Hello Atlanta Falcon fans! Wow, what a season. What started off looking like a season of promise, as we started five and zero, has once again ended miserably. Unfortunately for all ATL fans, the same team that started our losing skid was the same team that ended our season with a loss. So as we rinse the bad taste from our mouths, it’s time to take a hard look at our franchise and discuss how we can improve so that one day we can hoist the Lombardi Trophy in our great city.
The first item that jumps off the page this season is the play of quarterback Matt Ryan, who had one of his worst seasons since entering the league in 2008. In fact, Ryan’s quarterback rating was the lowest ever through a 16 game season. The only season his rating was worse was in 2009, when he only played 14 games, according to ESPN.
The most obvious aspect of Ryan’s game that was off this year, was his penchant to turn the ball over at key moments. The interception that allowed New Orleans to drive for the winning field goal was an exclamation point on Matty Ice’s forte this season, which pales from years gone by. It appears our Matty Ice is nothing more than a lukewarm quarterback after all. However, it would be way to easy, and very unfair, to dump the blame for the Falcons unraveling squarely on Matt’s shoulders. If we’re to be objective we need to start at the place where it all begins, Author Blank.
As a long time Falcon fan I’ve grown to appreciate how Mr. Blank seems to have a deep desire to win a Super Bowl. Every season since he’s been owner he takes time to evaluate the needs of the team, as well as the production of the front office and coaching staff. The one area that could use change, seems to be the one he has chosen to take off the table and that’s the position of general manager.
From the time Thomas Dimitroff stepped into Atlanta he has been hailed as one of the brightest and most gifted GM’s in The League. However, if you take the time to study the draft classes he and his staff have put together the results, as documented by columnist Matthew Chambers, are startling and provide enough evidence for Mr. Blank to begin the search for another GM.
The past couple of seasons the word within the broadcast booth has been the Falcons team has lacked both depth and talent. Should this be surprising, considering ALL the players Thomas Dimitroff drafted in 2010 and 2012 are no longer in the NFL? That’s a total of thirteen players he missed on. Thirteen players, that should’ve at least been serviceable as backups. Everyone knows players get injured in The League, and the winning teams do their homework on the players they draft and make sure to bring in guys that can actually contribute. Everyone, except for Dimitroff. It’s interesting to note that the 2010 Super Bowl winning Green Bay Packers were forced to play a allot of backups during that season. More importantly, those backups were playing in key positions along the offensive and defensive lines. Football isn’t rocket science, every team knows players are going to get hurt, and if you ever want to have a prayer of winning a Super Bowl you must draft well. The winning teams prepare for injuries, while the losers make excuses.
Areas that I believe need immediate attention include: The offensive line, the defensive line, linebacker and safety positions need upgrading and depth along both lines of scrimmage.
Some of my observations from the 2015-2016 season: The defense was improved, despite continuing to be ineffective when having an opponent in third and long. To it’s credit, the defense was at times the lone bright spot. Being the only blemish of our division opponent, Carolina Panthers, is very satisfying. We also saw Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman emerge as two major assets and weapons on offense. However, while the defense has improved and it appears the team has some young weapons, the team still lacks depth and talent. So, where do we go from here Falcon fans?
We must improve our player selection through the draft. Teams that build through the draft, and use free agency to plug minor holes are successful teams. It’s from this fans perspective that truly the best place for the Falcons to start is finding another general manager. Thomas Dimitroff isn’t getting the job done. The reason the Falcons are a mediocre team is due to poor draft classes and lack of talent. It’s been proven through history to win Super Bowls you don’t need a roster full of superstars, however, you do need a group of guys who can play and contribute at the NFL level. In order to produce a winning team you must have a general manager who recognizes talent.
Mr. Blank, if you’re listening, Falcon fans are tired of mediocrity. If you truly desire to win, it would be in the best interest of everyone to find a new general manager. We know you’re driven by results. Look at Dimitroff’s draft record and it should be clear, find another general manager so we can begin a winning tradition. Otherwise get ready to blow yet another draft class.
To all the Falcon fans, I’d like to hear from you. What do the Atlanta Falcon’s need to do in order to take the next step and possibly win a Super Bowl? Who knows, maybe Author Blank will listen to us, finally.