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