Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Falcon Way

From a Dirty Bird fan in Atlanta, on "The Falcon Way" under Blank, Smith, and Dimitroff.

TO: Czabe
FROM: Rick
RE: Falcons vs. Redskins

Having lived in ATL for 7 years ... I've had to watch and study the ATL Falcons. It's been interesting to say the least. Vick, Mora Jr, the Petrino experiment, etc, etc.
Here is what I think I've learned:

- Young, Talented, SMART Franchise QB is a must - check

- Talented, SMART (gymrat type) GM - check

- Owner who writes checks (likes to stand on the sidelines) but otherwise just owns and doesn't micro-manage- check

- Build ONE side of the ball per draft ... eg, year one - Offense, year two - Defense

- Select Few Impact Free Agents ... eg. RB Turner, CB D. Robinson

- Draft pick template ... Talent, Smarts, Character, Team Guy

- A coach who is personable and commands respect but keeps EVERYTHING in the locker room or behind closed doors - check

The Falcons are not only in position to go to the Super Bowl this year, they are positioned for the next 5 years. The are actually a year or two ahead of schedule but not nearly at their peak. Currently one of the youngest teams in the NFL.

A look at the key players:

Owner Arthur Blank - took his ego and put it on the shelf ... put his "learning" cap on and studied the Patriots and Steelers. Pats owner Bob Kraft is his best NFL "friend". Other than enjoying being on the sidelines during games ... really just owns and lets' coaches coach, GM's GM and players' play.

GM Dimitroff - absolute "gymrat" .. cut his teeth for years being a college scout for Belichek. Spending weeks on the road watching kids at Colorado State and Central Michigan, etc. First NFL job was an intern job painting the field lines in Cleveland. Has developed player "prototype" files for each position that are said to be as intricate and intense and anyone has ever seen for an NFL personel guy. Look at a guy like Brent Grimes .... nobody ever heard of him. Too small, etc.... he's an All-Pro CB this year. Undrafted Free Agent from Shippensburg Univ. .... Dimitroff signed him to the practice squad then sent him to NFL Europe before he allowed him to make the Falcon roster... now he's an All-Pro.

Coach Mike Smith - the Ultimate Players Coach ... but, you must respect him and do things "the right way". Players absolutely LOVE playing for the guy. They know he has their back and will bring a gun to a knife fight to battle for them. Defense + Run Game + limit turnovers and penalties. (Falcons went 4 games in a row this year without a turnover).

QB Matt Ryan aka *Matty Ice* - Ultra Competitive and a Never Say Never Guy. Stepped in as a rookie and immediately commanded respect in the huddle. How many 22 year old rookies get the attention of a Hall of Fame TE who says ... "trade me to ATL, I want to play with THAT guy". Gonzalez told KC "please figure out a way to trade me to ATL", I want to play there.

Anyway .... I don't think the Falcons will win the SB this year... they might get there but probably won't win. But the next 5 years might also see the "Road to the Super Bowl" go through ATL.

I know you love your Redskins ... I just wanted to shoot you a quick note on how it's getting done down here in ATL. Just in case you ever get to "bend" Mr. Snyder's ear :-)

Rick in Atlanta


  1. Astute thoughts. The Falcons are a very exciting team.

  2. I enjoy when "character" is used to desrcibe professional ball players. How about not going to jail, not beating you wife or girlfriend and not doing drugs. My next favorite is "great locker room guy." Suddenly teams started reading the local police blotter to see if any or their players were on it. I call it the "BS" department by Atlanta. Go somewhere else and conduct yourself like that.

  3. What a joke. The falcons didn't have some genius formula. They've got an owner that's every bit as meddlesome as Snyder(and a ratface that only shanny could love). They've spent big money on free agents (Michael Turner & Daunte Robinson). They've traded high draft picks for overhill veterans (2nd rounder for Tony G & 1st rounder for Abraham). They just happened to luck into a Franchise QB and a coach that the jury is still out on.

    Hey, they're looking good this year but wake me when they win something. But don't let me stop you from making them into the Patriots south.

  4. Rick is absolutely right about the Falcons. And it pains me to contrast that model with the cluster-F that is my 49ers.

    o The owners are cheapskate morons.

    o The GM was hired AFTER the draft.

    o The drafts have been head-scratchers - there's no rhyme or reason to explain why players are chosen.

    o The offensive coordinator is a rookie mid-season replacement. His game plans have absolutely NO consistency...but he's still WAAAAY better than the guy he replaced.

    o The coach can't manage the clock, let alone the players.

    o The starting quarterback is Smith. WHICH Smith depends on Singletary's whim.

    It adds up to 5-9, and points to a 5-year run that will be the polar opposite of what the Falcons future holds.

  5. Not only do I have a man-crush on the Falcons, but now I have one on 'Rick' as well! Well constructed thoughts on the key positions of a successful sports team.

    I agree that the Falcons don't have it all this year (the offense can be stale at times, and the defense is susceptible to the big play) , but they are trending up when many teams are trending down (see WASH, MINN, DEN, etc).

  6. Lets see the Falcons win something before we crown their ass. I seem to recall my Eagles dismantling them with Kolb at QB. Not impressed.

  7. Nice post, but, I think the you're getting way ahead of yourself on crowning the Pigeons as the next great dynasty. I think the reigning world champions may have a little to say about this run you think your team is about to go on.

  8. Matt Ryan is a top QB that doesn't get a lot of publicity as much as other QBs who may not deserve the publicity.

    Same goes for Roddy White. Probably the best WR in game and has had a great comeback story.

    Jason Snelling could be one of the better 2nd backs in the game.

    Tony Gonzalez is an aging TD but still a lethal weapon when the game could be on the line.

    If they got a better 2nd WR they would be deadly.