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JD dirtybird21

Old Arthur Blank would have cleaned house, new one clinging to hope

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Arthur Blank is an emotional guy. One doesn’t create a new enterprise, redefine the retail industry and become a self-made billionaire without being difficult, even cold, at times. Decisions are made based on results, not friendships. The business world is filled with people who had great ideas but didn’t have the fortitude to make hard decisions, relationships be damned, and the NFL works the same way.

Blank is still emotional. But now he clings to hope. What he did Friday effectively was to stall for a year. Put aside the spin and “data” disseminated by the organization meant to douse the public brush fires (too late). The old and cold, results-oriented Blank would’ve cleaned house instead of doing what he did, which is retain coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff for at least one more season and — perhaps most stunning of all — put the once-expelled Rich McKay back in charge of football operations. McKay now oversees Quinn and Dimitroff, who was hired to replace McKay in 2008.

Don’t try to make sense of this. Just watch. Next season will either unfold like some beautiful dream or go down like Pompeii. The months between now and next September will be surrounded by more doubters in the gallery than this organization has witnessed in years.

“There will be fan backlash if we don’t win — I’d expect that,” Blank told The Athleticfollowing a news conference Friday. “But there would be fan backlash if there was a new coach and we didn’t win.”

He acknowledges there’s risk. He’s playing a dangerous game. He’s effectively giving more weight to the Falcons’ 5-2 second half than their 1-7 start. He’s assuming the coaching-staff changes that worked in desperate times will work in Game 1 next season. He’s assuming five- and six-game losing streaks in the past two years were aberrations. He’s assuming the players on this roster who played with an unfathomable lack of urgency in the first eight weeks have been humbled. He’s assuming 5-2 will have some carryover effect even though 3-0 at the end of 2018 clearly didn’t impact the start of this season.

He might be right.

Or he might be standing in front of a slot machine with his final silver dollar.

This is not the way he used to do business.

“There’s obviously risk,” Blank said after the news conference. “There’s no guarantee going into next year that we’ll be able to continue what we’ve generated in the second half of this year. But our judgment is the least amount of risk, and our best opportunity for success is staying the course.”

Blank denies the fact that he likes Quinn and Dimitroff played a role in all this. He denies that putting McKay at the top of the football flowchart again — with Dimitroff and Quinn now reporting to him — should seem strange.

But these are un-Blank-like decisions.

He fired Dan Reeves during Blank’s second year as owner in 2003, when Reeves followed a 9-6-1 season and a playoff upset of Green Bay with a 3-10 season that was generated mostly by Michael Vick’s broken leg.

He fired Jim Mora after seasons of 11-5, 8-8 and 7-9. (Although, Mora didn’t help himself by telling a sports talk radio buddy that his dream job was coaching at the University of Washington.)

He fired Mike Smith, who had five straight winning seasons and four playoff berths followed by records of 4-12 and 6-10.

Quinn is 42-37 in five seasons and 13-18 in the past two going into the season finale at Tampa Bay. He was given a pass in 2018 because of injuries. But Blank is deciding to focus more on the 5-2 second half than the 1-7 start, which rendered the second half of the season meaningless.

Blank’s own words: “After you’re 1-7, it’s kind of late. The music has stopped playing in many ways.”

Not in many ways. In every way.

At 1-6, I wrote that the season was over: Quinn had failed, and his firing appeared inevitable. Blank was heavily leaning toward making a change after the bye. An announcement was imminent, although for competitive reasons, Blank wanted to wait at least until after the trade deadline. Some in the front office suggested Blank slow down and let the season unfold.

Then came the win in New Orleans. Then in Carolina. Then in San Francisco. It didn’t change the season, but it changed Blank, who had struggled emotionally with firing Quinn and Dimitroff all along.

When the Falcons won consecutive games over the 49ers and Jacksonville, the decision was made. Blank had his weekly meeting with Quinn on Monday.

Quinn to The Athletic: “He told me, ‘You’ve learned something. So apply the things you’ve learned moving forward.’ I said, ‘I want that chance.’ He said something like, ‘OK, go prove it.’”

That was it.

The announcement news conference was finalized Thursday night. Blank taped a friendly and orchestrated interview for the team’s website. It’s the way things are done in 1984. Also 2019. The public announcement was Friday, a classic end-of-week news dump.

The Falcons had all their narratives ready Friday in an attempt to defuse fan backlash. They pointed out that New Orleans had three straight 7-9 seasons and that deciding to keep coach Sean Payton illustrates that patience pays off.

But comparing Payton’s situation to Quinn’s is disingenuous at best. Payton had won a Super Bowl and went 73-39 with only one losing season in seven years. The Saints had salary-cap problems and were going through a significant rebuild. Payton was never going to be in trouble after three 7-9 seasons.

The other bizarre aspect to this is McKay. He was pushed completely out of football operations following the 2007 season and the exit of Bobby Petrino. Blank kept McKay because of his strong ties to the NFL and the fact he needed McKay to run point on a new stadium deal.

When Mercedes-Benz Stadium was completed, McKay briefly sought to work for the NFL, The Athletic learned. A position was created for him. But he then made a U-turn and decided he wanted to remain in Atlanta. Blank allowed him to increasingly become more involved in football ops in 2018.

Blank effectively has added another layer of government. McKay is allowed to stand back, free of the mud splatter, should things blow up. Dimitroff is retained but effectively has had his authority undercut for the second time — the first came when Quinn was hired and given control of the 53-man roster — even if that’s not the way the organization is spinning things.

McKay on Quinn and Dimitroff: “They still make the decisions. I’m charged with making sure our processes work.”

Straight out of the Corporate Doublespeak handbook.

Blank has strong emotional attachments to Quinn, Dimitroff and McKay. But there was a time when he had a strong emotional attachment to McKay and took away his authority anyway.

He denies his relationships with the three played a role in his decisions: “The emotional attachment is to our fans and our franchise. It’s not to the individuals. I care about a whole lot of people. I care about their ability to perform. But this is a performance-based business.”

Blank again: “I wish I could look into a crystal ball and tell you a year from now it’s going to be a perfect decision. My belief is, given all the evidence we have in front of us, that our best opportunity to win going forward is to keep Coach Quinn and Thomas in place. It has nothing to do with loyalty, nothing to do with friendship, nothing to do with personal relationships.”

Correct. It’s about winning and losing and right now. Blank might wind up looking brilliant. But right now he looks like a man clinging more to hope than he has in the past.

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1 minute ago, JDaveG said:

Old Arthur Blank was the buffoon who wheeled Mike Vick around in his wheelchair while scowling at Dan Reeves before firing him. 

I’ll take new Arthur Blank over that idiot every day. 

Yea, thought this was an interesting write up. Schultz sounds a tad salty that Quinn and TD are still here

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6 minutes ago, JD dirtybird21 said:

Yea, thought this was an interesting write up. Schultz sounds a tad salty that Quinn and TD are still here

Schultz also sounded pretty confident during the bye the decision was already made and Quinn would be gone eventually. He has inside sources and I'm sure it was true at some point but like he said, somebody got in Blanks ear and told him to wait it out.

I don't think dude likes being wrong. A lot of touchy journalists out there.

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I'm thinking Blank's age might have something to do with this. The older you get, the more difficult it becomes to make an earth-shaking decision, one that you have no idea will pan out.

Who does he fire? Who does he hire afterward? These aren't simple questions for an NFL owner, and they affect lives...families.

Some owners just have more trouble making those moves than others, and maybe Blank is becoming that way.

It kind of makes sense, as much as I dislike it, that Blank would stick in there for one more try next year.

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18 minutes ago, octoslash said:

I'm thinking Blank's age might have something to do with this. The older you get, the more difficult it becomes to make an earth-shaking decision, one that you have no idea will pan out.

Who does he fire? Who does he hire afterward? These aren't simple questions for an NFL owner, and they affect lives...families.

Some owners just have more trouble making those moves than others, and maybe Blank is becoming that way.

It kind of makes sense, as much as I dislike it, that Blank would stick in there for one more try next year.

 

36 minutes ago, JD dirtybird21 said:

Arthur Blank is an emotional guy. One doesn’t create a new enterprise, redefine the retail industry and become a self-made billionaire without being difficult, even cold, at times. Decisions are made based on results, not friendships. The business world is filled with people who had great ideas but didn’t have the fortitude to make hard decisions, relationships be ****ed, and the NFL works the same way.

Blank is still emotional. But now he clings to hope. What he did Friday effectively was to stall for a year. Put aside the spin and “data” disseminated by the organization meant to douse the public brush fires (too late). The old and cold, results-oriented Blank would’ve cleaned house instead of doing what he did, which is retain coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff for at least one more season and — perhaps most stunning of all — put the once-expelled Rich McKay back in charge of football operations. McKay now oversees Quinn and Dimitroff, who was hired to replace McKay in 2008.

Don’t try to make sense of this. Just watch. Next season will either unfold like some beautiful dream or go down like Pompeii. The months between now and next September will be surrounded by more doubters in the gallery than this organization has witnessed in years.

“There will be fan backlash if we don’t win — I’d expect that,” Blank told The Athleticfollowing a news conference Friday. “But there would be fan backlash if there was a new coach and we didn’t win.”

He acknowledges there’s risk. He’s playing a dangerous game. He’s effectively giving more weight to the Falcons’ 5-2 second half than their 1-7 start. He’s assuming the coaching-staff changes that worked in desperate times will work in Game 1 next season. He’s assuming five- and six-game losing streaks in the past two years were aberrations. He’s assuming the players on this roster who played with an unfathomable lack of urgency in the first eight weeks have been humbled. He’s assuming 5-2 will have some carryover effect even though 3-0 at the end of 2018 clearly didn’t impact the start of this season.

He might be right.

Or he might be standing in front of a slot machine with his final silver dollar.

This is not the way he used to do business.

“There’s obviously risk,” Blank said after the news conference. “There’s no guarantee going into next year that we’ll be able to continue what we’ve generated in the second half of this year. But our judgment is the least amount of risk, and our best opportunity for success is staying the course.”

Blank denies the fact that he likes Quinn and Dimitroff played a role in all this. He denies that putting McKay at the top of the football flowchart again — with Dimitroff and Quinn now reporting to him — should seem strange.

But these are un-Blank-like decisions.

He fired Dan Reeves during Blank’s second year as owner in 2003, when Reeves followed a 9-6-1 season and a playoff upset of Green Bay with a 3-10 season that was generated mostly by Michael Vick’s broken leg.

He fired Jim Mora after seasons of 11-5, 8-8 and 7-9. (Although, Mora didn’t help himself by telling a sports talk radio buddy that his dream job was coaching at the University of Washington.)

He fired Mike Smith, who had five straight winning seasons and four playoff berths followed by records of 4-12 and 6-10.

Quinn is 42-37 in five seasons and 13-18 in the past two going into the season finale at Tampa Bay. He was given a pass in 2018 because of injuries. But Blank is deciding to focus more on the 5-2 second half than the 1-7 start, which rendered the second half of the season meaningless.

Blank’s own words: “After you’re 1-7, it’s kind of late. The music has stopped playing in many ways.”

Not in many ways. In every way.

At 1-6, I wrote that the season was over: Quinn had failed, and his firing appeared inevitable. Blank was heavily leaning toward making a change after the bye. An announcement was imminent, although for competitive reasons, Blank wanted to wait at least until after the trade deadline. Some in the front office suggested Blank slow down and let the season unfold.

Then came the win in New Orleans. Then in Carolina. Then in San Francisco. It didn’t change the season, but it changed Blank, who had struggled emotionally with firing Quinn and Dimitroff all along.

When the Falcons won consecutive games over the 49ers and Jacksonville, the decision was made. Blank had his weekly meeting with Quinn on Monday.

Quinn to The Athletic: “He told me, ‘You’ve learned something. So apply the things you’ve learned moving forward.’ I said, ‘I want that chance.’ He said something like, ‘OK, go prove it.’”

That was it.

The announcement news conference was finalized Thursday night. Blank taped a friendly and orchestrated interview for the team’s website. It’s the way things are done in 1984. Also 2019. The public announcement was Friday, a classic end-of-week news dump.

The Falcons had all their narratives ready Friday in an attempt to defuse fan backlash. They pointed out that New Orleans had three straight 7-9 seasons and that deciding to keep coach Sean Payton illustrates that patience pays off.

But comparing Payton’s situation to Quinn’s is disingenuous at best. Payton had won a Super Bowl and went 73-39 with only one losing season in seven years. The Saints had salary-cap problems and were going through a significant rebuild. Payton was never going to be in trouble after three 7-9 seasons.

The other bizarre aspect to this is McKay. He was pushed completely out of football operations following the 2007 season and the exit of Bobby Petrino. Blank kept McKay because of his strong ties to the NFL and the fact he needed McKay to run point on a new stadium deal.

When Mercedes-Benz Stadium was completed, McKay briefly sought to work for the NFL, The Athletic learned. A position was created for him. But he then made a U-turn and decided he wanted to remain in Atlanta. Blank allowed him to increasingly become more involved in football ops in 2018.

Blank effectively has added another layer of government. McKay is allowed to stand back, free of the mud splatter, should things blow up. Dimitroff is retained but effectively has had his authority undercut for the second time — the first came when Quinn was hired and given control of the 53-man roster — even if that’s not the way the organization is spinning things.

McKay on Quinn and Dimitroff: “They still make the decisions. I’m charged with making sure our processes work.”

Straight out of the Corporate Doublespeak handbook.

Blank has strong emotional attachments to Quinn, Dimitroff and McKay. But there was a time when he had a strong emotional attachment to McKay and took away his authority anyway.

He denies his relationships with the three played a role in his decisions: “The emotional attachment is to our fans and our franchise. It’s not to the individuals. I care about a whole lot of people. I care about their ability to perform. But this is a performance-based business.”

Blank again: “I wish I could look into a crystal ball and tell you a year from now it’s going to be a perfect decision. My belief is, given all the evidence we have in front of us, that our best opportunity to win going forward is to keep Coach Quinn and Thomas in place. It has nothing to do with loyalty, nothing to do with friendship, nothing to do with personal relationships.”

Correct. It’s about winning and losing and right now. Blank might wind up looking brilliant. But right now he looks like a man clinging more to hope than he has in the past.

Matt Ryan and Julio Jones going out of their way to take up for DQ combined with the fact that Matt and Julio are getting too old to keep starting over probably played an important part in the decision.  Arthur Blank said his evaluation concluded that Dan Quinn gives the Falcons the best chance to win a championship compared to all the other options available. I'm not sure if his hiring firm determined that or not.

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2 hours ago, The Don™ said:

Schultz also sounded pretty confident during the bye the decision was already made and Quinn would be gone eventually. He has inside sources and I'm sure it was true at some point but like he said, somebody got in Blanks ear and told him to wait it out.

I don't think dude likes being wrong. A lot of touchy journalists out there.

I think that part of Schultzie being so wrong about blank keeping the gang together is funny as ****. 
 

For the record, I was wrong too. 

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4 minutes ago, Stray Dog THA GAWD said:

The players fought hard for easy paydays, which Quinn guarantres with all the rah-rah BS ans Blank's chirping to the press.  The team is never winning sh*t.

If the paydays were so easy they wouldn’t have to fight for them. 

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1 hour ago, octoslash said:

I'm thinking Blank's age might have something to do with this. The older you get, the more difficult it becomes to make an earth-shaking decision, one that you have no idea will pan out.

Who does he fire? Who does he hire afterward? These aren't simple questions for an NFL owner, and they affect lives...families.

Some owners just have more trouble making those moves than others, and maybe Blank is becoming that way.

It kind of makes sense, as much as I dislike it, that Blank would stick in there for one more try next year.

Didn’t he just get divorced? That’s about as “earth shattering decision” a 77 year old man can make. 

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I'm on board with keeping Quinn. He showed he can get the right men in position; even though it cost the season essentially.

Now, can he make sure everyone on Offense does the same before we start 2020? Thanks and then I'll be good.

I support Arthur. He ain't why we blew 28-3 and should have a ring. Hey, maybe Quinn is that guy...but at the same time he isn't given any credit for us getting to the SB in the first place; when our defense was capable the year after yet the offense wet the bed in Philly that time. His coaching staff decision nearly cost his job for real finally, but we beat the best 2 NFC teams in their place and have been pretty good this 2nd half...far cry from ending a 5 game losing streak with 3 poopy wins to end 2018 (all losing teams)...

I think if we can get a truly balanced team with the core of veterans we have, we can be a tough out for anyone. Gotta build the defense in the draft next year and get past the 2020 cap situation, but it's doable.

TBD on Koetter being back...but the OL at least looks like it's coming together. Just figure out a long-term LG...I want to give Gono a shot there. Cheap for 1 more year before he is a RFA. TBD on Mack's future...if he walks it's cap money but also creates a round 2 C type need; the word everyone hates regarding the draft.

Edited by Schwarzwald

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1 hour ago, JD dirtybird21 said:

Yea, thought this was an interesting write up. Schultz sounds a tad salty that Quinn and TD are still here

 

1 hour ago, The Don™ said:

Schultz also sounded pretty confident during the bye the decision was already made and Quinn would be gone eventually. He has inside sources and I'm sure it was true at some point but like he said, somebody got in Blanks ear and told him to wait it out.

I don't think dude likes being wrong. A lot of touchy journalists out there.

Wasn’t Schultz the one that asked that stupid question as to if Quinn wanted to be the coach of the Falcons earlier this week?

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Excellent article by whoever wrote it. Spot on. Somebody save it for 2025 after TATF forgets. Lots to quote but I'm going with this one:

Dimitroff is retained but effectively has had his authority undercut for the second time — the first came when Quinn was hired and given control of the 53-man roster...

I'm convinced Dimi got pictures. He's screwed us several times. If I was the President he would have been gone after 2013. Before Smitty. 

Blank is a problem. Lawd have mercy we need rest.

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34 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1970 said:

Excellent article by whoever wrote it. Spot on. Somebody save it for 2025 after TATF forgets. Lots to quote but I'm going with this one:

Dimitroff is retained but effectively has had his authority undercut for the second time — the first came when Quinn was hired and given control of the 53-man roster...

I'm convinced Dimi got pictures. He's screwed us several times. If I was the President he would have been gone after 2013. Before Smitty. 

Blank is a problem. Lawd have mercy we need rest.

If TD has no authority on anything then how the **** do you keep blaming him for everything?

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