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 Post subject: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:01 pm 
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By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com


A play from last season might serve as motivation as Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank strives to bring more toughness out of his team in 2014.

Speaking on 680 The Fan radio Tuesday morning, Blank reflected on the hit quarterback Matt Ryan took from New Orleans Saints rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro in last year's season opener.

Vaccaro, who hit a sliding Ryan late, picked up a personal foul penalty and was later fined $7,875. The hit didn't annoy Blank as much as the reaction of his players did.

"And that play really bothered me, sincerely," Blank said. "It bothered me that none of our players, they all complained, but none of them went to the safety on the Saints and did anything.

"Not that they would start a fight, but just kind of put their finger in his chest and saying, 'That's not acceptable.'"

Blank noted how new assistant general manager Scott Pioli was equally disturbed by the reaction after studying the film. Pioli relayed his thoughts to general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

"Scott said, when he was talking at dinner one night with Thomas, he said that really bothered him when he watched that game," Blank said. "That told him a lot about the mentality of a lot of our players. And I think with (offensive line coach) Mike Tice, and (defensive line coach) Bryan Cox and Smitty (head coach Mike Smith) supporting that, I think you'll see a different attitude this year."

Blank called out the team for a lack a toughness when he addressed the media during his season-ending news conference.

The Falcons added some "tougher" players during free agency with the signing of nose tackle Paul Soliai, defensive end Tyson Jackson and offensive guard Jon Asamoah.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:50 pm 
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Although not as blatant as the Clay Matthews, Kaepernick incident it was just crazy to me to see how after Matthews hit Kaep with the clothesline how his teammates rallied to his defense. I could see if it was some revered defender, but a rookie? That pretty much set the tone for the marshmallow play in the trenches that we saw all year.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:13 pm 
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I hope that it occurs to you guys that the lines are a reflection of the coaching staff. This team has gotten rid of the players who are considered, "tough." We let Dahl, Clabo, and Lofton walk. These guys were, "tough." This team has something against hard-nosed football, yet they want to be the kind of team that marches the ball down the field on 16 play drives. There's a real mental disconnect somewhere. Not having direct contact with these guys, it's hard for me to say whether it's the front office, or the coaching staff, but it's quite obvious that it's there.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:21 pm 
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That hit stuck with me the entire season, and when I saw this article on ESPN today I thought 'he can't be thinking about the same hit can he?' In my mind, aside from no one helping Ryan, I thought that hit not only hurt Ryan and took him out of that game as an 'elite' QB, but it tanked the season. Only now do I see Blanks POV on it as something that speaks for us taking hits and just being fine with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:25 pm 
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I think this may be a bit of the other side of the least penalized team in league history coin. Roddy called them out in the press after the game if memory serves. I kinda thought, "Well, Roddy, you were out there too, right?"

This is all well and good but it seems like another example of a meld of marketing and thinking out loud. This year's mantra is toughness, last year battling souls, year before urgency, etc. Whatever. The tape don't lie. Easy to recognize and hard to rectify.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:17 am 
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backnblack wrote:
I think this may be a bit of the other side of the least penalized team in league history coin. Roddy called them out in the press after the game if memory serves. I kinda thought, "Well, Roddy, you were out there too, right?"

This is all well and good but it seems like another example of a meld of marketing and thinking out loud. This year's mantra is toughness, last year battling souls, year before urgency, etc. Whatever. The tape don't lie. Easy to recognize and hard to rectify.

Boom goes the dynamite!

This is really one of my issues with the Falcons offseason. They want to get tough. And they got more tough-minded guys. But at the end of the day, football is about winning on the field. Not to say the mental stuff isn't a factor. It is, but it's intangible, and you can't really control intangibles, that's why they are intangible!

Look, maybe letting Tony skip training camp created problems in the locker room. But you know what created problems on the field? Dirk Koetter's inability to adjust to the vice coverage that Tony saw vs. NE, and the Jets coming back the following week with the same thing. Did the Falcons adjust? No. While teams stopped mugging Tony at the line of scrimmage, he saw double teams pretty much every game for the rest of the season until the final month when Roddy was healthy. Did the Falcons make any adjustments to try and split Tony out wide to try to avoid double teams? Nope. Still played every snap at the Y.

Falcons struggle in the red zone? Their solution, let's keep throwing the ball to shrimp Harry Douglas when you have a 6-8 TE on your roster. They weren't even playing Toilolo in red zone situations for most of the season. And then when he is on the field, and Ryan does actually throw a pass to him, it's at his numbers. The dude is 6-8 with a 33-inch vertical.

Greg Hardy hasn't been kicking our OTs asses for the past 2 years because he's tough-minded. It's because he's just physically better than our guys.

Adding tough-minded players is all well and good, but if you can't get the job done on the field, then what's the point? Asamoah is not a power blocker, but our blocking scheme requires him to be. How will he fare? Probably not as well as we are hoping.

Soliai is now our most expensive defensive linemen, but he's not going to be playing on passing downs. They can say all they want that he was underutilized by the Dolphins there. But I watched the games, the dude ran out of gas in the 3rd and 4th quarters even when only playing 45% of the snaps. And Tyson Jackson helps our toughness about as much as Jamaal Anderson.

This team has become exceedingly good at winning the PR battle every offseason. But when it actually comes to winning when it matters, they fail more often than not.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:17 am 
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Pudge wrote:
This team has become exceedingly good at winning the PR battle every offseason. But when it actually comes to winning when it matters, they fail more often than not.


Eventually the losing will topple the current regime if they can't figure it out. In fact, another sub-.500 season should pretty much end at least Dimitroff's tenure if not Smith's as well. Blank has a new very expensive stadium coming online soon and if the Falcons don't start racking up wins again the constituency is going to get pissed and those PSL's are going to be a bitter pill that many won't swallow.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:26 pm 
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If you can't beat 'em, beat 'em up.

I hope the Falcons do play tougher. Damn soft dome teams.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:12 pm 
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Quote:
But at the end of the day, football is about winning on the field. Not to say the mental stuff isn't a factor. It is, but it's intangible, and you can't really control intangibles, that's why they are intangible!


That's why they let Dahl, Lofton and Claybo go. Everyone here was complaining of their play....
This is how you get a terrible team is when you let starters go, and don't replace them with better players. The Falcons have lost it the last three season with what seemed of small moves with starters who were barely starters but were not replaced with real players.

I think what Pudge was saying and I am saying is you got to have players to win. Sure hitting someone after Ryan gets hits cheaply is appropriate, Its hard to stay happy with the GM when
you lose as much as we did last year, but seem to have a hard time making improvements.

Thomas D. hasn't shown me he can do squat about offensive or a defensive line; you know what should be the "core" of the team..... I don't blame the coaches as much because Dahl , Lofton,and Claybo were not playing winning football. You can't lets guys like this go and get worse personnel. Our Lines are in shambles!!

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:27 pm 
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Once again it comes back to talent evaluation. TD has failed on finding quality replacements thus why the Falcs have so many holes.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:05 am 
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Lofton stunk. Losing him was one of the few positive things that happened to this team in the past 3 years.

The sad thing is the main reason why you would justify losing him is because he was a 2-down player masquerading as a 3-down defender. But then you go right back and pay a pair of 2-down defenders in Soliai and Jackson, not learning your lesson. But obviously the mistake was thinking that Akeem Dent was an upgrade/viable replacement. I know some people had a 3rd/4th round grade on Dent, but I saw a 6th/7th round pick at best.

This team is soooooooooooo reactive with their personnel moves. And it's clearly one thing that didn't rub off on Dimitroff while he was in New England which is being proactive with roster decisions. And the problem is that when they try to get proactive by dumping CLabo and Abe a year too early, it bites them in the ass.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:17 am 
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As others have said, they dump these guys without getting suitable replacements. Meanwhile, we're always trading up, giving away picks, and we're signing the most useless, "big name," free agents to stupid contracts.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:06 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
As others have said, they dump these guys without getting suitable replacements. Meanwhile, we're always trading up, giving away picks, and we're signing the most useless, "big name," free agents to stupid contracts.


I would at least note that this off season Atlanta hasn't really signed anyone "big name" thus far. We've just overpaid for lunch pale guys.

Good, bad, eh? Probably eh.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:15 pm 
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You almost always overpay in free agency. The problem has been that we go out and pay big money for guys like Ray Edwards, Dunta Robinson, and Osi Umenyiora, and none of them have delivered. (at least, not up to their pay)

I have always viewed free agency as a means of filling holes and building depth. The draft is where you get your, "main guys." Of course, with the exception of Matt Ryan, our drafting has been pretty poor.


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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:21 pm 
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It rest squarely on the shoulders of TD getting the right players. Also the fact that Smith doesn't seem to play many young players to develop them should be considered.

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 Post subject: Re: Matt Ryan hit 'bothered' Arthur Blank
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:28 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
You almost always overpay in free agency.

First off, you don't have to overpay in free agency. That is a choice. You can actually choose to underpay, by targeting 3rd and 4th tier free agents specifically because you know you can get them at bargain prices.

Now if you want to make a splash early, the circumstances compel you to overpay. So if you want to get one of the top free agents, which typically requires you to make a move in the first 48 hours of free agency, then you are likely going to have to overpay. But obviously, the need/desire to do that is largely dependent on your draft success. The more successful you are drafting, the less necessary it is to try and fill glaring holes in free agency.

RobertAP wrote:
The problem has been that we go out and pay big money for guys like Ray Edwards, Dunta Robinson, and Osi Umenyiora, and none of them have delivered. (at least, not up to their pay)

Secondly, Osi did not get "big money." He signed a 2-yr. $8.5M contract.

And Ray Edwards relatively speaking wasn't a big money deal. His contract was nearly identical to the one we gave Tyson Jackson. And unlike Jackson, Edwards was actually worth that price tag because he was an every down player that was actually a pretty good starter in Minnesota. Unlike Jackson who was a role player with the Chiefs. The only major difference in the deals is that Edwards' Year 2 cap hit was high, while Jackson's doesn't really kick in until Year 3.

But I agree those moves have not worked out because the Falcons make the mistake that most NFL teams make which is targeting players that do A, B and C well, and then asking them to do X, Y, and Z. Square/oval pegs in round holes… It's systemic problem in the NFL when it comes to free agency, and I think it has mostly to do with poor self evaluation and teams not investing enough in their pro personnel departments.

thescout wrote:
Also the fact that Smith doesn't seem to play many young players to develop them should be considered.

I'm not sure I agree with this. I think the Falcons overly rely on young players which is a major reason why on paper, their drafting looks better than it actually is.

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