What We Learned from the Falcons Press Conference from 1/28

This past Thursday the Atlanta Falcons had their first press conference of the off-season. General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn covered lots of topics, so let’s get started.

The Upcoming Schedule

Over the next 100 days the Falcons’ scouts will be watching the Senior Bowl, going to college Pro days, looking at tape of college and pro players, discussing as a group (Dimitroff, Quinn, Scott Pioli, the scouts, etc.) what route the team should take in terms of opinions of certain players, the Combine and of course, the draft.

Dimitroff feeling uncertain about his job?

There was a lot of speculation around the Falcons’ franchise concerning the job status of Dimitroff. Dimitroff has been widely criticized in the local media for his miserable drafts (no player from the 2012 draft is still on the roster; there are also no offensive lineman drafted by Dimitroff left on the roster, outside of Jake Mathews). The majority of the local media considered him to be goner, but instead the Falcons did some housekeeping in the front office in terms of scouting. Dimitroff also got a great vote of confidence from Quinn who publicly said he liked Dimitroff and thought he was doing a good job.

Dimitroff admitted that he is aware that he has underperformed in certain areas, pointing out that he has missed on draft picks, but he also said that he thought he deserved to keep his job and that he approaches every year as a make or break year. Dimitroff also pointed out that he thinks his relationship with Quinn is very important and that if he were not able to get along with the HC, he should not be the GM.

Scouting

Dimitroff made it very clearly that the seemingly everyone on the personnel side is involved when it comes to making player decisions such as drafting and in free agency. The Falcons’ have a very experienced scouting staff now that they have hired on two former NFL general mangers to be national scouts. Dimitroff also pointed out that he does not think there will be any butting of heads nor will there be “too many cooks in the kitchen” so to speak.

Dimitroff also made it clear that he makes the absolute final decision on whether or not to draft a certain player or to sign a player in free agency, but Quinn does get the final say on the 53-man roster.

Both Quinn and Dimitroff agreed that they have very good communication within the organization, and they all know what to be looking for. In Quinn’s mind, and in what he thinks will make his team the best, players need to be able to fit the scheme. There are also certain physical abilities and mental toughness that they look for. Conference affiliation was also mentioned as playing a role in determining the value of a player, or comparing players.

The biggest noticeable concern heard at the press conference would be that Dimitroff said that when it comes to draft day, if there is a strong disagreement about a player, such as Quinn thinks the player would be a great addition while Dimitroff strongly disagrees, then they will pass? In other words, if there is a disagreement regarding a really good player, they will let another team take him instead. Seems sort of counter-productive doesn’t it?

Matt Ryan Struggles

Quinn was asked about Matt Ryan, and he said that the turnovers were certainly unexpected. He knows that Ryan can play better, and he talked with Ryan about how the season went. The biggest question he asked him was whether or not he can play in Kyle Shanahan’s system, to which Ryan did not just say that he can play in the system, but that he can thrive in it.

Coach Improvements

Quinn said he went to the coaches and talked to them all one-on-one. He asked them about what improvements they could make, and what improvements they thought Quinn himself could make. Quinn also said that the talked with Falcons owner Arthur Blank and that he loves talking with Blank because he always walks away with advice he would never be able to get anywhere else. Blank is able to give a more business-angle view on things in regards to coaching and dealing with the staff and players.

Difference for Year #2

Quinn said he believes in the power of the team, and that he thinks that is the most important aspect to building a winning culture. He also brought up that he loves how connected everyone in the organization is.

Quinn said he wants to recapture the work ethic they displayed in the early-goings of last season, and that he wants to make this defense into a ball-hawking defense, much like the one he had in Seattle.

One of the resources that Quinn has been able to use as a coach is Pete Carroll. When Quinn was working for Carroll with the Seattle Seahawks, he said he learned a lot from him. Carroll was like a tutor for him, and one of the things he learned from Carroll is a sort of personalized metric-system. The system mostly looked at certain traits that a player shows that Quinn is looking for in his players. The most important thing Quinn says he learned from Carroll though was that he needs to coach and lead in his own way.

Gap between Falcons and Panthers

Both Quinn and Dimitroff were sure to first and foremost point out on this topic that the Carolina Panthers deserve a lot of respect for having won three division titles in a row, and Dimitroff said that the Panthers are showing that consistency really does build winning programs.

They both also pointed out that winning the division is the goal every season because when you win your division you are guaranteed that at least your first playoff game will be at home which of course is very important.

Quinn also stated that he firmly believes that the team’s current strategy can put the Falcons back on top of the division.

Ready to Compete for Championships?

They both absolutely believe that they are able to compete for championships. Quinn said that the scars from going through the six-game losing streak will make them a better team in the end because they can learn from the experience. Dimitroff also brought up that it would have been easy for players/coaches/front office people to have jumped off bandwagon during the tough stretches, but that no one did.

Roddy White

The last topic that was brought up was the future of long-time Falcon, and fan favorite, Roddy White. Dimitroff said that they have not begun to look into any decisions that need to be made on players, and that White is still on the books. He said that for the most part, as is rather noticeable, they have been concentrating on the personnel side.

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