Arthur Blank addressed the media yesterday in his annual state of the Falcons press conference at the end of each season. While Blank has had little to complain about the continued success of the team since 2008, he had a much different line of thinking yesterday. In light of a 4-12 season in which the Falcons were manhandled at the line of scrimmage, Blank made it clear that next year is the year in which everything needs to turn around. Where those aspirations of returning to the playoffs and making a deep run are essential to the current regime (Dimitroff/Smith) continuing to lead this franchise.
"I expect a winning season and a playoff season," Blank said. "My goal as the owner is to put rings on the fingers on our players for Atlanta, for all of us, to represent Atlanta. If we didn't have the right leadership in that ability to make that happen, we would make additional changes."
For now, Dimitroff and Smith are safe. They will get one more shot next year, but it appears that Blank will not tolerate another losing season.
Blank also addressed the Falcons issues on the offensive and defensive line.
"It's how you control the line of scrimmage. Can you run the ball? Can you stop the run? I don't think we did either one of these things this year. I would say if you look at toughness from that perspective, I don't think we were as tough as we needed to be."
This statement is far more blunt than what coach Smith has said all year about his team's toughness, so it's interesting to note the discrepency between coach and owner here.
One thing was clear from this press conference, Blank knows his team was bad this year. He knows the areas they need to fix, and he believes in his coach and GM. He wants to build through the draft and address both lines of scrimmage as opposed to adding a skill player. He's taking the right approach in trying to fix what this team was last year and make sure they head in the right direction.
Whether or not Smith and Dimitroff can rebound is yet to be seen. The draft and free agency will be very important for the success of the 2014 team.
- Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff Says Coach Mike Smith’s Job is Safe, Owner Arthur Blank Yet to Speak on Subject
- Atlanta Falcons Owner Arthur Blank Stands Behind Coach Mike Smith and GM Thomas Dimitroff Despite 2-8 Record
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