Blank vague but Quinn could have final say in Falcons’ roster

Arthur Blank denied to the AJC that general manager Thomas Dimitroff has been stripped of any power. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

Arthur Blank denied to the AJC that general manager Thomas Dimitroff has been stripped of any power. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

Arthur Blank denied to the AJC that general manager Thomas Dimitroff has been stripped of any power. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

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 free link to the full column on MyAJC.com.

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
 

Reader Comments 0

17 comments
SportsTopFan
SportsTopFan

The Atlanta Falcons need the TOP 53 pro football players available  !!!


The Head Coach should have the FINAL say in his team roster.

notPlanB
notPlanB

I've often wondered, who are these people that pick our players. I know our coaches all have a background in football and most have played the game at some level. What about the GMs? Where do they come from. Some probably do have background but do all? I really don't think you can be a judge of players without playing the game at some level and there are some GM's given a chance even though they don't have the skill.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

I think it's fair to say, that the coach should be able to pick his own groceries. If the GM likes the picks too-- all the better.

MitchellTbonefeather
MitchellTbonefeather

"…the process…"

"…the next level…"

"…moving forward…"

"…at the end of the day…"

and on and on…

to the cliches I say "…just say no…"


reckingball
reckingball

"they have final say, but only in the context of a process"......That is still final say, isn't it?


I surely hope that Quinn has the final say. Looking at what Dimitroff has done, I really don't believe that Quinn would have agreed to take the job,.... if he didn't have it guaranteed.

gfw
gfw

@reckingball Absolutely.  I cannot imagine a straight guy like Quinn agreeing to report to a fake like Dimitroff.

gfw
gfw

Blank's evasive way of talking doesn't enhance his reputation.  Best to be open, honest, direct.  And this nonsense about "process" (now we know why Smitty kept using that empty word) sounds like something from one of those management guru books.  The more we hear Blank speak the better we understand why he hired (and keeps) Dimitroff. 

twentysixpointtwo
twentysixpointtwo

@gfw Blank speaks evasively because he really has no idea who is doing what within his management team and coaching staff.  He ranks personal relationships ( McKay & Dimitrof) ahead of a path to success.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Well said, he would prefer yes-men around him that he trusts then men of substance that will speak the truth to him and hold their ground on things like Hard Knocks!

notPlanB
notPlanB

@TreeRollins  He also has brought us the 5 best years of the Falcons. Plus a few with Vick. His demise has been letting TD get rid of the decent players we had. Why AB keeps TD around, I don't know.

UGA76
UGA76

Let's hope Quinn controls the draft and free agency.  Pioli and Dimitroff are two of and combined with Blank make up the Atlanta version of the 3 stooges. 

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Arthur has proven he is an egocentric jock sniffing goofball that doesn't have a clue! He's a "look at me". Jerry Jones wanna be. He falls short and has been a great disappointment as an owner. Dan Quinn, hope you rise above this weak front office!

The Real Atlantan
The Real Atlantan

@traderjoe9

What planet are you on.

The hotel tax is payed by people staying at the the hotels. So yes if you stay at

an Atlanta hotel you will assist in the stadium funding.

Intruder
Intruder

If someone else is picking the roster, how can the coach be held responsible? And why would an owner not want him to be responsible? Why hire him to begin with? No coach worth his salt will let someone tell him that there are players going to be on the team that the coach doesn't want on the team. Not even Mike Smith.