More Falcons fun: GM Dimitroff might not be safe after all

Are they playing musical chairs in Flowery Branch? (David Goldman/AP photo)

Are they playing musical chairs in Flowery Branch? (David Goldman/AP photo)

Are they playing musical chairs in Flowery Branch? (David Goldman/AP photo)

Are they playing musical chairs in Flowery Branch? (David Goldman/AP photo)

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Atlanta Falcons might be in the market for a new general manager after all. This time a week ago, GM Thomas Dimitroff appeared and spoke at the press conference announcing coach Mike Smith’s firing. But the new coach, Rapoport reports, could wind up being the reason Dimitroff gets fired, too.

This doesn’t make much sense. An incumbent GM is usually the point man in hiring a new coach, and I’m assured that Dimitroff will have a role in this search. How big a role? Nobody knows. (At least nobody on the outside.)

It’s believed owner Arthur Blank will make the final decision, with much input from president Rich McKay. But the search firm Korn Ferry — this from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk — “is advising teams who have fired their coaches to take a wait-and-see approach with the GM until the new coach is hired.” To which we say: Huh?

You’re giving a guy you’ve barely met the power to pick his own GM? After employing Dimitroff for seven years, the Falcons can’t tell on their own whether he’s worth keeping?

If the Korn Ferry scenario is indeed the case, wouldn’t the GM surely lobby for a coach he knew would be an ally? As if on cue, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported that Dimitroff and assistant GM Scott Pioli are pushing for Josh McDaniels, the New England offensive coordinator alongside whom both worked. (Wait a minute. Scott Pioli has a say, too?)

Before everyone’s head explodes, let’s note that the Blank/McKay pairing hired Jim Mora, who lasted three seasons, and Bobby Petrino, who left for Arkansas after 13 games. So maybe it’s not such a surprise that any search involving the Falcons would get convoluted.

And lest we forget, this is the same franchise — albeit under different ownership — that once spent a month trying to find a new coach after it fired Dan Henning and wound up promoting his defensive coordinator. Who just happened to be Marion Campbell, the man the Falcons themselves had once fired as head coach.

Further reading: How can the Falcons fire one (Smith) and not the other (Dimitroff)?

Reader Comments 2

262 comments
BooBooBear
BooBooBear

Hire Jim Mora again and let's see what he can do when he doesn't have to babysit the quarterback.

TideDawg
TideDawg

The Falcons don't need an assistant coach to come in and take over. They need an established coach with a strong personality for this team. I'm not campaigning for Rex Ryan but he is the type coach they need, not an inexperienced head coach. All of the candidates are qualified coaches, but not head coaches. In my opinion, you don't bring in a coach that a veteran team may start out doubting before he ever coaches a game. Atlanta is not the situation that needs any doubt. The players are in a flux and the fans are in turmoil and hungry to get back in the game.


Marrone may be the right guy, but he just quit on his team and the Falcons don't need another Petrino.


If the Falcons are going to hire an untried assistant.....why not keep Mike Smith. At least he has head coaching experience. No coach, especially an assistant, can come in and coach a team with limited talent to the playoffs. Who's responsible for the limited talent.....Dimitroff!


Blank should have kept his mouth shut regardless of his plans. He was trying to absolve himself from any blame by criticizing everyone else. He would make a lousy poker player. Standing on the sideline and looking displeased does not help the morale of a team or improve fan support for the coach. If he planned to make a change he should support the team until it's time to make that change.....then do it!! You don't rule with threats....you rule with actions.


This coaching hire had better be a good one or the Falcons could be down for the next 5-10 years.


Now I'm going to campaign for Rex Ryan. He's the best choice, in my opinion, of all others that have been interviewed. He recognizes talent and can help a new GM with players that he knows can play.

Intruder
Intruder

I would think that Smith is more responsible for the roster than anyone. He should know what kind of player he wants. How else can he be held responsible?

Blasingame
Blasingame

Anyone who thinks Dimitroff isn't at the heart of Atlanta's problems isn't thinking and is blind to reality.  This includes Arthur Blank.  Dimitroff should be gone and Blank should sell the team.  The current situation will do nothing but soak up tax dollars and lose games.

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

If the PA announcer plays Disney's "Its a Small World" when Autha leads the kids onto the sideline, would he get fired?

gfw
gfw

Don't buy tickets.  Don't watch them.


Then maybe the NFL will prevail upon Blank to sell the team to a competent owner.

CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith
CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith

The Falcons - continuing to be the NFL's Clampetts.

Embarrassing players, embarrassing coaching, embarrassing GM, embarrassing owner.

This is what happens when you have executive football power with no experience.  Why, it's like electing a President with no executive experience - incredibly dumb.  I guess America itself is the Clampetts.  We did it twice.

Play on, Artie, the masses deserve you.

CallMeStupid
CallMeStupid

I hereby decree, from this day forward, we shall refer to the owner of the Atlanta Falcons as ARTHUR BLANKIN SMITH

58Supersports
58Supersports

Ok if new coach fired TD... Then who would Blank hire as GM? Would he let coach hire GM? That's stupid and back a@@ backward. That's like Tanner hiring Bobby Cox and then Cox fires Tanner who told Turner to go ahead and hire Cox as GM.  Holy Cow I thought Blank was smarter than that.

CallMeStupid
CallMeStupid

This is like when you have a house under construction and the plumber tells you the electrician is doing a terrible job.

CallMeStupid
CallMeStupid

Things are not measuring up at The Dome Depot. 


patriotdog
patriotdog

Blank is devolving into a laughingstock of an owner. What a bumbling buffoon. Great businessman, he should let his football men run the team. If he doesn't trust his GM to hire a coach, then why is that person on the payroll as GM?

Delbert_D
Delbert_D

My guess is Dimitroff is retained only if Blank hires McDaniel.

KBP
KBP

@ Dawgnole,

I did not mention Dimitroffs "hits" because they are obvious. No NFL team has consistently won every year of their existence so to have a 20+ year history of winning football is really remarkable.

RonnieReagan
RonnieReagan

When the owner of the Carolina Panthers Jerry Richardson built his new stadium,he had a trophy case built for the Super Bowl trophy that he will win. Arthur Blank like Jerry Richardson is a proven business leader who's success has always been surrounding himself with people that can achieve their goals. I still don't understand why Mr. Blank is a Liberal though?????

TheVoice
TheVoice

Let's let the Mora / Petrino selection crew take yet another shot at it!  


What could go wrong?



GWJ0525
GWJ0525

I get the feeling hiring a coach and then to hire a GM or not is turning into a big joke so long as Blank is in the middle of it. TD should have been gone with Smith or even before. Jackson was a great running back 10 years ago, but you don't sign any back that is played that long to be your main man. Backs are usually good for about 7 or 8 seasons, and then fall off.

The offensive and defensive lines, well we all know how bad those have been.


I have no clue who might be the best coach for this team, but I think it needs to be somebody with high energy that can pump some life into them. I think chemistry might be more important than the type or background of the coach. The problem is the folks making the selection have no clue either.

TG88
TG88

Sean McDermott DC Panthers is this guy worth looking at as head coach???? Given up 78 total yards against the Cards is head turning..Very good defense without their best DLmam Hardy not even playing....TD must go. Our talent seems to get worse and worse every year since TD took over..Lets face it TD is in over his head should have never been hired..

didyou
didyou

Well written piece..Oh wait, nice job of regurgitating other competent writers and reporters material. What a joke. Mark you are either too lazy or burned too many bridges that no one will give you information in person. I have a great idea…Save yourself time and just post links to everyone else's stories. I admit the fact that I even read the garbage you spew is because it directs me to reliable journalists when you post it. You're more like a GPS for good reads and the hard copy is good for my birdcage. For that my bird and I thank you

Gopher86
Gopher86

Everybody keeps screaming Doug Marrone ! My question is where has he won BIG TIME? didn't Syracuse RECUSE THEMSELVES FROM HIM? I mean people just stop it!

GameOfSpades
GameOfSpades

DOUG MARRONE!!!!  DOUG MARRONE!!!!  DOUG MARRONE!!!! Say it with me Ladies and Gentlemen, say it loud! He is the best of all Worlds and will get the Falcons to the Superbowl within three years.... Nonetheless, because he would be the best hire for this organization, he automatically would be disqualified by Blank, Dimitroff, etc..... that's the Falcons way!

DanJohn
DanJohn

The Falcons were at their best when they ran the football and had a ball controlled offense. Dirk (Welcome Back) Koetter changed the offense and of course Mike(Oh no) Nolan was brought in as DC. Who's idea was it to bring them in? My guess it was Smith. The Falcons have lacked a stud running back since about year 3 of Turner. They have drafted two and one of them is only a 3rd down back at best (Rogers) Ryan was a better QB using play action but if you have no running game play action is fruitless. Personally I think Mike Tice did about as much as he could with a patchwork OL. Baker needs to go yesterday. Giving him a contract extension with his injury history? That's on Dimi. Same with Tyson Jackson. Dimitroff should stay off the bike and study players. And please no more offensive linemen from Alabama. Johnson and Hawley are busts.

buellerbuellerbueller
buellerbuellerbueller

Before everyone rushes off to the "defensive" mindset, just remember, our "big money offense" (Ryan, Jones, White, Hester, Douglas, Jackson, Baker, Blalock and Matthews) only scored 3 points in a "win and you're in situation".


Uh-oh  

didyou
didyou

@Blasingame  I think your reality is is a little off due to being mis-informed. I agree that Dimitroff has had some misses but if you knew the thought process behind how this team was being built your opinion about TD would not be as strong. Last week Knox Bardeen of fox wrote an article that supports what Ive been saying for months on these blogs. Smitty gave TD a list of what he and Nolan wanted and TD adhered to scheme. Instead of Jerry there is Clay Matthews.,. Instead of a serious run at Brian Orakpo or Demarcus Ware there was solia and Jackson. TD's idea of building a defense is different than what we saw. Get back injured players, 8th pick in the draft to address LB and DE pass rush and 36 million under the cap along with Dan Quinn or Rex calling the shots, watch how fast this turns around. Every agent and media member regards this as the most attractive landing spot for a potential coaching candidate. And they all want to work with TD. Thats what the current situation is. 


notPlanB
notPlanB

@gfw  I don't get the hate on Arthur. Football is a business and Arthur has proven he is a good businessman by coming up with $645 million to buy the Falcons. Next objective was to learn this news business called football. After about 14 years, I would say he knows it. I still want him to fire TD but I will wait and see.

Since he bought them, he gave us the best 5 years ever. Before that, he gave us some good football with Vick. He didn't know Vick would go to prison. After those good 5 years, he gave MS and TD 2 more years to straighten things out. They didn't. MS is gone and TD is being looked at closely. Arthur pays up to near the cap every year. What more can an owner do. I'll tell you, if I owned the team, I would be on the field too. I own it.

I remember a lot of 2-14 and 4-12 years.

58Supersports
58Supersports

 That's what really happen to Tanner. Cox is no angel always watch your back. 

notPlanB
notPlanB

@RonnieReagan  I didn't know he was a liberal. A liberal person doesn't believe in capitalism and he made a billion plus because of it.

notPlanB
notPlanB

@TheVoice  As a business owner, you try things. Some work, some don't.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@didyou The team stinks. The organization stinks. The owner is a clown. It's fitting that the people who write about the team are substandard dimwits.

RangeRover
RangeRover

@didyou

One can criticize another's work without such deeply gouging, venomous, vitriolic terms.  

Lighten up, fellow!

GameOfSpades
GameOfSpades

@Gopher86 

He helped rebuild (speaking lightly) a horrific Syracuse team and got them into two different bowl games... something they probably had not seen since the days Donovan McNabb... he helped restore an abysmal Buffalo Bills team with no QB and turned them into a contender... My only true knock on him is that is an opportunist, he may walk off on the team if a new and (perhaps) better opportunity with another organization comes along.... 

DanJohn
DanJohn

@GameOfSpades  Shouldn't that be Doug Moron? He quit on his team like Petrino did here. Yeah he'd be perfect!

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

@buellerbuellerbueller There's got to be something we're good at!  Ok, maybe not.  Oh wait, kicking and punting.  See, there was something.  Cheerleaders are still cute.  And Arthur and his grandkids roaming up and down the sidelines during the game is precious!


I guess it's not so bad after all.  And honestly, the new stadium will have that "new car" smell for at least a year or 2 and we all love that...

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

@notPlanB @TG88 The Falcons beat the Cardinals without Sean McDermott.  The Panthers beat a Cardinals' team led by a fan dressed up in a professional football uniform that had a Cardinal on his helmet.  All that proves is football team owners should never listen to what the fans have to say, much less let them wear uniforms and play in real games.

didyou
didyou

@Quackmeyer @didyou Thats fair…I addressed that in my original post. I like to hear different perspectives and for the most part columnists are guys who give opinions. I think Mark Bradley takes shots at athletes coaches and executives. Why have a blog if readers can't voice their opinions on the columnist's ability or lack thereof? 

didyou
didyou

@RangeRover @didyou Venomous? lol. I don't know the man so therefore I will not make personal attacks. But if there is a forum to discuss things and MB can use his column to attack the performance of someone in sports, why should he be exempt from someone giving his opinion on Bradley's lack of talent at his job? I was merely pointing out how nice it is that I can read his column to find out what Mike Florio, Jason LaCanfora and Ian Rapoport are saying so I don't have to look up the three guys who actually researched and did the work to get their original info. But if I was a columnist with the need to takes shots for the appearance of being controversial. I may have to resort to Quoting others because no one in the Braves or Falcons respect him enough to give any direct information. But I will lighten up. Its a New Year and I'm a happy person.

notPlanB
notPlanB

@GameOfSpades @Gopher86  If that is his qualifications, then let's go get David Cutcliff at Duke and Cutcliff is not an opportunist. He also knows how good Sean Renfree is.

GameOfSpades
GameOfSpades

@DanJohn

True... True... But he would get us our superbowl victory (hopefully) before walking out of the door... lol

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

@SeanLB @notPlanB @RonnieReagan A Liberal billionaire is one who believes everyone should share in the wealth that is still available, including themselves.  A Conservative billionaire is one who believes the wealth left over is fair game for them, welcoming everyone else to the challenge of grabbing all you can.  A Liberal-Conservative is someone in-between.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@didyou @Quackmeyer Shabbily dressed, tired looking, slow talking Mark Bradley has no ability - not in the field of sports journalism, anyway - so all comments would have to be directed at the lack thereof.

Trackbacks

  1. […] of NFL.com reports that the folks who will pick the Atlanta Falcons’ next coach — whoever those folks might be — met with defrocked Jets coach Rex Ryan for five hours Tuesday. If you added the verbiage of […]

  2. […] We have our answer. Thomas Dimitroff gets to keep his job — just not quite the same job he was doing. The Atlanta Falcons announced tonight that they’ve “restructured” their player personnel department, the upshot being that the general manager is no longer in charge of pro or college scouting or the draft. Which makes you wonder: So why is he still the general manager? […]