kyle Shanahan.

“So, coach Quinn feels strongly that he wants to get back to that brand of football, as well,” Blank said. “It doesn’t mean that Matt won’t be throwing for 5,000 yards again. It does mean that we’ll have more balance. So, we have the personnel to do that, but we need some help on the offensive line.”

Dimitroff, in a radio-row interview during Super Bowl week, stated that the Falcons will not spend “boldly” in free agency. 

“We will be very manageable and mindful about how we are going to be approaching free agency,” Dimitroff said. “We are not just going to throw money at it for the sake of it.”

So the offensive-line help will have to come from low-budget free agents, the draft or from players on the roster. 

The Falcons coaches have told Blank they are not switching to a power-run scheme, thus they’ll still look for smaller, quicker linemen who fit the cut-blocking system. 

“It’s a combination of outside and inside zone,” Blank said. “It’s going to be a zone scheme, but it’s going to be a combination.” 

So, the Falcons have started the push toward improving their roster. Dimitroff has said he new contracts for defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and wide receiver Julio Jones. 

The Falcons likely will make a few more moves before the team heads to the scouting combine, which is set for Feb. 26-March 4 in Indianapolis. 

Blank wanted to be clear about the team structure moving forward. 

“The coach has final say on the roster and what have you,” Blank said. “That was clear when we hired Dan four years ago. It’s his fifth season now. 

“I think he and Thomas have a very much shared vision for the club. They make decisions collaboratively. That doesn’t mean they always agree. They respectfully disagree.”

Blank likes that they listen to each other.

“Sometimes, Dan will talk Thomas into something and vice versa,” Blank said. “So, we understand that ... in most cases I would say if there is really strong disagreement from one or the other, they would tend to move on and try to find a different solution that they have a common feeling about.”

After missing the playoffs and watching the Rams flail against the Patriots in the Super Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Falcons’ owner wants a quick reboot to contender status. Dimitroff and Quinn will be charged with leading the way. 

“They have that much respect for each other,” Blank said. “They are connected at the hip only in terms of their charge to make the team better and roster better and our team to perform better. But beyond that, they are not connected. They have different jobs and different responsibilities. They are not a twin by any means.”

Now, folks can turn their attention back to the roster.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

The Falcons coaches have told Blank they are not switching to a power-run scheme, thus they’ll still look for smaller, quicker linemen who fit the cut-blocking system. 

“It’s a combination of outside and inside zone,” Blank said. “It’s going to be a zone scheme, but it’s going to be a combination.” 

As a reminder

 

JDaveG, Ergo Proxy and Vandy like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As much as I want Simmons or Oliver, if they are not there I'm all for moving back and targeting Dalton Risner or Chris Lindstrom. 

Both seem to play with an edge. Risner would offer more versatility but Lindstrom is a beast as well. Lindstrom reminds me of Kevin Zeitler, who was drafted by the Bengals with the 27th pick in the 1st round of the 2012 draft. 

Risner would be a nice understudy to Mack.

 

Vandy, Ergo Proxy and Falconsin2012 like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So the offensive-line help will have to come from low-budget free agents, the draft or from players on the roster. 

Oh boy.

  • Low Budget Free Agents - tried this forever
  • The Draft - will likely take draft picks two or three years to settle in
  • Players On The Roster - laughable

Dimi better get this right or it might be his turn to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Cole World said:

Dimitroff has said he new contracts for defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and wide receiver Julio Jones. 

What the heck?  Orlando, as usual, doesn’t proof read. Nor do his colleagues at the AJC properly edit his work.

How, for the love of the English language, is this even possible as a professional sports writer?

He, and they, should be held accountable. Obviously they have low standards.

Otherwise I enjoyed the article.  I don’t believe he’s a bad writer, it’s just that nobody, including himself, reviews & refines his work.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1970 said:

So the offensive-line help will have to come from low-budget free agents, the draft or from players on the roster. 

Oh boy.

  • Low Budget Free Agents - tried this forever
  • The Draft - will likely take draft picks two or three years to settle in
  • Players On The Roster - laughable

Dimi better get this right or it might be his turn to go.

It’s difficult to disagree with your points. Even if it’s only one, solid FA, we probably don’t need to halfazz it again.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Won't be surprised if they roll with Schraeder and Sambrailo at RT to battle it out and bank on fixing the interior. TD already made the comment that guys transfer quicker at OG coming out of college. Should tell you what you need to know. Doubt they go OG at #14, which means they're probably looking hard at DL there then fixing the interior OL in the 2nd/3rd. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, vel said:

Won't be surprised if they roll with Schraeder and Sambrailo at RT to battle it out and bank on fixing the interior. TD already made the comment that guys transfer quicker at OG coming out of college. Should tell you what you need to know. Doubt they go OG at #14, which means they're probably looking hard at DL there then fixing the interior OL in the 2nd/3rd. 

While I agree with this approach, it wouldn't surprise me if we got at least a mid-tier FA OL signing that's a step above Fusco; again at minimum, before the draft and keep an open mind to moves during the draft; etc. When things go down is it better to trade down, get your guy, or ? and determine is it OL or DL?

I agree it could very well be a DL as the best option at 14; not surprising, and IMO we could still trade up from our 2nd rounder for an OL that falls to 30ish overall that we prefer over remaining OL.

Not like we can't afford something of the $10M FA OG nature with Schraeder's contract possibly being gone by June; especially if he doesn't win the RT job. After all how can we justify overpaying him as the 3rd OT if he isn't the starter and hasn't re-structured? That's more money towards FA right there. (and that first year can be lower btw on such a contract)

Fixing the interior OL will mean a lot, but we also need to be able to pass block at RT in OBVIOUS passing situations. Unfortunately, that was far too often last year and RS was always a better run blocker than pass blocker. Our run game needs fixing and the pass protection will follow; mostly anyway. You can do way more when they respect the run looks/formations/play-action.

Edited by Ergo Proxy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Cole World said:

As much as I want Simmons or Oliver, if they are not there I'm all for moving back and targeting Dalton Risner or Chris Lindstrom. 

Both seem to play with an edge. Risner would offer more versatility but Lindstrom is a beast as well. Lindstrom reminds me of Kevin Zeitler, who was drafted by the Bengals with the 27th pick in the 1st round of the 2012 draft. 

Risner would be a nice understudy to Mack.

 

Still on the Ford Taylor train here I think either guy could make that RT there own year one.

If not those guys round 2 I’m looking Howard or Dillard.

If we are going pure G Lindstrom Jenkins with the latter in competition with Schweitzer as long term replacement for Mack.

Cole World likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Collaborative team building who’d have thought not the BS it’s TDs fault when something or someone is a bad pick mentality that’s been floating round here for years.Then reverse the narrative when the opposite happens to the good side of the ledger.

Cole World likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

The major offseason program will be rebuilding the offensive line. The rebuild of an offensive line was a factor in Smith’s dismissal. 

If the scouting department whiffs again, it likely would be trouble for Quinn. 

“Can he? Yes, he can?” Blank said when asked if Dimitroff could fix the offensive line. “Most importantly, the coach and Thomas believe that’s probably our No. 1 priority.”

If the scouting department whiffs again, it should mean trouble for Thomas Dimitroff just as much or more than Quinn. They each have their share of successes and failures but eventually you have to allow TD to take some blame for this roster, whether that's a positive or a negative.

Arthur Blank repeatedly saying that Quinn and TD aren't tied at the hip leads you to think he would be more than willing to part with one & keep the other. If Quinn doesn't pan out, I think it's time to just clean house and begin a whole new regime. They should be tied at the hip.
 

I'm not a Dimitroff hater, but he should be held accountable this time around. I'm not sure who is who in this organization though. Was Quinn the one who wanted Neal, Deion, Grady, etc.? Or was that TD? Or Pioli?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, kiwifalcon said:

Still on the Ford Taylor train here I think either guy could make that RT there own year one.

If not those guys round 2 I’m looking Howard or Dillard.

If we are going pure G Lindstrom Jenkins with the latter in competition with Schweitzer as long term replacement for Mack.

Yes if we are targeting tackles than yes Taylor and Ford, but if were targeting G's I think Lindstrom is by far the best RG in this class. Risner could play basically all the positions outside of LT but not as well as Lindstrom could play RG.

I like Jenkins as well but there are a few others that could man the LG position and take over for Mack when he is done like Risner, McCoy, and Bradbury.

Howard is a guy I'm following as well but (OT) Tyler Roemer is my sleeper.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, TheFalcoholic said:

If the scouting department whiffs again, it should mean trouble for Thomas Dimitroff just as much or more than Quinn. They each have their share of successes and failures but eventually you have to allow TD to take some blame for this roster, whether that's a positive or a negative.

Arthur Blank repeatedly saying that Quinn and TD aren't tied at the hip leads you to think he would be more than willing to part with one & keep the other. If Quinn doesn't pan out, I think it's time to just clean house and begin a whole new regime. They should be tied at the hip.
 

I'm not a Dimitroff hater, but he should be held accountable this time around. I'm not sure who is who in this organization though. Was Quinn the one who wanted Neal, Deion, Grady, etc.? Or was that TD? Or Pioli?

Or all of thee above could have been responsible for those picks.

I think we can agree that urgent athleticism has been a go to with this Coach.

I just find the single minded ness of some to lay blame on one guy just isn’t right in this case as a lot of people’s opinions on the who what and the why come into play.

TD is at the point of the spear so I personally think it’s the easy out for alot because they really aren’t looking at the big picture they just want to allay blame.

HASHBROWN3 and Ergo Proxy like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is key for those wanting to "learn" more about football. Started 6 OGs last season. When you are quick to scream about how bad our offense was, bad our OC was or how DQ should have been fired, these are the things to pay attention to. It's a christmas miracle our offense was as good as it was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it laughable when people blast TD for his draft picks when Blank just said DQ has finial say on the roster. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, kiwifalcon said:

Or all of thee above could have been responsible for those picks.

I think we can agree that urgent athleticism has been a go to with this Coach.

I just find the single minded ness of some to lay blame on one guy just isn’t right in this case as a lot of people’s opinions on the who what and the why come into play.

TD is at the point of the spear so I personally think it’s the easy out for alot because they really aren’t looking at the big picture they just want allay blame.

I agree. This mindset of blame/credit is always going to be obtuse.  

As fans, we have personalities that we may like or dislike.  So oftentimes we assign blame or credit based upon our personal preferences.  

This thinking, over time, after committing one way or another to a player/coach/manager, may lead to an agenda in order to reinforce previously assigned guilt/praise.

It’s not healthy to have an agenda because it puts an individual above the collective whole.  It’s not difficult, personally, for me to look at the big picture.  

Behind the scenes, however, accountability is important so that past mistakes aren’t repeated.  If choosing linemen on offense has been a repetitive problem, it would be wise to explore the who & why.  

If injuries or draft capital are factors then that must be reviewed as well.  If our FA expenditure limits or our willingness to draft olinmen early are part of the problem, then those should be scrutinized also.

All things considered, I don’t get all jacked up over who gets credit or blame.  It’s a team sport.  

AB is also very much a part of this picture too I would assume.  

Ergo Proxy and kiwifalcon like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, R_The_Great said:

Thomas dimitroff has to be the biggest *** kisser. Mean while, les snead puts together a good roster

We have as strong a roster as rams do. Stronger in some areas, weaker in others....but overall our roster is up there with any team in football.

Our talent is not the problem.

Drew4719, Geneaut and Ergo Proxy like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Flying Falcon said:

Why should we be penny pinching when it comes to the OL? This has gone on far too long.

We have one of the most expensive offensive lines in the league.... Why do you guys keep saying this when you know it's not true?

Vandy, Ergo Proxy and Drew4719 like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0