Dimitroff stays, so I guess it’s still all Smitty’s fault

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

Again, Dimitroff keeps his seat. (David Goldman/AP photo)

Ask yourself this: Do the Atlanta Falcons have a particularly robust roster? One of the league’s 16-best rosters? (The NFL has 32 teams, as you know.) If your answer is “yes,” you’re either Arthur Blank or Thomas Dimitroff. If your answer is “no” – and I suggest that most everybody besides Blank and Dimitroff would answer that way – don’t you then have to ask: Who compiled this roster? Who has had eight years as general manager to build a talent base that goes beyond Julio Jones, Matt Ryan and Desmond Trufant?

The answer is Dimitroff, who was again given a vote of … well, I’m not sure we can call it confidence. Maybe a vote of hope against hope. Blank has had two chances to fire this GM, and he has twice declined. He has re-aligned Dimitroff’s duties – that should have told the owner something, should it not? – but he has kept him as general manager. I have no idea why. Guessing you don’t, either.

Dimitroff has done some very good things here. Ryan was the most important draft pick in franchise history, and the then-rookie GM aced it. I will argue forever that trading up for Jones was a bold move executed to perfection. Michael Turner is the best free-agent hire the Falcons have ever made. Trufant? Very good player. Vic Beasley Jr.? Could be a very good player. Ryan Schrader? Nice off-the-grid find. But the intent here isn’t to sing TD the GM’s greatest hits. It’s to examine the totality of his work over eight seasons, and here’s what we see:

A team that had five consecutive winnings seasons in its first five under Dimitroff has had three consecutive non-winning seasons. Perhaps you’re one who views 8-8 in Year 1 in Dan Quinn’s first year of coaching as a bold step forward. I do not. I think a team that starts 6-1 against what would wind up as the league’s second-softest schedule had to fall apart to finish .500, and a team that falls apart is never a recommendation of anyone – the GM, the coach, the owner, the quarterback, the offensive coordinator. (Wes Durham and David Archer get a pass.)

Blank is free to keep/hire whom he chooses, but this lingering affection for his GM stumps the band. I regard Dimitroff as one of the smartest men I’ve ever met (and not just in sports), but I don’t know how Blank or anyone can reconcile three non-playoff seasons on the trot as a sign of brighter tomorrows.

Truth to tell, the way the Falcons collapsed – with Ryan clearly confused, with an offensive line still in flux, with a defense that hasn’t manifested a pass rush since Claude Humphrey – doesn’t augur better for next year. The schedule will be tougher, and the Falcons will apparently still have Kyle Shanahan calling plays.

But enough. I’ve made myself clear. But I do note that the Falcons just folded in a way they never quite did under the previous coach, and Mike Smith – who hasn’t coached in a year but might again soon – is still the only principal Blank has fired over the past decade. Guess it’s still all Smitty’s fault.

Reader Comments 0

93 comments
DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

I think if the Falcons come up empty in terms of getting in the playoffs, not being able to increase their sack production. Plus if their free agents and draft picks don't pan out. The public, fans etc. will think maybe the problem is the owner.

TG88
TG88

We will never win a Super Bowl as long as TD is around here.. We need a real GM one that knows Talent.. We didnt have a pass rush but DE Dwight Freeney and others are out there. TD does nothing as usual.,

Dumbmick
Dumbmick

The only reason Demitroff's around is out of "an abundance of caution" by coach Q...Why else?...My sense of things is that if the GM misses again in either the 2016 draft or in free agency in any significant way he'll be gone!...so, if you're a top-shelf free agent are you really going to consider signing with Atlanta?....probably not...it'll be interesting to watch the "Demitroff death knell" play itself out over the next 6 months, or less

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

The worst thing Demetrioff has done as Falcons GM is screw over Tony Gonzalez.  The greatest tight end ever choose the Falcons (how many HOF athletes choose Atlanta in any sport?)  

out of ALLLL teams to come help make great.  And how did we repay him??  By forcing him to stay on a loosing squad in his final year of a HOF career.  Meanwhile his old squad the Chiefs were a top seed in the AFC yet needed a TE so bad they were offering a 4th round pick to the Falcons.  
Our genious GM turned it down, what a scumbag to do such a thing to a HOF player who never had to choose the Falcons in the first place.  

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

@BravesFan79  Perhaps the GM was thinking of what was best for the Falcons, instead of what was best for the Chiefs or Gonzalez. 

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

Its scary and extremely disappointing to think that we have a GM still who refuses to do "in season trades".  Even if there is a pro-bowl center out there available for a few late draft picks.. (Browns) and our centers are fumbling snaps all over the place!  

Nope, because his PRIDE is more important than wins!  

Dawgonnit
Dawgonnit

Yes, good article. One thing is a big real estate deal is not finished yet. That said, I liked the overall record of Smith, in Falcon History, #1.  Falcons may need more balance and that means less payouts to big name/stars.  W'ell know at some point.



patriotdog
patriotdog

Watch the playoffs with your laptop/tablet handy. Every time a player for either team with eight years or less gets mentioned, look up the Falcon draft for that year and see whom they drafted instead of the player you just saw. Did that last night and again today, so far. For instance, instead of 3 time All Pro DT Gino Atkins in the fourth round (his 2010 draft position with Cincy) the Falcons took Corey Peters, Joe Hawley and Mike Johnson. It's an interesting exercise and really sheds light on just how many picks Dimitroff has missed on.

As long as Rankin Blank can find "sacrificial. lamb" scouts to fire, though, TD is safe. As the Obama administration has made "It's Bush's fault" their go-to excuse, so have Rankin Blank's minions started to say "it's Smitty's fault".

And so the next 50 years of ineptitude and futility begins.

GeorgiaBugman
GeorgiaBugman

Me thinks you have forgotten a man by the name of Dan Reeves.

jimstas
jimstas

@GeorgiaBugman or son of a Mora (to note, Reeves was more than a decade ago.


Also, he's had three chances to fire a GM, instead he promoted McKay

Rory_Bellows
Rory_Bellows

Lets not forget Bosher. He does a solid job, however, there are still many gaps in the roster. 

Dawgs2004
Dawgs2004

How about drafting some SEC players for a change to start with instead drafting from never heard of state players. Just look at how many SEC players are making an impact in the playoffs!!!

RomanLegions
RomanLegions

Both Braves and Falcons organizations are like septic tanks...what rises to the top?

TheVoice
TheVoice

It's hard to understand why we are surprised with a mediocre  team here in Atlanta.   The average win total since the team was formed is 6 wins a year.  New stadium coming with the same old team.  


From 2014:  "It's tiring to see the Falcons using a "take what they can get" approach on offense."


"Atlanta has some talented pass-rushers that they can make sure to put in the right packages for 3rd-and-long situations.

For this to work, the Falcons need to focus on packaging their defense properly."


Same Falcons.


Rise Up indeed!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TheVoice: "It's hard to understand why we are surprised with a mediocre  team here in Atlanta."

__________________________

I sure as hell am not surprised.

Half a damn century with ZERO championships for the Falconss says it all!

patriotdog
patriotdog

Ryan the most important draft choice in franchise history? Based on what? QB in a Conference title game? Vick did that, too. Bartkowski just missed doing the same. Hyperbole aside, Ryan has had a good career, but this season was not all on Shanahan. Ryan made ill-advised throws into coverage all season.

Not to say Shanny helped. His system fits Ryan no better than if they ran the spread and yet he refuses to change it.

Fact is, Artie is more about appearances than results and firing the poor scouts allows Artie to convince himself he's taken bold steps to turn things around.

ronaldtallon
ronaldtallon

i agree with every word, Mark.  Saints were down and playing poorly going into both Falcon games, but I knew they would beat us and they did.  No pressure on the QB.  They lost to a rookie QB and they lost 4 games to backup QBs. I have to hand it to Dan Quinn for sticking by his guys even when they failed miserably.   I would not have, however.  I would have said "you know, what?  We stink.  We cannot block or tackle.  Until we do that, there is not much hope."


Edgar
Edgar

Look on the bright side Mark. You won't have to scream "fire em all" as long as it took for the former UGA crowd. Pros only last an average of 2 seasons without going to the playoffs.

iamvlad
iamvlad

wonder what dimitroff has.


iamvlad
iamvlad


remember don wadell. similar situation as no one knew why the thrashers kept him on. the ultimate conclusion was that he had compromising pictures to keep him safe.


GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

The common thread with the Falcons is to hire people with no previous experience in the roles they're filling. There's an old saying that inexperience will listen but experience will not. Organizations that hire less experienced people do it either to save money or to mold people into the organization. The latter seems to be the case with the Falcons. Arthur is a hands on guy who wants his stamp not just his money on the organization. If the Falcons ever win a SB, he'll want recognition as the owner that helped build the winning system and not just another rich guy hoisting up his SB trophy. As a long time Falcon fan, I truly hope that his way proves to be successful and we all get to experience a timeless moment with the Falcons as we did with the Braves in 1995.

Edgar
Edgar

What can I say.

Who else is going to "Run get Coffee" when the King snaps his fingers?

DrPhill
DrPhill

Wow, when the Falcons trade Julio Jones and their few good players, they will have morphed completely into the Atlanta Braves. There must be something in the water.

Atticus34
Atticus34

Horrible drafts the last 6 years. Very little to show for it. Not much better in free agency. All the fault at this point is on Blank. 


Clampetts 2.0.

AdmiralObvious53
AdmiralObvious53

Not the smartest move if you want the fan base to pony up thousands more to see an inferior, poorly designed product.  When I think of his so called draft hits, I think of an old saying my father had and that's "A stopped clock is right twice a day".  Heck if I was given that much time I bound to hit a few into the field myself.  That said and with the exception of Carolina, Tampa makes our moves look intelligent and even though Peyton is staying with the Saints they're still not going to be very good because of cap issues.  Shanahan is too arrogant and remote to run an offense thus I expect them to be 8 & 8 at best next season.  In the end it's Blank's fault and he brought this on himself.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@AdmiralObvious53: "A stopped clock is right twice a day."

________________________

Is that anything like "It's 5 o'clock somewhere"?

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

Mark, right on point as usual. The illogical retainment of Dimitroff in view of all evidence against doing so is surpassed only by a Dimitroff draft and the dog's breakfast of the organization structure that Blank created by apparently throwing darts against some sort of chart.


This really cements the franchise struggling going forward and that the problem goes deeper then Dimitroff (although he is enough to cripple the franchise by himself and is well on the way with that) but to his boss Blank.


A very dark day if you are a Falcon fan.

Chop_Chop
Chop_Chop

We actually had a good pass rush when Mora was the coach. Haven't had a good one since.

Gator63
Gator63

It is Arthur Blank's team and he can do whatever he wishes. As long as fans buy tickets, why should he change?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Gator63 

Why should he change?

Uh, perhaps to put a championship-calibre team on the field in ATL for the first time ever??? 

Damn you gators are dumb!

ChessMaster
ChessMaster

I just see it differently. Especially with high draft picks, I have to believe the success or failure actually is with Blank. He is in charge. Dimitroff, Smith, and now Quinn report to Blank and in such an organization, there has to be a consultation process. Blank doesn't get surprised.

I also don't believe that with most teams the head coach is simply a victim of the GM's choices. HCs have too much power and are compensated at too high a level to be puppets. Quinn is involved and I think he has more of a say, and so did Smith, than Dimitroff. The hierarchy is Blank, Quinn, Dimitroff.

Nativesportsfan
Nativesportsfan

Jerry would be a welcome change. Arthur is a disgusting narcissistic tool.

spike79
spike79

@ChessMaster I dont see any evidence that Blank acts like Jerry jones.  I think he basically stays out of the decision making


DawgNole
DawgNole

@spike79 

He struts along the sideline during the game--like the egotist Jones--which should be an absolute no-no!

Gman84
Gman84

Pretty clear that Bernie Marcus was the engine behind the Home Depot dynamic duo. Other than looking the taxpayers, Rankin Blank hasn't accomplished anything other than exposing his poor personnel judgment. 

Vercingetorix
Vercingetorix

Hey, it's only costing the taxpayers a billion or so dollars to build Blank and Dimitroff a bigger and better playpen.  What's the problem?  Oh, you want the Falcons to actually look good and (God forbid!) win?  You have a better chance of winning Powerball tomorrow night.

spike79
spike79

@Vercingetorix Once AGAIN, Blank is the one paying for the majority of the stadium costs.  get your facts right.  The "taxpayers" are paying very little.  Hotel taxes are another chunk, which comes from tourists.

None of this takes away from the fact Dimitroff needs to go.

Nativesportsfan
Nativesportsfan

Spike Blank,

You are an Arthur apologist. Give it up. He makes 98% of this town sick. He embarrasses us and there is no need for a new stadium. Dome is a great facility

bobeileen
bobeileen

Not only is Mark Bradley 100% correct, he has the guts to put it into print. TD is in over his head as a GM. But, something else to ponder- the Birds will never play for a championship with Matt Ryan under center.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@bobeileen He won't get invited to Arthur's big dinner party's writing articles like this.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Big Wally @bobeileen

But hopefully he'll be able to sleep better knowing he's one of the very few AJC staffers--if not the only one--with the guts to tell this story like it is.

kevkat
kevkat

@bobeileen

I agree....seems like he's taking up for Ryan a bit..which I don't agree. Ryan shouldn't be confused, he's a veteran...didn't seem confused the first five games.