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Falcons GM Candidate: Cheat Sheet


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At this point, I think the Falcons are trending for a complete reboot. From the front office to the field, this thing needs to be scraped and rebuilt. That includes TD. But I've been doing some digging and research on potential GMs and came upon an interesting article:

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NFL Coaches’ Power Is Increasing—and the Appeal of the GM Job Is Changing Because of It

With that dynamic in place all over the league (and given that a couple of teams may be looking for new GMs next year), it’s worth exploring what does make an attractive GM opening in the modern NFL. In the past, quality GM jobs were typically defined by a team’s quarterback situation. If a franchise had an established passer in place, that made for an appealing landing spot. But now, that thinking has shifted because of the sheer number of teams that do have an answer at the position. Nearly every organization in the NFL will start either a highly drafted rookie or a proven veteran at QB in 2019; in years past, the chance to build around a player like Sam Darnold or Deshaun Watson would be a potential GM’s dream. Now, those situations aren’t all that uncommon.

At this point, the ideal GM landing spot comes not only with a quality QB, but with the flexibility to remake a team from scratch. When Ballard took over in Indianapolis before the 2017 season, he was able to tear down the entire roster around Andrew Luck and rebuild it as he saw fit. And after the Colts were spurned by Josh McDaniels in their coaching search last spring, Ballard found Frank Reich, who has already emerged as one of the best coaches in the league.

https://www.theringer.com/nfl/2019/6/13/18677540/general-manager-jobs-appeal-texans-nick-caserio-jets-joe-douglas

I skipped a lot of the article but figured this excerpt was the most relevant. If you want to read the whole article, you can click the link. The important part is the bolded part. Whatever GM the Falcons go with this offseason needs the latitude that Chris Ballard got with the Colts. They had Luck, but everything else around him was expendable. If Blank doesn't give the next GM the room to go this route, the Falcons will be stuck in limbo for the rest of Matt's career here with no foreseeable out. Even take the Saints. I compare the situation we are in right now to the three straight 7-9 seasons Payton had. He got the chance to stick around because the offense was always lights out and they never looked fully inept as a team as this Falcons group has. But they had to tear that defense down to the studs and it took time. They tried the Cover 3 fad and abandoned it as fast as possible because they saw where the league was going. 

Right now, the Falcons are in a unique situation compared to the teams they currently hang with record wise. They have the best QB, by far, of any team with a losing record right now. That's the hardest part to get right for a GM and the potential to step in and have a former MVP leading the team, that's unheard of. Throw in the overall talent on offense in an offensive driven league, and a GM could see this as a solid enough opportunity. The part that they will need is to find a HC that can make this roster hum as is on offense while getting the leeway from Blank to fully reconstruct this defense, not based on some copy cat version of another team's success, but of general ability. The Colts defense, led by Eberflus, is just a solid unit. They aren't great, but they function. This defense in Atlanta can't even do that. They need a GM who will take a good hard look at this roster, without the blinders of having drafted these guys, and decide who is truly worth keeping and building around. As of now, the only guarantees are Grady and Debo due to their contracts. Beyond that, this is a full rebuild.

With that being said, since future GMs are a bit harder to track than future HC options, here are some options that could begin to emerge as we approach 2020 that could potentially be Atlanta Falcon employees before Valentine's Day:

Eliot Wolf

Eliot Wolf is the son of Hall of Fame general manager Ron Wolf, who helped turn the Green Bay Packers into a consistent champion contender in the 1990’s. Wolf is credited with playing a large role in the Browns recent draft classes. His roots in the NFL started as a scout and was able to quickly climb the ladder in the Packers’ front office. His rise to becoming Green Bay’s director of player personnel and then director of football operations along with his blood lines made it seem like he was destined to become the Packers general manager at some point. He was the assumed heir apparent to the GM throne in Green Bay before going to Cleveland with John Dorsey. He's young enough (37 years old) to relate to the new brand of football but enough experience in one of the best FO's in the past decade in Green Bay. Would he leave Cleveland just yet? Who knows. But he's leaving eventually. 

Will McClay

Will McClay is the current vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys. He's been heralded in the Dallas front office and has been running their drafts for six years now. Players picked during his run? Zack Martin, DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott and Leighton Vander Esch. He's been leading their drafts since 2014 and has turned Cowboys draft classes from embarrassments to teaching tape stuff. He's played, coached, and scouted at various levels (AFL, XFL, NFL). He's done a great job as a under the radar front office guy in Dallas, but similar to Wolf, would he want to leave Dallas? 

Trent Kirchner

Yep, another Seattle personnel man. This time it's Trent Kirchner. He's been scouting in the NFL for 17 years. Tons of experience. Worked in Seattle and Carolina early on before returning to Seattle with Schneider. Was promoted to his current post in 2015. Was credited with a number of key moves made in the Seattle tenure (Michael Bennett, Marshawn Lynch, Cliff Avril) but seems to have a better pro scouting track record than input on drafting personnel. Concern would be on his approach to building around him to fill in this gap, but he's got plenty of experience. 

George Paton

George Paton has been with the Vikings for 12 years now. Their draft results speak for themselves. Constant top classes and a roster that has always been very balanced with few holes under the Zimmer-Spielman regime. They've struggled to nail the QB spot, but have landed talent everywhere else on that roster. They've built that roster largely through the draft and it's an impressive group. He's interviewed a number of times in the past and has been a finalist for a number of times, most recently the Niners, but has been passed over for a variety of reasons. He'll get his name thrown around again. He's worked alongside Spielman for pretty much his entire career, so it remains to be seen who he is as his own man running the show. 

Alonzo Highsmith

Alonzo Highsmith had been with the Packers for 19 years before joining the Browns staff. He was on the staff under Ted Thompson, just like Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst, who ended up getting the GB GM job. All three of those guys were major parts of building that Packers team. You already see the work Gutekunst has done to change the way GB operates. Going and getting Zadarius and Preston Smith would have never happened under Thompson. Letting Mike Daniels and Morgan Burnett walk would have never happened. Yet, they were the right moves. In Cleveland, you already see the difference in operation with John Dorsey but with Wolf and Highsmith underneath him, they are both gaining very valuable experiences. Highsmith was a former RB, #3 overall pick in the 1987 draft. He chose Miami over Bama and Notre Dame because of the challenge of turning around a program and he did that at UM. That's what drew him to Cleveland, where they've made some bold moves to push the culture and program in Cleveland forward into 2019. It hasn't taken hold yet, but they have a lot of the right things in place to finally shed their laughing stock label. One of the thing that I like about Highsmith is his boxing background. He's a fighter, through and through. Posted a 27-1-1 record as a fighter and admitted to having a chip on his shoulder when he returned to the NFL as a scout after a very short NFL career after being the #3 pick. Would be an interesting pick but I'd be for it if we landed Wolf and were able to lure Highsmith with him. 

This obviously isn't a complete list, but who I think will be on the Falcons short list, should they move on from TD. The coaches they'd bring with them remain a mystery. If they'd be willing to co-exist with a HC who has final roster say is another. But by and large, this isn't a bad situation for GM hopefuls. Much better than some of the other situations they could see themselves looking at (WAS, CIN, MIA, TB). Hopefully through all of this, the roster proves to make us the favorite landing spot for a top GM-HC duo to right this ship.  

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Read this article and meet your new Falcons GM, you could even keep DQ as coach, but they would have to give this dude complete control and move McKay out: 

Ed Dodds ladies and gentlemen, HE built the Seahwaks and current Colts roster, enjoy the read: 

https://www.stampedeblue.com/2019/5/20/18631839/ed-dodds-is-a-top-gm-candidate-so-how-long-can-the-colts-keep-him

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2 minutes ago, Refried Beans said:

I would even be cool with a Ed Dodd evaluating the talent and making the picks and TD managing the cap. Kick McKay out and leave DQ coach. Dodd built Legion of Boom and he built a Colts roster that is solid top to bottom and could do same here. 

Quinn has to go. His belief in fast and physical is played out. We need bigger and physical. Line backer speed is there but our tranches on D need a re do sans Grady. If Quinn stays he’ll make the GM get the same type of guys in here. Light, quick, and manhandled in the run game. The philosophy has to change. It’s been 5 years. It ain’t working. 

Look at the other NFC Souths D line. Size and toughness all over the place. 

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Gleason, Quinn is being undermined by his owner, you cant see that? A defensinve minded coach who drafted a WR with a first round pick the year before is not going to agree to sign a aging WR veteran to a long term deal, this is Blank undermining his coach. A defensive minded coach from Seattle isnt going to hire Dirk Koetter, That again is Blank undermining his coach, We went to Superbowl and were a play away from NFC Championship without Shannahan the next year. Quinn didnt just forget how to coach. He is being undermined by his owner and is doing the same thing Mora did and basically giving up. We could have used the money we WASTED on Julio to get corner help. Ed Dodds built the Legion of Boom, and he is doing the same thing in Indianapolis, with Ed Dodds picking the players, and TD running the cap, DQ would have the players he needs. DQ is just echoing what Ed Dodds is saying in this article, DQ just cant evaluate and draft as well as Ed Dodds. Dodds is the missing piece. Trade Julio, fire Koetter, hire Dodds, fire mcKay tell Blank to get out of the way and let's win this thing. 

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Dodds doesn't want to be the lead guy. Doesn't like the attention. I'd be for him but all of my research kept saying that. He's greatly. Largely qualified. 

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Ed Dodds, Indianapolis Colts

If you ask 10 front-office people around the league who the best scout in the NFL is, chances are you’re going to hear Ed Dodds’ name the most. The current assistant general manager with the Indianapolis Colts, no one in the league is more widely acknowledged as the top scout, which is why Ballard poached Dodds from Seattle and gave him a right-hand seat to his throne in Indianapolis.

Why isn’t Dodds a household name? As I’ve been told, he doesn’t particularly like the attention that comes with being a decision-maker and might not even have the desire to be a general manager. That would be great news for the Colts, but Dodds should start getting calls soon to interview for top jobs.

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He was pissed off, tired of all the attention they were getting, tired of hearing how good they were and how great they were gonna be. The room needed some truth, some leveling, so eight days after it ended, emotions still raw, weeks and months of grueling work ahead, the **** Patriots punching another trip to the Super Bowl on the TV screen a few feet away, Ed Dodds gathered his scouts inside a bar in Mobile, Ala., and gave it to them.

“We ain’t done **** yet,” the Colts assistant general manager told them. “We won a ******* wild-card game.”

You don’t get trophies for AFC wild-card games, and Dodds didn’t come to Indianapolis to win wild-card games. But two years in, anyone could see: the rebuild was working. The Colts had flipped 4-12 into 10-6, won a playoff game and had a roster stocked with young talent. The pundits couldn’t help but praise. The Colts were coming. Soon.

But Dodds didn’t wanna hear it, and didn’t want his scouts thinking it. If there’s anything that scares the **** out of him, it’s complacency. He fears it. Fights it. To him it just felt like it needed to be said, then and there, the night before they went to work at the Senior Bowl in late January, the unofficial kickoff to an exhaustive three-month stretch that would ready the entire personnel department for that spring’s draft. So he lit into them.

“I just felt like everyone was jacked, we’re on this win streak, and I’m kinda like, what the **** does it matter?” Dodds said a few months later. “If we don’t go to a Super Bowl, so what? A couple of injuries, bomb a couple of draft picks, no one in the pipeline to replace the players you lost? You gotta be relentless. You can’t stop. I don’t.”

Dodds has done this for a decade and a half, so he knows. He cut his teeth in Oakland, learning from Al Davis that B.S. won’t get you far in this league.

“With Mr. Davis, you learned quickly,” Dodds explains, “that if you don’t know the answer to a question, just say you don’t know and take your ***-beating right there. Don’t guess.”

His next stop was Seattle, where he climbed from low-level scout to front-office Swiss Army knife, helping build a monster that came a yard short of two straight Vince Lombardi Trophies.

Then, in the winter of 2017, the call came, the call he knew was coming. His friend of 25 years, Chris Ballard, needed help reviving the Colts.

Twenty-seven months in and Dodds’ fingerprints are all over Indy’s staggering turnaround, from the late-night claim of undrafted corner Kenny Moore to the free-agent push of line-wrecker Denico Autry.

He’s become known as one of the sharpest talent evaluators in football.

“A scout at heart,” more than one league source calls him.

Most figure he’ll end up a GM, and soon. Dodds, just 39, doesn’t blink when you ask about the next step – the biggest step. He knows it’s coming. He’s also not in a big hurry.

“You’re gonna get one chance to do it,” he said. “And I don’t wanna do it until I’m overprepared.”

But that decision will have to wait. The Colts aren’t there yet. All they’ve done is win a f***ing wild-card game.

“We’re not gonna just walk in and think we’re done,” Dodds said. “I’ve seen too many teams and places, like, you sense it, ‘OK, we’ve arrived, we had a good year.’ They just kind of sit on their laurels. Like, no, you gotta keep going. We’re gonna keep going.”

I like him. A lot. But I don't think he'll seriously consider a GM move yet. 

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Despite the risk of being called a TD homer, I’m not for canning TD necessarily. Sure, if absolutely better candidates are available, but our GM has worked with two HCs, the last with a ton of personnel control and done pretty dang well. DQ wanted certain types and TD made it happen. Ditto with Smitty,

I think DQ literally got his man card yanked after that super bowl and he’s never descended his wee balls and lost his edge.

New HC and TD will work great

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Vel, 

That's why I was saying keep TD to be the spot light guy and let TD handle the cap but let Dodds be the man who makes the call and evaluates the players, he built a team before for Quinn he can do it again. But just to make sure we are not too top heavy get McKay out of the picture. His time has passed. They Julio and Koetter signings show that McKay doesnt need to be here 

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3 minutes ago, MSalmon said:

Despite the risk of being called a TD homer, I’m not for canning TD necessarily. Sure, if absolutely better candidates are available, but our GM has worked with two HCs, the last with a ton of personnel control and done pretty dang well. DQ wanted certain types and TD made it happen. Ditto with Smitty,

I think DQ literally got his man card yanked after that super bowl and he’s never descended his wee balls and lost his edge.

New HC and TD will work great

I'm fine with TD.... if you want more of the same. TD gets blame for keeping Vic at $13MM. Yes, DQ has finally say so, but TD is still GM. His responsibilities:

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Dimitroff is responsible for all aspects of football operations with the Falcons and working with Quinn when constructing the roster. He has final authority over all the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the draft, and trades.

They passed on trading Vic, instead thinking it was smarter to pay someone that much money who could barely break 5 sacks 3 out of 4 seasons, but were chasing that lone All Pro season. That's fireable. His FA crop was good. His drafts have improved under DQ. But I'm not willing to blindly run it back with TD. 

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1 minute ago, Refried Beans said:

Vel, 

That's why I was saying keep TD to be the spot light guy and let TD handle the cap but let Dodds be the man who makes the call and evaluates the players, he built a team before for Quinn he can do it again. But just to make sure we are not too top heavy get McKay out of the picture. His time has passed. They Julio and Koetter signings show that McKay doesnt need to be here 

Naw I think just clean house if you're going that route. McKay provides league value in CBA negotiations, competition committee and other parts of the league. He's just a Falcons employee. Firing him wouldn't do anything and TD has no capability of stepping into his shoes. Showing frustration to McKay is misplaced. He's Blank's right hand man, nothing to do with roster building. 

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Vel, if you want to pop TD I say pop him, your call but I am going all in on Ed Dodds, he's the guy I want no non-sense that will come in here and hold this front office accountable. And when I hire Ed Dodds I am asking him to make the call on DQ, if Ed Dodds thinks he can work with himit's his call, but I also am not leaving abunch of rift raft in the guys way, I am getting rid of McKay, Koetter, and trading Julio to Oakland while he still has value to give Dodds another first round pick.  

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2 minutes ago, vel said:

Dimitroff is responsible for all aspects of football operations with the Falcons and working with Quinn when constructing the roster. He has final authority over all the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the draft, and trades.

Although that may have come from the Falcons, it is very poorly worded as final authority means "signs the paperwork".  Quinn has final say on the 53 man roster, so how could TD have final say on trades, draft and free agents?

Quinn reports to Blank, not to TD and it was Quinn's decision to keep TD around.  

 

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There is no doubt in my mind the Atlanta job is going to be very sought after if Blank does the right thing. Like Vel put it, very rarely does a team with GM needs already have a good QB on the roster. From a roster standpoint, the offense is pretty much set outside of a few areas that will be addressed.  

The owner isn’t terrible either which will be a big plus to the more picky executives. The types who always interview in the offseason but usually end up staying. Vel named a few of them like Patton. 

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18 minutes ago, MSalmon said:

Despite the risk of being called a TD homer, I’m not for canning TD necessarily. Sure, if absolutely better candidates are available, but our GM has worked with two HCs, the last with a ton of personnel control and done pretty dang well. DQ wanted certain types and TD made it happen. Ditto with Smitty,

I think DQ literally got his man card yanked after that super bowl and he’s never descended his wee balls and lost his edge.

New HC and TD will work great

Quinn was a crap coach before the collapse... I feel I'm the only one who remembers his constant awful game management blunders that cost us at least a couple of wins in 2015. In 2016 we still struggled with game management and defense but our offense was just too good... even so, people also seem to forget how close we were to wasting one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history needing to run the table after dropping to 7-5 just to make the playoffs. 2017 saw us benefit from having a very soft schedule and pretty much a 100% return of the team that broke records the year before and we also benefited from having absolutely no major injuries. I know people say we were close that season based off of the fact we beat the overrated Rams team, and were "one play away from beating the Eagles", but objective fans know we weren't beating Minnesota in Minny and for sure 100% would have had no prayer of beating New England in a rematch. The 2017 team was not "close" in my humble opinion. Only impressive feat in 5 years as coach was riding Shanny's offense that one year. That's it. 

Edited by Dr Long Shot
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3 minutes ago, Refried Beans said:

JeffAtl No way I believe Quinn was in on signing Julio to longer term deal with the issues we had on defense, especially corner. And no way of all the offensive coordinators out there I believe Quinn picked a retread like Koetter. 

You might be right on Julio, but that would be on Blank.  He is the one who stated that he is a Falcon for life.

Think about it, if TD wanted to trade or cut Beasley, Julio or Ryan, do you think that he could?  

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