Falcons give Dimitroff three-year extension — and yes, I agree

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn would be quite happy if recent scheduling analytics work in Falcons' favor. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn have worked well as a team. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

(Updated: 3 p.m.)

If you were going to blame Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff for past personnel mistakes that led to the team’s decline, it wouldn’t seem right to not give him some credit for the obvious improvements over the past two years.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank obviously agrees. He has given Dimitroff a three-year contract extension.

Yes, I agree with this decision.

Dimitroff took a brunt of the criticism when the team went 10-22 and missed the playoffs over the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He deserved the hits. There was a case to be made that he should have lost his job along with coach Mike Smith, even if I — and clearly owner Arthur Blank, by his actions — believed that despite the mistakes, Smith underachieved with the rosters he was given.

I also believe Blank, as the builder of one of the most succeessful retail chains in history, has also a special affinity for builders of sports organizations. What Dimitroff accomplished after taking over in 2008 surpassed anything any Falcons’ general manager had accomplished in history. An organization that never had back-to-back winning seasons underwent a radical makeover and strung together five straight winning records under Dimitroff and Smith and made the playoffs in four of those years.

Drafts and some key personnel decisions, particularly those involving offensive and defensive linemen, contributed to the two-year slide, costing Smith his job. Blank chose to retain Dimitroff but in hiring Dan Quinn as new coach, he also gave him final say over the final roster, effectively making him head of football operations. It has never been articulated who actually has final say over the draft, but it’s difficult to imagine that Dimitroff would acquire a player — or be empowered to do so — if Quinn didn’t want him. Blank restructured also restructured the organization so that Quinn and Dimitroff report to him directly.

Quinn said if he and Dimitroff were split on a personnel decision, Blank would break the tie.

“But generally if we have a tie it, wouldn’t be the right (player) for us.”

So you’ve agreed on every personnel decision?

“We have. And that’s important. Over the last year and a half there have been a lot of roster decisions and personnel decisions we’ve made and we put a lot of thought into it together.”

Blank and Dimitroff first addressed the contract issue in the spring but, in Dimitroff’s words, “We put it away. I needed to get my head in the right spot. It was important for me to partner with Dan and focus on the process of the offseason. It was important that my focus be on that and not on my future.”

Dimitroff acknowledged that his reputation as a talent evaluator took several dings but said he has benefitted from the clarity from Quinn and assistants on the type of players they’re looking for.

“Obviously people are going to perceive things a certain way after two very difficult years,” he said. “We can talk about exactly why something happened, but that’s not important. A lot of us were raised that when you get knocked, you get back up. You don’t piss and moan and cry about it.”

Quinn and Dimitroff obviously have worked well together and there have been far more correct decisions than mistakes in the draft and free agency since the new structure. So why would Blank make a change? Quinn wanted to work with Dimitroff when he first got the coaching job and he wanted him again after last season.

Blank was correct to hold off extending Dimitroff’s contract before now. He obviously was not happy when the Falcons opened the season with a home loss to Tampa Bay. But they are 6-2 since, including wins at Denver, at Oakland and over Green Bay, and nearly won at Seattle.

As much as critics don’t want to give Dimitroff credit for the improvement, it short-changes his abilities as a personnel man and gives him no credit for what he accomplished when he first took over the organization. It also gives him no credit for the input he is providing now.

That doesn’t excuse past mistakes. But to completely ignore the man’s body of work never seemed right, either.

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41 comments
RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

Dimitroff rebuilt the O-line, drafted a potential great TE, added Sanu, and has as many as 4 rookies starting on Defense at times. He deserves the recognition and rewards.

GT71
GT71

HE will PROBABLY earn an extension.  But as yet, no.  IS there some head-hunter out there after him?  Is Arthur fending off an advance from another team or industry?  Why do this NOW when the job is not even half-way done?  Rewards banquets are held AFTER the season, not half way through. IF his guys continue to play well and make the playoffs and show well in them, THEN, after the evidence is in, reward the guy with an extension if you must.  But not before.


MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

Getting all giddy because of a halfway decent first half of a season?  Really?  Why not wait until the end of the season for an evaluation of how good your boy wonder Dimmy is?

TideDawg
TideDawg

At this point of the season I'd give the edge to New Orleans or Carolina. Atlanta is much improved but they can't outscore N.O. Atlanta will stay in the race but fade near the finish. It is encouraging for 2017. Even if they happen to win their division, they're going nowhere. I've been pulling for them most of their existence but that's been like rowing upstream. Too many field goals in the red zone and too little defense between the 20s.

lighteredknot
lighteredknot

1998 was anti-climatic for me.  @TideDawg  Did Falcons not already defeat N.O. in their arena this year? Did they not defeat Panthers here?   I have witnessed Falcons since 1966, Norb Hecker,etc.  and  1998 was anti-climatic for me. If defense can heal, and Coleman gets back close to good,  and others stay well,  the Falcons can score. The Tampa defeat last Thursday established that more.


TOJacket
TOJacket

TideMutt...Get a new boat or team.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Tide...the Falcons sure as he!! Gave you more to cheer about than those mediocre mutts.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@lighteredknot @TideDawg We're not talking about what they've done, we're talking about the future. If they finish the second half the way they played the first half I'll believe. A lot of "ifs" there. To repeat a time worn phrase "If Ifs and buts were candy & nuts we would all have a Merry Christmas". I hope they make it, but for now I'll stand by what I said.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@TOJacket Why doesn't Tech give me something to cheer about? I forgot! Tech won the ACC back in.....well, a few years ago. Rah! Rah!

Fraiser133
Fraiser133

TOTALLY THINK THE OWNERSHIP GROUP GOT IT WRONG! OBVIOUSLY THESE GUYS WERE LOOKING AT THE GLASS AS HALF FULL! MATT RYAN WILL NEVER TAKE THIS GROUP TO A SUPER BOWL. HE WILL GO DOWN AS DIMITRIOFF'S BIGGEST BLUNDER IMO.

PTCer
PTCer

Give Dimitroff half a contract (1-1/2 years extension) now, and give him the rest (another 1-1/2 years) at the end of the successful season. Give him bonuses if make the playoffs, go deep in playoffs, play/win Super Bowl.

Must have concrete incentives (probably exist), we're just not privy to the details.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@PTCer Yeah! And they made a mistake on Michael Vick  with a long term contract.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Vick filled that Dome every game. Man you are a sad sack.

PeteMTL
PeteMTL

Give the guy a break ! Trufant, Alford, Freeman, Beasley, Coleman, Grady Jarrett, Keanu Neal, Deion Jones and Austin Hooper. All playing and contributing.


Gotta give him credit for moving up to get Julio as well. Ask the Browns who won that one.


People always have a tendency to remember the negatives . 


I still believe Alford will get better. It all seems to be about technique in his case. He's fast and covers pretty well. He doesn't use his hands smartly. Let's be patient.

TOJacket
TOJacket

I think y'all been watching UGA...not the Falcons?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@PeteMTL: "Let's be patient."

____________

Half a damn century with ZERO championships--and you're requesting patience???

Get a clue!

58Supersports
58Supersports

@PeteMTL Alford is a joke, if I was the other teams I'd throw the sink at him and he would screw up big time. The secondary " suck" ...

TOJacket
TOJacket

Get you a new team Nancy....you're embarrassing.

AdmiralObvious53
AdmiralObvious53

A little premature at best....this team still has a deficient defense that ASSUMING they even make the playoffs (which is likely BUT they've not done it yet) will come back to haunt them when they play other playoff teams and WHO is at fault draft wise and free agent wise for building that defense?...Mr.Spiky Hair - Dummytroff!  

58Supersports
58Supersports

Time will tell where Blank screwed up again... Jeff agreeing is like me not agreeing, only Jeff has the ajc as his mouthpiece.

Peachtree Bart
Peachtree Bart

Basically, Dimitroff needed to get off the bicycle and get his head back into making the Falcons a real contender.  When focused and humbled, he seems to do a decent job, usually.   Quinn has been good for him, it seems.

UGA76
UGA76

This is the worse decision in the history of the Atlanta Falcons, a team with a huge history of bad decisions. 

Kane337
Kane337

Does this mean Scott Pioli will also be getting an extension soon? 

BTC
BTC

Just because you seem headed for the playoffs at this point, doesn't warrant a contract extension.  Let's see them get there - and perform...

DawgNole
DawgNole

@BTC

BINGO!

Way to early to declare this year's team a smashing success because of anything Dimitroff's done.

ONE playoff victory during his entire time in ATL. This franchise badly needs to experience postseason success, which obviously hasn't happened yet.

TOJacket
TOJacket

You talking about Kirby's kanines?

Therut
Therut

Should have waited until the end of the season. It wasn't like he was going anywhere else.

candlin14
candlin14

Terrible decision by the Falcons to re sign this guy before the season is over. The schedule alone could easily have this team missing the playoffs yet again.


What is Dimitrioffs plan for this secondary? Is going to keep Alford, arguably the worst cover corner back in the NFL? I sure hope not. This guy is addicted to PI's and defensive holdings. 


Way to early to give this clown an extension.

Big Wally
Big Wally

The one thing we fans will never know is what went on behind the scenes.  Were the bad picks really Smith's, or Dimitroff's?

TOJacket
TOJacket

Wallace...Might have been Richts?

living-in-outdated-ed
living-in-outdated-ed

This move was a bit premature.   Still plenty of season left.  His deal should run commensurate with DQ's deal.  Not sure why Arthur was so eager to do this NOW.   What's the rush?   Not being a pessimist - just don't think this was a smart move.

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

Jeff, you're trying to be provocative, right? Or ironic maybe? 

No one I know whose recent "body of work" was as unimpressive as Dimitroff's would get a contract extension. Termination would be the outcome. 

"Some of the draft mistakes" is perhaps evidence that you realize that he has made SEVERAL of those. 

At least now he can afford a new hairdo and some new threads. Atlanta's haberdashers should see this extension as good news indeed.