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)?