You tell me (and Arthur Blank): What should the Falcons do?

The sideline-stalking owner in a happier moment. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

The sideline-stalking owner in a happier moment. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

The sideline-stalking owner in a happier moment. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

The Atlanta Falcons aren’t just a 5-9 team. They’re a 5-9 team that still might win the NFC South. In a way, that makes things tougher. Were they 5-9 in the AFC North, Arthur Blank’s course would be clearer. He could choose to fire Mike Smith and/or Thomas Dimitroff — or he could choose to fire neither — without having to ask, “But what if we win our next three games and upset Green Bay in Round 2?”

So today I’m asking for a bit of audience participation. You tell me (and perhaps A.M. Blank, who reads everything): What should be done? The polls below — there are four, so keep scrolling — reflect contingencies, and you can avail yourselves of any and all.

You’ll note that I’ve stopped short of the Birds reaching the Super Bowl. I’m crazy, but not that crazy.

From myajc: Would making the playoffs help or hurt the Falcons?

Reader Comments 0

181 comments
itsslomotionbaby
itsslomotionbaby

this game lets me know the saints are just that bad and how does pick 12 sound

50Concept
50Concept

arthur needs to go down to the field more to motivate players and coaches---maybe he can hand out C-notes for big plays and threaten to fire coaches when bad plays occur!  arthur's a billionaire and wants results.  His young girlfriend wants some playoff cash.

BobbyDawg
BobbyDawg

We've had good players come and go on the Falcon's team. It's time that somebody learned to evaluate the players and don't let the good ones get away. They act like just because we've got Matt Ryan everything will be ok.

Hopeless in ATL
Hopeless in ATL

Things are looking up, maybe there is hope yet.  The class drafted by Pioli (in spite of Dimitroff) is coming on.  Hageman played well the last two games (he can't be blocked by one person if he stays focused).  Stone at center has dropped a much needed anchor on our line and Mathews is no longer a rookie.  Devonta Freeman looks like the real deal; and he matches well with Quizz.  Jettison anyone named Jackson and spend the millions on defense.  Draft a linebacker No. 1 and the biggest hunk of beef available for either/both line in the second and/or third.   Maybe get a project receiver or free agent at some point (Harry will drop a big one before it's over and Roddy's near the end).   Stay the course Mr. Blank; Smitty didn't forget how to coach.  The team believes.  They played well in London and didn't get what they deserved, but they are now hot at the right time.  


And to the loser Saints fans sarcastically wishing for Smitty to stay here?  Worry about your own coaching search, bit*%)s.  That team truly sucks.  

northbysoutheast
northbysoutheast

Great to beat the Saints and have a chance for the division. However, if not a couple colossal coaching blunders the Falcons would have clinched on Sunday (or the week before!) instead of playing for a chance. My mind hasn't changed: the only way Smith should keep his job is winning the Super Bowl.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Best game of the year for the Falcons. Congratulations!


Julio Jones! What can you say about him? Awesome!!


Sacks??? The Falcons didn't know what "sacks" were until this game.


Who were those players???

GultchWarrior
GultchWarrior

It's always a great weekend when the Falcons beat that lesser team in Louisiana, especially when you sweep them in a year!

I guess it's also true what they say about waiting a week and everything will change. I'm not drinking from that ridiculous Gatorade cooler. 

"Thomas the Magnificent", as we like to refer to him at our tailgate, still has yet to answer for many things over the last 8 years. How can you justify never drafting a player after round 2 that has become any significance on this roster? Most successful teams have "SEVERAL" of these guys you can always point back to in a run to a ring.


Mike, "The Fans are all idiots", Smith has had 3 game management blunders this year in different games. Two of them easily cost us the game. How can a man getting paid what he's being paid as an "NFL Head Coach" and still make such boneheaded miscues? Mike is also responsible for his OC Coach Dirk. Can we please see that up the middle Stephen Jackson run at least 50 more times this year? Please? Never mind, he says he's finally hurt, maybe his "Art Gallery" will make him feel better. Don't let our win today fool you into thinking that our play calling was good. It wasn't. Your defense stepped up.


Coach Nolan has had VERY LITTLE to work with talent wise this year and had a great gameplan today for the Aint's......A very talented coach doing the best he can with the hand he's been dealt. 


I have tons of respect for Julio giving everything he could today for the team. I wish I could say the same about Stephen "I'm a great 1 yard back" Johnson. He needs to get it over with and move to Paris for a year to prepare him better for his art future and let the Freeman develop into a back that obviously wants to play in the NFL.


Since birth I've always loved beating that team in Louisiana. I'll also be back next Sunday to see if we can make that run to the playoffs. Either way, the house needs to be cleaned from head to toe!

Michaelee
Michaelee

Who Dat? 

The 0-2 Saints Vs. The Falcons


I don't think that firing the HC is going to change anything. In fact, it probably will be starting over. Smith knows the strengths and weaknesses of this Team.


GIVE HIM ANOTHER YEAR

didyou
didyou

Ok Haters. Fire TD is getting old. Preface this by saying Im a Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff fan. Look at the impact TDs high draft picks have had especially today. Julio, Jake, Matt.

When drafting later swings a deal for Trufant who is in top 4 for tackling corners and quickly becoming a true shut down corner. Rashead Hageman was an absolute beast today and showed what an impact he can be. Bring up Peria Jerry and then look at all DT taken after him and none are still in the league so he WAS best available. Not taking Clay Matthews was not his call alone. If you all remember when Smitty and TD joined the Falcons they took the approach of system specific drafting and Matthews didn't fit the scheme they were running. This off season TD wanted Demarcus Ware or Brian Orakpo to pressure the quarterbacks but it was determined as an organization that they wanted to get tougher up the middle and against the run. Their scheme was to get Spoon to provide some outside rush but again its TDs fault that he tore his achilles 2 weeks before camp. Sam Baker was the best OT remaining in that draft which later garnered Dimitroffs first of 2 Executive of the year awards.  He misfired on Ray edwards but they knew what they were getting with him and he was a second tiered FA. The Falcons now have 3 undrafted FA and 2 7th rounders making major contributions. Look at the list of potential GM candidates and tell me who you prefer to have. Its easy to look back on every teams drafts and poke holes in them. Next to the SF coaching job what potential opening is more attractive than ATL with their roster. An impact DE and another OT and LB and this is a great roster. Oh and the release of Abraham and Grimes had nothing to do with on field production. So after 2 disappointing seasons ask for the heads of Smitty and TD but the next 2 that come in could result in us becoming the Jacksonville Jaguars.

sjh5023
sjh5023

The Falcons being in contention for playoffs is the only thing more absurd than Uber being worth $40B (approx the value of all 32 NFL clubs). 


Keep in mind that if they played in a real division (like AFC North), they would be lucky to be 2-12 at this point. Of course, both need to go.

ATLBrown
ATLBrown

Dimitroff needs to go.  Don't worry about whether or not to Fire Coach Smith - that's a decision the new GM should make.

MikeisBack
MikeisBack

Arthur, PLEASE don't gut wrench over this decision...Make the decision as soon as the season is over.  Identify your targets for new hire...And get'em in here and START FRESH.  


LET'S GO...LET'S GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!lLOL

Ackshun
Ackshun

This is all academic. The Falcons will lose to the Saints on Sunday and then probably lose to Carolina the following week.  The Panthers will win the division and Smith and Dimitroff will be sent packing on January 5.

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

@Ackshun Hopefully we loose both games, but we will likely mess up and beat the Panthers (esp if Cam is hurt).  The most depressing thing for Falcons fans would be on draft day, if we win the South, and get stomped into the ground in the 1st round of the playoffs.  #7 to #21..... OUCH!   HUGE difference in talent!  

ctfalconsfan
ctfalconsfan

Also, if we win the division at 7-9 please ATL don't hoist a NFC South Champion banner in the Dome. Let's just forget about this season and move forward.

ctfalconsfan
ctfalconsfan

You can't fire the GM and the leave the coach. A decent GM would want to hire his own coach as they need to work together. Plus Mike Smith hasn't proven he can coach a big game.

Just win the division, host a playoff game then fire both of these guys. Time to move on to the next regime..

stevehere
stevehere

For AB, it'll be about the money, ie. quality / value of product - just like hammers, paint and chain saws he used to sell.  He knows no matter what happens in the next 2 games, by the end of the regular season, we - he - will have beaten only 2 teams w/ winning records in the past 32. Try and sell that to get those PSLs.

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

Thomas Dimitroff appears to be the biggest problem. The serious lack of talent in several positions is inexcusable.


I am a fan of Mike smith and I really like what Mike Tice has done.


OC Koetter and DL coach Brian Cox are not very impressive. The offense operates MUCH better when Matt Ryan runs the no-huddle!!


Has anyone considered hiring Brian Billick as OC and Assistant Head Coach??????????????? Also, let Nolan run the defense any way he wants; I think he is a good coach, but Mike Smith holds the reigns too tight (too conservative......press coverage and blitz more often). With the lack of talent at LB and inability to pressure the QB.......I wonder if we should be running a 6/1/4 or 5/1/5 defense???????

notPlanB
notPlanB

@HonestInformed  I thought about Jon Gruden as HC until last night was told he would be with "Monday Night Football" through 2021.

camelToeJoe
camelToeJoe

@HonestInformed


TD is the issue.  Smith will take the fall as well.  Smith won alot of games when he had an offensive line and at least a decent defense.  This team has neither which falls to the person responsible for bringing in the right players.  TD has had some nice gets, but way to many busts.

Earhardnt_Fan
Earhardnt_Fan

Mr Blanks need 2 lissen 2 me Loose the rest of the games and darft Markus Marriucci 2 repalce week arm Rayan aslo fire Tommy Dummytroff 4 all of his fist round busts

camelToeJoe
camelToeJoe

@Flacons_go_5-12


No one listens to dumb azzs.  And that is exactly what you are.  A sub saharan descendent acting like you are a silly redneck.  In other words, you are nothing more than a damn fool.

stevehere
stevehere

Philbin, Trestman, Harbaugh, Ryan goners. Add to that 3 or 4 dangling on the edge, including The Choker who must win 2 for the slimmest of chances, but nothing will erase his blunders and stubbornness. As for TD, all you have to do is look at Tree Rollins post from 14 hrs ago listing the FA signings, Draft busts, etc. TD is in way over is spiked hair.

There are about 34 days between the end of the season and the Super Bowl. I’ll say that regardless of AB’s loyalty to the current regime, he’s seen the Falcons upstaged and criticized in so many games and in so many areas this season, he’s not going to want to lose out on whatever high profile replacement talent he and McKay covet, (God help us). Regardless, they know they can’t stand pat. They know they can’t keep trotting out the same dysfunction, if for no other reason than it’s not just underground forums like the Cage and the Falcoholic voicing the obvious, now it’s the more visible ESPNs, SIs, and even the AJC where every writer has bashed the coaches and the FO in recent months – do they really want to take out large ads trying to sell the new stadium and the PSLs in the same sports section where writers are questioning competency? Not happening.

A person who likes the limelight like AB does, has to be tired of appearing as the Naked Emperor. So I believe he already has a committee talking to various agents of various candidates.

By the Super Bowl, he’ll be proudly talking up the “new and accelerated” future, the “new” direction, in front of any camera, any pundit, any fan.

atlfanman
atlfanman

Whether the Falcons win the division or not they should not retain the services of the GM, Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator or Offensive Coordinator. This was a year in which they were suppose to have examined their flaws and make appropriate corrections, especially after the obvious errors from last year. Instead of drafting pass rushers they drafted a run stuffer and signed two other free agent run stuffers, which ignored their primary need on defense getting to the passer. The GM, HC and DC had to in on this flawed philosophy because this is what happened. They had an up-and-coming run stopper who could do as much as the two free agents (and a lot cheaper) in Travian Roberson but placed him on the practice squad. A total mismanagement of funds and talent. There is always so much to say.


On the offensive side of the ball it appears as they just discovered Julio Jones. How can Julio embarrass one of the best cover-corners in the league and the Falcons not use him correctly for most of the season? The offensive line is shambles because they have relied on the buddy system as opposed letting play on the field determine who should be playing. They have an undrafted undersized center who is playing as well as or better than the ones who were drafted. Instead of trying to develop players they continue to get players who were failures on other teams and try to rebuild their careers. And if it is their decision to get someone who is a stop gap, especially on the offensive line get someone with an established track record as oppose to someone who has been teetering on bust.


It is Arthur Blank's money and team, he can do what he want. However, there are coaches and general managers out there who could turn this team around, he just have to put the work in to make common sense moves that counter the moves made in the past. Along with the coaches and GM, there are some players the Falcons need to say thank you for your time here but we are moving in a different direction. Once the Falcons do a good house cleaning things will change for the better. The Falcons lost two games (Detroit and Cleveland) on stupidity and were a pick six on beating Green Bay and Pittsburgh. That's four games in the win column right there.


Good luck in your decisions Mr. Blank, those who are true to Atlanta are pulling for you to make the right ones.

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

Don't let the disaster that is the NFC south color the vision of what is right to do. Because every team is bad doesn't mean we are  not.


Time to clean house.TD and Smith must go and their staffs also. Just envision how depressing it will be with a high draft position to have TD pulling the trigger again. If that happens, I will be physically ill.

GT71
GT71

The only positive result of the AJC's format change is that now, for certain, the commenters write more (and better) about the sports teams than those employed to do so and we don't have to suffer too much with the 'pros' as their verbiage is over in a 'pay-for-play' area few sane people would ever use.

As for Artie Blank - he can do as he pleases: he owns the team..  But in as much as people really care about this around here, he should probably keep the coach and fire the GM and the majority of the team.

Starting over is an option, but it will take years to do and few would want to pay to watch the process.

If Art was just looking for more money, he'd move the team to Birmingham - either Alabama or England.  The NFL guys want a team in that time zone so they can sell commercials from 9 AM to midnight 3 days a week.

It's about money.  And in the end, it'll be your money...as always.

BluebirdWings
BluebirdWings

Even a ZOMBIE would be better than Smitty!


Smitty does not know how to evaluate nor use the best players.  He will never change!!

camelToeJoe
camelToeJoe

@BluebirdWings


You clown, except when they won 30 games in 3 years.  Then suddenly he forgot how to coach?  Such fools on this blog.

GWJ0525
GWJ0525

If Blank wants to fire Smith, he had better already know who he is getting as good coaches don't seem to be falling out of the trees.

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

Bad news for Falcons fans tonight, Gruden just annouced on MNF that he signed a contract ext with ESPN thru 2021.   Not sure who we get now will be a ugrade over Smith.   I used to think Rex Ryan would be a good one, but the way hes handled the Jets has been WAY worse than how Smith has handled the Falcons.  Never giving Tebow a chance, then not dropping Geno until the season was hopeless were both awful decisions.
One thing us Falcons fans should be thankful for... we have a top 10 QB very capable of leading us to the playoffs.  Alot of teams with much better defenses (Bills, Redskins... etc) wish they had Matt Ryan as QB.  

PeterNapa
PeterNapa

@BravesFan79 Why is that bad news for the Falcons? He wasn't coming here under any circumstances anyway. He's a guy that Mike Smith beat because Tampa Bay had bad players like the Falcons do now. We need a GM who has the real power to hire his coach.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

That's correct - I never even considered Gruden as an option. If we must change coaches, you bring in Brian Billick.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Arthur Blank, if you do in fact read everything, please let me tell you what you should do. 


#1 Get some wardrobe coaching. The Little Lord Fauntleroy look is beyond clownish.


#2 Get the hell away from the football field. 


Just because you did well selling hammers, toilets, lightbulbs and warped lumber DOES NOT mean you know jack about running a football team. A professional football man would never have allowed the unnecessary and asinine overpaying of a middle tier quarterback, would never have allowed destroying the depth at line and linebacker to sign a flashy player like Julio Jones. 


Do you know Ted Turner? Ask him. Only after he turned his attention full-time to sniffing Jane Fonda's underthings and turned running of the Braves over to full-time professional baseball men did his team win a World Series. I understand you are into a little skirt chasing yourself. Hopefully, she isn't butt ugly and half-witted like Jane Fonda, but whatever, fire Dimitroff and Smitty. Put a full time professional football man in charge of the Falcons, take whoever she is on a nice long trip, and keep your goofy butt away from the Atlanta Falcons sidelines.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Joe Pesci in Goodfellas to deal with that little punk with the hairdo. Smith should just go and sell cars on Cobb Pkwy.

Whiznot
Whiznot

Blank should sell the team to someone who isn't an idiot.

SaintsInLosAngelesBy2020
SaintsInLosAngelesBy2020

Beat the Saints like a drunk using baseball bats for drum sticks. Screaming, cussing, and drooling! Make it the most nasty butt whoopin' since the 62-7 beat down the Falcons put on those louses in 1973. That's what the Falcons should do! The front office ineptitude and coaching dunderheadedness that the team and fans have suffered through since beating Seattle in the playoffs should come to a head this Sunday and burst forth like an infected zit on Godziller's posterior.


Fix this mess! That is what Blank should do, but please oh please do the due diligence. Remember the ghost of bad Blank hirings past? Mora or Petrino; which was the bigger DA?


Go Falcons! Go kick some ___ this weekend. We fans double dog dare you. Go down to the Dumpster Dome and bring home some self respect and a win. 

 

This is the NFC South: www.youtube.com/watch?v=35BwwzqNb3g


 How many points is "dunderheadedness" worth in Scrabble?

RickinWarnerRobins
RickinWarnerRobins

@SaintsInLosAngelesBy2020  I love the Falcons, but I don't think they could score 62 points if there was no defense on the field.  Undoubtedly, they'd find some way to self-destruct or Smitty would have another episode of clock mismanagement. 

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

Falcons making the playoffs would set this team back years.  Picking 21st instead of 10th is the difference bt a player like Rasheed Hagelman, and a real difference maker on defense!    Or maybe with that 21st pick we get a good player who is injury prone like our O-lineman out of USC.  Bottom line is..once u go beyond the top 12 or so, the riskier the pick gets.  

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

@BravesFan79 

Rasheed Hagelman. That name sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't place him. What does he do?

notPlanB
notPlanB

@PeterNapa @BravesFan79  Another good point on 1st place schedule, 79. Why does Gruden keep saying the NFC South winner could have a losing record, host a post season game, then he says get a 12th pick in the draft. Others say that's not right. Who's wrong???

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

@notPlanB @PeterNapa @BravesFan79  Gruden is wrong (sadly).   He must be stuck in a time warp to before 2010 when they changed the rules that said playoff teams can get no better than #21.  Trust me.... we WANT the Saints or Panthers to take this thing!    Last night i saw were ESPN.com said were in line for the 7th pick overall.  

DawgNole
DawgNole

@BravesFan79

Depends who's doing the drafting. If it's Dimitroff, you're guaranteed lousy results no matter the pick position.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Rise up and fire Samuel L Jackson for that drivel he posted about the police in the country.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Whiznot @RafeHollister Next time someone attempts to rob or victimize your family, call the protestors and not the Police! Probably 90% of the mob(protestors) have criminal records, that is why they hate the Police. Imagine a world without them, every person is completely on their own, will you survive? Sometimes foolishly, I wish all the Police would go on strike for one day and see what occurs in this world, it would not be pretty!!

notPlanB
notPlanB

@TomGaff @Whiznot @RafeHollister  No use in going on strike. Just don't go into these neighborhoods where they are blamed for what they do. Stay out of there until the people there beg them to come back. What I saw in both instances was two criminals and both resisted arrest. Where am I wrong?


On the other side. Good cops, make sure the few bad cops walk the line so blacks can't blame you.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@Whiznot @RafeHollister  THE dumbest comment of the year has now been won by Whiznot!  Your prize, a one year subscription to 911 Magazine.

Whiznot
Whiznot

@RafeHollister The cops are a bunch of roided out nitwits who enjoy fire bombing sleeping babies.