Falcons’ changes: Pioli’s role increases, so what of Dimitroff?

Scott Pioli will now overseeing scouting for Falcons but remains under Thomas Dimitroff. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

Scott Pioli will now overseeing scouting for Falcons but remains under Thomas Dimitroff. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

Scott Pioli will now overseeing scouting for Falcons but remains under Thomas Dimitroff. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

The Falcons announced a “restructuring” of their personnel department Wednesday night. This is what I know about restructurings in the business world: 1) People often lose jobs; 2) People sometimes keep jobs but lose power.

Where exactly this leaves Falcons and their general manager,  Thomas Dimitroff,  in the front office’s sudden restructuring remains to be seen. The team maintains he will still have final say over personnel matters but it was such a clumsily worded release that it’s difficult to know for sure what will happen.

The only certainty is that owner Arthur Blank still has a job — and his visibility has not decreased. In fact, it’s going up. Let’s go down the list of principles:

• Arthur Blank: From being out front in last week’s Mike Smith firing news conference, which included a protracted opening statement, to Wednesday’s release, Blank is becoming higher profile than usual in football operations. That’s fine. It’s his team. But the wording in the official news release was intriguing and left me wondering if he was evolving into a junior Jerry Jones: “After reviewing all of our options – internally and externally – I have no reservations that this is the best approach to setting up our player personnel groups for future success. … While this decision was not tied to the head coach search currently underway, we also believe that independent thinking and collaboration will contribute to taking us to the next level in our league. Therefore, our new head coach and Thomas will report separately to me.”

• Thomas Dimitroff: He is still the general manager. He is still over Scott Pioli, the assistant GM. But in the new structure, Pioli will oversee all aspects of the scouting department, college and pro, as well as increased draft responsibilities. The release states that Pioli will report to Dimitroff, and Dimitroff, “will also retain management responsibility for salary cap, player affairs, equipment, sports medicine and performance, and video activities.” Sorry, but that reads like, “Thomas, you can do everything but scout players — that’s Scott’s job,” even if that wasn’t the intent.

At draft time, Dimitroff supposedly will still be the one who makes the picks. But there’s no question Pioli’s input and responsibilities go up. When somebody’s responsibilities go up, does another person’s responsibilities generally go down?

The Falcons believe this front office structure is similar to some other franchises, like the Baltimore Ravens. But we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out. I know this much: Dimitroff’s roots are in the scouting side of football, so at the very least this doesn’t look good.

• Scott Pioli: He was praised for his work in New England but panned in Kansas City. This restructuring will leave some with the impression that he is undercutting Dimitroff. That’s probably not the case. Pioli did not make any friends in Kansas City with the way he treated some people in the front office, so his negative reputation will fuel a negative narrative. But Dimitroff and Pioli remain close friends and I don’t believe Pioli would be party to a relative hostile takeover. Also, again, at least according to the release,  Pioli remains under Dimitroff in the company flowchart.

But the company has problems and changes were inevitable. Restructurings are never a good sign.


A recent writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— AJC: How’s this scenario: Falcons vs. Giants and Mike Smith’s defense in 2015?
— MyAJC: Smoltz just wanted to survive, but he did so much more
— AJC John Smoltz, a Hall of Famer on many levels, gets the call
— AJC: Hall of Fame: Smoltz, 7 others checked on my ballot
— AJC: ROSE BOWL: Oregon mocks FSU, Winston with “No means No” chant
— MyAJC: ROSE BOWL: After 29 straight wins, Florida State morphs into grease fire
— AJC: ROSE BOWL: Short takes on Oregon’s win in semis
— MyAJC: ROSE BOWL: Is FSU most hated great team in college history?
— AJC: ROSE BOWL: Oregon’s Helfrich credits Falcons’ Koetter for his success
— AJC: ROSE BOWL (short takes): FSU an underdog for first time in 50 games
— MyAJC: ROSE BOWL: Will Jameis Winston prove to be worth risk in NFL?
— AJC: ROSE BOWL (short takes): Ex-Tech coach Charles Kelly’s challenge
— AJC: Weekend Mini-Predictions: Locals win, Bama and Oregon to finals
— MyAJC: It’s Arthur Blank’s show now, and that could be a problem?
— AJC: Falcons fire Smith, keep Dimitroff, and here are some candidates
— MyAJC: Falcons are done, and so it Mike Smith
— AJC: Say goodbye to Falcons, Smith, but Blank handled this poorly
— AJC: Falcons hire search firm — hey, nice timing, Blank

 

Reader Comments 0

25 comments
blah blah blah
blah blah blah

I'm amazed the "Atlanta Race Police" haven't got involved in the Falcon's head-coach search. 

Or have they??? Is the AJC protecting Arthur & NFL??? 

Obama's need for diversity speech in 3,2,1

GoFalcons
GoFalcons

Jeff,


It means, the owner, Arthur Blank wants to win the Super Bowl and wants to get a coach with the same mindset. Mr. Blank is willing to spend the money he allowed to spend by the NFL. 


You sports journalists are not used to new management structure and are stuck in the old 100 year old management you guys are used to. 


Times have changed. See I am commenting using my digital subscription to the AJC and not mailing in my comment. How great is that?


Don’t be concerned, there won’t be any internal turf wars, Blank will fire anyone who starts one. 

pride
pride

Blank takes the snap, drops back into the pocket, and is sacked by an undesirable! Can't wait for the day.

ATLFan
ATLFan

When everyone has responsibility no one does.

syrupmaker
syrupmaker

Pass rushers are needed.  Please give me Vic Beasley or Dante Fowler, Jr. at OLB. Looking at the mock drafts, you might be able to trade down to about 15 and get either. Find me a headhunting thumper inside to take over for Keith Brooking 2.0, Paul "Pile-Jumper" Worrilow. If we go to strictly the 4-3, sign Donkey Kong Suh.  Go get Cameron Irving  or even Tre Jackson from FSU to solidify this oline.  Also, pray that Gurley or Gordon fall to the second round. 

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

You are competing against 31 other teams starting with a defense that is bottom of the barrel, a thin offensive line that cannot run block and is no great shakes at pass protection, less than pedestrian crew of running backs, a fragile #1 receiver, aging #2, and non-threat tight ends, and a quarterback with good short and medium range ability but limited mobility and arm strength.


What if Smith hadn't screwed up the Detroit and Cleveland games and the Falcons rolled into the playoffs? Blank gets his home playoff game and possibly squeaks by the depleted Cardinals, but then the Falcons get embarrassed on National TV like Carolina whipped up on them. They would still be the same team in need of massive retooling and talent upgrade. There are NOT a lot of pieces of the grand Super Bowl puzzle on the table, and the front office is totally deluded if they believe otherwise.

twentysixpointtwo
twentysixpointtwo

It's clear Blank wants to make changes with his management team however I don't think he knows what he is doing.  Who does what?  Who is what?  Anyway getting Dimitroff away from drafting players and signing free agents is a MUST.

BillFalcon
BillFalcon

It will be interesting to see if current NE OC Josh McDaniel is the HC. Surely Blank is not stupid enough to have the Patriot's incest that close to him.

RangeRover
RangeRover

Blank, without Marcus, is like a center without a quarterback.  Blank is your classic #2 guy and the more he tries and tries to be a #1 guy the more he makes a compete fool of himself.

reckingball
reckingball

I don't care who is running the show, just would like to see the team draft and deal for some good players that can rush the passer, protect the passer and score more points than they give up.

Also would like to see them hire a coach that doesn't try to sit on a two score lead  with 3 quarters of the game left to play.

MackJones66
MackJones66

I would have spelled it--principals, but I could be wrong.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

"our new head coach and Thomas will report separately to me.”

Bizarre.  This is the kind of organizational chart you get in dysfunctional 3rd world countries

GoFalcons
GoFalcons

@PaulinNH


Is that right? How many organizational third world country organizational charts have you actually seen? Truth be told, this the modern day org charts in highly successful corporate America unless you are working for someone, who are #1 in declining market.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@JSSN @PaulinNH 

Same management structure as the Third Reich and we all know how that ended up.

JSSN
JSSN

@PaulinNH

1st world too, Only Stalin ever made this kind of stuff work! And that was during wartime with assassination squads scaring the helll out of his generals!

Delbert_D
Delbert_D

So, Pioli is now ...the scoutmaster??

candlin14
candlin14

I'm sure Mike Smith is sitting in his living room laughing right now. What a joke you are turning this franchise into Arthur Do it yourself Blank

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

So, Arthur is bringing in the folks from Handy City to run his new operation, rather than Bernie Marcus and the Home Depot crowd. 

etherdome
etherdome

First, it was the Patriots Way, without Belichick.  Now, we have the Baltimore Plan without Newsome and DeCosta.  


Are the Falcons like those cheap knock-offs that you can buy on 14th street?  


Positive Note:  The Hawks are looking phenomenal!

NewnanT-H
NewnanT-H

Pioli to Dimitroff: "Did you get the memo about the TPS reports?"

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

So let me get this straight, Piolis running the paint dept, and Dimitroff is demoted to plumbing supplies but still gets to tell him what colors to stock. McKay is still in charge of lumber and the blue light specials. The Fool is still writing the checks and paying for the contractor's breakfasts

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

I got it...were going back to the days of the Clampetts, when Jed used to let 11 year old Jethro make draft selections. 

TheVoice
TheVoice

What a mess we have for our home town team!


More bosses and less clarity in roles has never resulted in better results!  That rule is good since the 

beginning of time.


Go Hawks! 

Mastacow53
Mastacow53

So now the Falcons have 4 or 5 GMs? Oh and Arthur makes 6 GMs.


I'm sorry but with that firing press conference, the PSL announcement, and now the restructuring, Arthur has jumped the shark this week. He's suddenly drifting into Al Davis/Jerry Jones territory.