(Matt Ryan, Julio Jones photo courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons)
Talk of Fame Network
Once upon a time, Atlanta’s Thomas Dimitroff was one of the gold standards against which other general managers were measured. He was young, he knew how to build a team and he was so successful assembling the Falcons that he had them this close to reaching a Super Bowl.
But that was in 2012.
Since then the Falcons haven’t had a winning season, are 18-30 overall and have changed coaches. Now, if you believe reports coming out of Atlanta, Dimitroff is ... or should be ... on the hot seat, and we ran into someone on our latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast who does believe.
“I understand what this job is,” he said. “I signed up for it for nine years now. It’s amazing to be one of the more tenured GMs at 49 in this league, and it’s amazing to be around some great GMs. I’ve learned a lot from them over the years and bent their ears on a number of things. And this is one of the things that we obviously discuss. That’s part of my job. I know that I have ultimate responsibilities to be a very big, important part of the co-building with the head coach.
“Of course I’m on the hot seat. Every year I’m on the hot seat. I believe that 100 percent. I believe anyone who doesn’t think they are maybe just won a Super Bowl. But I think most of us know that it’s a very urgent league now.
“You can talk to some of my contemporaries in the league as younger general managers as they’re coming through, and they realize as they step through the doorway that this is about now … this is about acquiring … and capitalizing on victories now. They may not be around for three years.
"I understand it. It’s a very good football base in Atlanta. They’re smart football people. And they have high expectations. And my job is to provide them with a winner.”
And with the moves he and the Falcons have made this offseason, he may succeed.
Nevertheless, the obvious question remains: Will the real Atlanta Falcons please stand up? Are they the club that started fast last year, winning six of its first seven starts, or the team that fell apart down the stretch, losing seven of its last nine?
“I really do believe the one that started (6-1),” said Dimitroff. “I think we have a really interesting nucleus. I like our talent, I like our speed, I like our athleticism. We are becoming more and more adept as the months go on understanding the systems that have been brought into Atlanta. We’re a run-and-hit 4-3 defense that obviously Dan Quinn knows inside out …
“I really believe there’s some high energy on this team that’s going to help us a lot. And I think an extra year under our belt in this system, on the offensive side under Kyle Shanahan and on the defense is going to help us a great deal.”