PHOENIX — In the last three-plus weeks, the Falcons have been unavailable to clarify who will make final personnel decisions in the draft and free agency, or who will have final say over the 53-man roster, following a franchise restructuring that was announced Jan. 7.
I would like to tell you that a 30-minute conversation Darryl Ledbetter and I had with owner Arthur Blank clarified everything Friday, but that just wouldn’t be the case.
Here’s a link to the transcript of the Q-and-A, straight off of Ledbetter’s busy fingertips.
As you’ll read, Blank would say only that “the process” will lead to player selection in the draft and free agency. He would not say who ultimately will have final say. He denied that general manager Thomas Dimitroff has lost any autonomy. Dimitroff remains over assistant Scott Pioli, but Pioli has been put in charge of the draft and free agency.
There are growing indications that Dan Quinn, who will be named coach Monday after leading Seattle’s defense in the Super Bowl Sunday, will be given final say over the 53-man roster. Here’s an excerpt from the column:
Blank referenced Super Bowl teams New England and Seattle as process-driven organizations. But in fact, it’s clear that coaches Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll have final say.
“They would both tell you they have final say but only in the context of a process,” Blank said.
And the final say in your organization is?
“We’ll be clear on that when a coach signs.”
He would not say whether Quinn will have final say over the 53-man roster but he acknowledged “10 to 12” NFL coaches have that, and, “The trend is for coaches to ask for that.”
The new franchise structure also suggests Quinn will have that autonomy because, unlike former Falcons coach Mike Smith, Quinn will report directly to Blank, not to Dimitroff.
There’s more in the column and there will be more next week. But all of these questions should have been answered when the team initially announced a restructuring on Jan. 7. It has been a major PR fumble by the organization.
•A writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— MyAJC: Blank speaks but remains vague on Falcons’ restructuring — MyAJC: Tiger Woods’ problems aren’t just physical anymore — AJC: Is it Tiger time … or is Tiger Woods’ time over? — MyAJC: LeGarrette Blount walked out on team — and straight to Super Bowl — AJC: Georgia’s Lockette playing for third straight Super Bowl team — MyAJC: Dan Quinn says he’s ready for next challenge (with Falcons) — AJC: Lynch goes into interview Beast Mode again (surprise!) — MyAJC: Great or not, Patriots’ legacy is forever tarnished — AJC: Seattle players say Quinn will be ‘great head coach’ for Falcons — AJC: Brady says ‘feelings got hurt’ by accusations (really?) — MyAJC: Hawks are closest team to rare Atlanta sports title — AJC: Matt Ryan doesn’t believe deflating footballs is the norm — MyAJC: Al Horford finally past injuries and frustration with Hawks — AJC: Stall, lie, cheat — it’s the Patriots’ way, and perfectly timed — AJC: DeflateGate: It’s time for NFL to forfeit games for cheaters — MyAJC: Walsh-Montana still top Belichick-Brady on coach-QB mountain — AJC: Seattle’s Super Bowl only delays Falcons’ hiring of Dan Quinn — AJC: Oddsmaker says Braves’ win total will be ‘low 70s’ (with reader poll) — MyAJC: Braves’ moves carry Coppolella’s fingerprints — AJC: There goes Evan Gattis as Braves take another big hit