Falcons presser: Blank was ‘angry’ with season

Falcons owner Arthur Blank let the public know that he was 'angry' with how last season turned out. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons owner Arthur Blank let the public know that he was 'angry' with how last season turned out. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons owner Arthur Blank admitted that he was “angry” after the team’s early exit from the playoffs in a press conference on Wednesday.

Blank, head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff spoke to the local media in the aftermath of a season that saw their Super Bowl hopes come crashing down in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

Before the presser, the team had already lost defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder to a “family decision” to return to the college ranks and around the same time, offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey was being introduced as the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Here are some of the other highlights from the press conference that lasted a little over an hour.

– The team stated that it wanted to support transparency, but that it would conduct its search for new coordinators in private.

– The team has 17 free agents and consider eight of them to be core players. However, all of them may not return because of financial considerations.

– Blank stated that the team is playing for “rings” and “championships.” He said, “We’re not about being in the playoffs. . . this organization is about greatness.”

– The team wants to add some tough, mean and physical players.

– Smith said that his offensive MVP was quarterback Matt Ryan. His defensive MVP was linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. He also had kind words for punter Matt Bosher and return man/coverage guy Eric Weems.

– He stated that Weatherspoon received some attention during the league-wide Pro Bowl voting.

– Running back Michael Turner’s touches will likely be cut down moving forward.

– Blank spoke about the “intellectual honesty” of Smith and Dimitroff. “They’ll be honest in their evaluations,” Blank said.

– Blank promised that the analysis of the team will be thorough. “We need to be careful that we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water,” Blank said.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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515 comments Add your comment

lanier

January 11th, 2012
1:42 pm

like the rough tough players part the rest is fluff

Thomas Dimitroff can take a hike

January 11th, 2012
1:48 pm

Arthur Blank should have thought about fiery, tough, mean, physical players BEFORE the season!!!

But I guess he was counting on lil’ Tommy Dimitroff to, you know, be the GM.

Is anyone going to call out Dimitroff for Ray Edwards, Dunta, Sam Baker, etc ???

If Blank thinks he’s angry, he should hang out with the fans!

goodgod

January 11th, 2012
1:48 pm

with matt ryan the mvp of the offense, i’ll won’t be watching any falcon games next season. been there and done that. so glad i’m not a season ticket holder. this team can’t beat good teams and certainly not an elite team. i predict next year they will go six wins and ten losses.

Big Dude

January 11th, 2012
1:49 pm

Blank is like me; I don’t like being around losers. I believe the Falcons are not going to settle for just any OC or DC. I’m sure much evaluation will go into who they consider. None of us want a repeat of the last four years, especially Blank, T.D. and Smith.

Ivan

January 11th, 2012
1:50 pm

“Is anyone going to call out Dimitroff for Ray Edwards, Dunta, Sam Baker, etc ???”

Please see the other op ed pieces. Thanks.

evan

January 11th, 2012
1:51 pm

Next Year NFC South:

1) Saints
2) Panthers
3) Bucs
4) Falcons

Big Dude

January 11th, 2012
1:55 pm

Hey, “take a hike”, T.D. signed good players. They were under-coached. I’m angry and frustrated like you, but the coaches and players were the ones on the field. The coaches and players were practicing and coming up with the game plans everyday. The owner of a company can hire you, but it is the formen or supervisors who see that you do your work.

SirReal

January 11th, 2012
1:56 pm

@Queensbridge Leave D.Led alone. Are you perfect?LOL Thought not.

Well its good to FINALLY see someone come out and say they were pissed about this season.
I agree with Spoon being the Defensive team MVP this year. On offense I dont think anyone really deserves it this year in my opinion.
Its about time Blank goes and gets some “big uglies” in here. He KNOWS this team is too nice and its time to get an edge back.
Glad to see Turner’s carries cut…maybe that means more exotic calls going forward from whoever the new OC is. (hopefully not but probably Bratkowski if MM doesnt pluck…which I hope he does.lol)
Just glad to see someone ESPECIALLY the owner say this was not good.
Thanks for the report D. Led!!!

Queensbridge

January 11th, 2012
1:56 pm

Did Blank say he doesn’t want to throw the baby out of bounds like most of Matty “Freeze in Playoffs” throws when he hears defensive footsteps?!

SirReal

January 11th, 2012
1:57 pm

@Queensbridge. LOL LOL now THAT was funny.

fred

January 11th, 2012
2:00 pm

don’t blame DOL..that may be what Blank said. Who the hell knows.

Blank please buy the damn Braves!!!!!!!

James

January 11th, 2012
2:00 pm

Enter your comments here

STRETCH

January 11th, 2012
2:02 pm

Wow, saying Matt Ryan is our “MVP” is like Wren saying Chipper Jones is our MVP or Sund saying Joe Johnson is our MVP.

I see the mentality in Atlanta is to settle for and hope for!

James

January 11th, 2012
2:02 pm

Enter your comments here

Get rid of the whole team, including the head coach!!!

Queensbridge

January 11th, 2012
2:02 pm

“Throw away baby: just hit a gatorade tub

Fan

January 11th, 2012
2:02 pm

We need players that wants too play tough, mean and physical players. We need winners on our team who wants too win at all cost. The OC & DC will have that type of attitude in Atlanta. Mr. Blank is tried of the losing in the first round mess. I think we will hire either Mel Tucker or Steve Spol and on OFFENSE BB who used too coach for Baltimore and the Viking. These guys have the same attitude that the players we will be bring in will have. It has been sad how Matt Ryan has been putting together his on Offense and putting it in a two-minute drill too win. Matt Ryan and his teammates have not had a OC since he has been in Atlanta. People keep saying MM built Matt and the fans know that is is LIE. Matt made MM looked good and Matt on Offense has been the reason for our success. Go get the tapes look back and you will see for yourself. This is why all year and the past few years in the PO we could not win. Matt has pure talent in his position but when playoff times comes he needs the OC. I feel that Mr. Blank is pissed off and so are the fans

collegeballfan

January 11th, 2012
2:02 pm

The Falcons need an OL that can block the opposition.

The Falcons need a pass rush.

The Falcons need a group of DB’s who can actually cover.

All of the above takes time.

Morn

January 11th, 2012
2:03 pm

Mularkey leaving is a positive step, Turners touches being trimmed is a good thing, the Falcons need a better Defense and need to cut down on the number of passes to White and teach Julio Jones how to warm up properly. They need good Wr’s, Rb’s, and lineman, Matt Ryan I believe can win but not with this crew surrounding him. Of course the team needs a new owner badly too.

hiramsaint

January 11th, 2012
2:05 pm

now thats a sad state of affairs when you have to settle on matty melt as your mvp. good thing is , it can’t get any worse than that

Ouch

January 11th, 2012
2:05 pm

Needs:

1) Offensive Lineman
2) Coach to teach Ryan to step up in the pocket and not to panic
3) Recievers who catch and then pickup additional yardage
4) Cornerbacks (get rid of Dunta whose a bust)
5) Defensive Ends who can create havoc
6) 3rd down back (I like Rogers but maybe too small?)
7) Coaches to get a little more aggressive on both sides of the ball (or head coach to get more aggressive)

8) Never ever ever give it to Ryan on fourth and short!

Nuff said and
Go Falcons!

bascogcjs

January 11th, 2012
2:06 pm

How in the heck could he have kind words for Matt Bosher?
he’s the worst kickoff man in the league and a pitiful punter.
Another wasted pick by the overrated Dimitroff,mastermind
of one of the worst trades in nfl history.(julio)

Whopper Dawg

January 11th, 2012
2:06 pm

Any football organization that even uses the word transparency has big problems. If Blank thinks that TD is going to lead him out of this wilderness, he is mistaken (I am being nice). Let’s list the quality players that TD has taken through the draft – Ryan, Lofton, Spoon and Peters. You can’t count Jones because he never will be worth the 5 picks used for him, and Peters is a rotational DT.

A GM has to do better than one quality player a year from the draft. Look at the Saints, Packers, Giants, etc. You will NEVER catch those franchises with TD plucking one quality players a year and then reaching several rounds for players no one has ever heard of.’

I continue to be stunned at the pass this guy gets.

Statick

January 11th, 2012
2:06 pm

“The team wants to add some tough, mean and physical players.”

Okay, so does that mean the end of the “Falcon Filter”?

IAW

January 11th, 2012
2:07 pm

STRETCH -Well said.

The Grinch

January 11th, 2012
2:08 pm

Morn, are you serious? A new owner? Were you here under the Smith(s) regime? Blank may not always make the best decisions, but he cares about the franchise and doesn’t mind spending money to make it successful. There are about 28 other teams out there that would love to have Blank over the owner they have.

@goodgod

January 11th, 2012
2:09 pm

with matt ryan the mvp of the offense, i’ll won’t be watching any falcon games next season. been there and done that. so glad i’m not a season ticket holder.

I’m so glad you’re not a STH either.

Supersize that order, mutt

January 11th, 2012
2:11 pm

It sounded like Arty got ‘angry’ with you for a moment there, DLED. What did you say to him? He said he was trying to answer your question, but he seemed pissed off. What did you ask him?

Dee

January 11th, 2012
2:12 pm

Morn, you’re a ******* idiot. Blank is the best owner the Falcons ever had. Take a time machine back during the days of the Smiths and then get back to me. On the other hand, since you love losing, don’t come back.

Morn

January 11th, 2012
2:14 pm

Dee, why don’t you go find that rock you slimed out from under. You aren’t very bright are you?

beone

January 11th, 2012
2:14 pm

Dled, Pls go to basic journalism class. If you can’t spell, you can’t write.

pretty good stats

January 11th, 2012
2:15 pm

Excellent….Now get down to business.
And that last cliche is appropriate for all you blogheads.
“We need to be careful that we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”.
There are some great pieces on this unfinished jigsaw puzzle and we have to trust in Dimitroff’s and Smith’s abilities.

fla dawg

January 11th, 2012
2:16 pm

goodgod…what are you basing your 6-10 prediction on and Evan please tell me specifically what you are basing your projected last place finish on. are both of you looking at the 2012 schedule or were those just gut feelings?

Bartles & James

January 11th, 2012
2:17 pm

We thank you for your support!

Saint Hater

January 11th, 2012
2:19 pm

I think Blank will put out the cash to get the tallent we need. I don’t think Martz will work with this QB or OL, and I’m pretty sure Spagnulo is going to Philly. Sporano’s gong to the Jets. I don’t want to think about guys like Billick or anyone else coming out of the booth and back into the daily grind, because they’re not successful after the time off. I do think Raheem Morris is a great fit for DC, certainly better than Del Rio. Maybe there’s a diamond in the rough that will come out here. AB, TD – time to make the donuts!

Leave it to the professionals

January 11th, 2012
2:19 pm

It will be done in “private”…..and they don’t need anyone here’s opinion.

Owner's Responsibility

January 11th, 2012
2:20 pm

Arthur needs to stay in his luxury box and off the side-lines. He is down there patting them on the back telling them who good they and being their owner and friend. He needs to leave the sidelines to the players and coaches. If an owner is on the sidelines it should be that someone is going home and off the team or best yet to receive a trophy.

Leave it to the professionals

January 11th, 2012
2:20 pm

Got it, Get it, Good.

Leave it to the professionals

January 11th, 2012
2:23 pm

Don’t worry D-Led, CBS thinks they ask the “tough questions”, but they don’t either.

Gregory Moundine

January 11th, 2012
2:23 pm

“The team wants to add some tough, mean and physical players.” What I have been yelling all year on this forum. W must use these type of people to win Championships and Rings!

extremus

January 11th, 2012
2:24 pm

“Running back Michael Turner’s touches will likely be cut down moving forward.”

Unfortunately that’s FAR from enough; Turner is done as a featured-quality back and has been for some time. You need a running back who can eat up 100-plus yards on any given Sunday, not just sporadically or against weaker teams. Turner has usually left the Falcons in second or third-and-long situations this past year especially; he needs to go.

I’m also hoping that Mularkey goes, regardless of the outcome of the Jacksonville interview. You don’t be woefully inconsistent on offense all season and then get shut out in the playoffs with a pool of talent like this without heads rolling, period.

In other words, when I hear “sweeping changes” and “angry” I expect much MORE than the Braves have done this offseason after their own historic collapse from the Falcons. Fix the problems guys, and fast.

Gregory Moundine

January 11th, 2012
2:25 pm

“The team wants to add some tough, mean and physical players.”
Now I will renew my season tickets..the talk I like to hear!

Jay Dubu

January 11th, 2012
2:26 pm

Coaching has nothing do to with lineman being run over by the Giants defense like they were on Sunday.

The Falcons O-line was pushed around for most of the game.

On the 4th down plays with the failed QB sneaks, how can an offensive lineman, knowing the snap count, not get enough movement that the QB could gain a half yard?

BSD

January 11th, 2012
2:28 pm

“The team wants to add some tough, mean and physical players”, sounds like Harvey Dahl to me. Without Dahl this season, the OL looked terrible.

maybe....

January 11th, 2012
2:28 pm

Hope we can find a gem assistant that can bring a high octane offense like N.O. or GB here.
Maybe there is someone on their staff we could hire.

Tombo

January 11th, 2012
2:29 pm

Falcons needs:

1. DBs who a) can cover longer than 2 seconds; and b) are taller than a hobbit;
2. Cement blocks for Ryan’s happy feet so he’ll stop changing from Matty Ice to Patty Melt every time a DL gets in the same zip code.
3. DEs who a) aren’t so old they wear a life alert necklace; b) can play a whole season; c) can produce a consistent pass rush
4. a starting HB who a) might be able to catch a pass on occasion; b) doesn’t require a downhill ski slope sized hole in order to get up enough steam to break a tackle; c) who can outrun my grandma to the corner
5. a left tackle who a) can stay on the field; b) doesn’t get schooled by speed rushers, power rushers, lazy rushers and waterboys on every pass play
6. a starting WR who doesn’t get the dropsies every other year.
7. an OC with substantially more creativity than Mike Bobo…uh I mean Malarkey (honest mistake…their offensive schemes are eerily similar and boring)
8. a DC who recognizes the DBs can’t cover longer than 2 seconds so dials up pressure on a regular basis

Looks like we have an opportunity to fix 7 and 8…if the Falcons don’t something else stupid.

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

January 11th, 2012
2:29 pm

Big decisions for Mr. Blank. I don’t see how he could make it any worse. Atlanta was at the level it would be for years if no changes were made. A QB is a must but then again at least 25 teams need a real QB.

Email Profiling Is Wrong

January 11th, 2012
2:29 pm

Didn’t hear the press conference. Sounds like the typical Braves post mortems to me. Always give lip service to winning it all, while not recognizing the elephant in the room. With the Braves it was Bobby Cox. With the Falcons, the limitations of Matty Nice are being ignored.

To paraphrase Jerry Sienfield when presented with the sight of a supine George Costanza (with his pants around his ankles) on his apartment floor: “So you want us to finance your new stadium for this bunch? I don’t think so.”

Gregory Moundine

January 11th, 2012
2:29 pm

People have to understand. Our running game is not broken. We have to remember, we lost a Pro Bowl Fullback in Mughelli. He was a beast and cleared the holes for Turner. Also, just a little note, if Turner does not have a blocker, he must not be close to Ryan on handoff. This is why he tip-toe. Moving him farther back allows him to hit the hole harder. Also, someone needs to work with Turner on holding the ball with one hand. His first concern is the ball, then the hole. It should all come together as one. Go Falcons!

Derek

January 11th, 2012
2:30 pm

@Queensbridge Anybody who criticizes Matt Ryan’s abilities at the QB position need to learn how to properly evaluate a QB. The OL was ranked 6th in the league, anybody that watched a game knows that they are AWFUL. Matt saved to OL’s ass every game by throwing the ball out of bounds before getting an 8 yard loss. He had 0 pass protection and was constantly feeling pressure in the worst spot, right up the middle. A QB can not be effective when he as D linemen coming straight up the middle. They need to be pushed to either side so that Matty can step in to the pocket where he is comfortable and make a throw. He has the skills, he just needs a line.

Falcon Friend

January 11th, 2012
2:30 pm

The Falcons will take of business as they see fit. No help needed from the bloggers who know nothing about coaching or building a team. You people would be considered smart if you said nothing and just be fans.