FLOWERY BRANCH — Michael Holley is one of my favorite people in the sports business.
Our paths crossed in Ohio decades ago and we’ve consulted a various times during our careers. He was very helpful during the Michael Vick trial, so when he was writing the “War Room” I was pleased to help out.
My copy is waiting for me at the office, but SI’s Peter King has already read the book and shared a gracious book review on page 2 of this week’s Monday Morning Quarterback column. Here’s the link to King’s column.
In the book, “War Room: The Legacy of Bill Belichick and the Art of Building the Perfect Team” Holley writes about Belichick, Kansas City’s Scott Pioli and Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff thoughts on building that perfect team.
A couple of things in the review caught my attention.
1. After Dimitroff called Belichick “as a friend,” the mentor advised him not to make the Julio Jones trade. He felt the Falcons should have stayed at No. 27 and picked Pittsburgh’s Jonathan Baldwin. The deal was too pricey for Belichick’s blood. (Baldwin was our selection in one of my early Mocks drafts. He went to Kansas City on the 26th pick. He caught a couple balls last night in the win over San Diego.).
2. The Falcons, with their quest for players with high football I.Q.’s and good character, have the most “black dots” on their draft board in the league. Players that the team won’t consider are given black dots. Even the image conscious owner, Arthur Blank, was concerned with the number of “black dots.” In their quest to stay away from “challenged souls” are the Falcons missing out on some talent?
3. The draft room is bizarre. In the past when the local media has requested access to the draft room, they have been summarily turned down. It seems the draft room is party central full of limited partners and board members. The book notes that Dimitroff runs a pretty relaxed ship that may include Hank Aaron or Andrew Young dropping by on draft day. Pioli is much more up tight in K.C. He wants peace and quiet in his draft room.
BTW, King recommends the book highly.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog