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 Post subject: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:22 am 
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Embracing Change: Why the Falcons Have Been So Consistent Under Dimitroff

By Andrew Hirsh on Jul 8 2013, 4:00p 4
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The Falcons have been one of the most consistent teams over the last five years. How, exactly, have they stayed so good under Thomas Dimitroff?

More so than other professional sports leagues in North America, the teams that remain competitive year-to-year in the NFL change drastically. It’s quite common for bottom-dwellers to rise to the top in a matter of months, and just about as common for the elite squads to free-fall into the basement in the same amount of time.

And yet, the Falcons -- an organization famous for its lack of consistency -- have made the postseason four of the last five seasons, posting records above .500 in each of those campaigns. Ask me back in the early 2000’s if I ever thought Atlanta would accomplish something like this, and I would have probably laughed. My Falcons? Those of record-setting futility? No way...

But here we are.

There are many reasons why Thomas Dimitroff’s team, one that had never experienced back-to-back winning seasons until 2008-2009, has been so successful of late. Today I’d like to focus on one very significant reason: their ability to quickly re-tool their roster.

We’ll use the defensive line as an example.

To say that the Falcons' D-line has been through its fair share of changes over the last few years would be a bit of an understatement. John Abraham, one of the best pass rushers in team history, is now gone -- cut this summer due to his age, proneness to injuries and expensive contract. Ray Edwards, who signed a $30 million deal in 2011, was released mid-season for his incredibly disappointing play. Jamaal Anderson, drafted 8th overall in 2007, never amounted to much -- playing four unproductive seasons in Atlanta and is now rotting away elsewhere.

So now, three guys who were expected to help lead the Falcons to the Super Bowl are no longer part of the organization -- gone for one reason or another, for better or for worse.

Plans fall apart often in the NFL. Those who can move on from failed plans and make quick, productive changes will rise above the rest.

The Falcons lost Abraham, so what did they do? They went out and got Osi Umenyiora, who will serve the team better than Abe would have in the long run. He’ll immediately give the Falcons a respectable pass rush, one that would be lost without him. Additionally, Dimitroff drafted two defensive ends this spring -- Malliciah Goodman in the fourth round and Stansly Maponga in the fifth.

"When we started out in 2008, we knew that we had a lot of moves to make and we had to be very creative in how we put the team together," Dimitroff said in February. "We had to acquire (some players) through free agency and we had to be very acute with our approach in the draft, which we did. We came out with some very adept football players."

***

This re-tooling, of course, extends far beyond the D-line...

Dunta Robinson didn’t work out as planned, and the coverage game needed some work, so the first two picks in this year’s draft were spent on CBs -- solidifying a position that has been a weakness for this team for ages.

The Falcons lost Alge Crumpler back in 2008, so what did they do? They went out and got the best tight end of all time.

The Falcons’ famous running game of the mid-00’s, led by Michael Vick and Warrick Dunn, deteriorated. So what did they do? They brought in Michael Turner, who is now the franchise all-time leader in rushing yards and touchdowns.

Turner eventually deteriorated himself, so they brought in Steven Jackson, one of the best power runners of our generation, perhaps of all time.

Truth is, no weakness on this team has gone unaddressed under the current regime, and no hole has been left vacant for an extended period of time.

It can be hard, amidst all the success we've been enjoying, to step back and truly appreciate how rare it is to have a GM operating on this level. There are maybe a handful of guys out there capable of re-tooling a team the way our GM has -- and that's a generous estimate.

Fact is, no team in this league can regularly win over the course of 3-plus seasons without significant roster turnover. Change happens in the NFL, and those who embrace it are those who will ultimately be the ones at the top of the standings.

Thomas Dimitroff understands this, and the results speak for themselves.

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 Post subject: Re: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:42 am 
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What a homer.

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 Post subject: Re: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:56 am 
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Me or Thomas D?

I'm a homer through and through; but 5 years ago I wouldn't have thought the last 5 years possible as the writer suggests.

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 Post subject: Re: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:29 am 
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the writer/maple tree is pouring on a bit thick.


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 Post subject: Re: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:31 am 
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Andrew Hirsch wrote:
Truth is, no weakness on this team has gone unaddressed under the current regime, and no hole has been left vacant for an extended period of time.

Uh, what about the three years of futile nickel cornerback play? Or the fact that in five years the Falcons have yet to field a good left defensive end opposite Abraham? Or the fact that the Falcons have had a major weakness at right guard the past two seasons (and that may continue for a third)?

Look, TD does more good than bad. I give him a hard time, and certainly don't back down from the idea that I "nitpick." But it's all to open the eyes of the sycophants and homers who believe TD does no wrong. Dunta Robinson, Ray Edwards, Michael Turner (keeping him in 2012), the regression of the OL, etc. all are mistakes made by him, and contributing factors why this team hasn't progressed into a consistent winner in January.

I don't think TD is bad at his job, or should be on the hot seat by any means. But I think people need to be a little bit more critical when it comes to looking at his decisions, too many of which have been poor in recent years.

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 Post subject: Re: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:48 am 
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You're the ultimate homer, Cyril, with 38 years of season ticket stubs to prove it. Word is the new stadium is going to be named the Cyril Fox--Say It Ain't So stadium. But you are typically sober in your assessments. I was talking about the writer. As to TD, Jeez, no GM is perfect. He's clearly made mistakes with R. Edwards being the crowning jewel. It's always simple to sit in the audience and say, "Oops, drummer missed that change!" However, go 5000 feet higher and you simply have to marvel at what TD, Blank, Smith or whoever you care to choose have done with an epically sorry franchise. I'm sorry, but it is remarkable. The Saints are the only thing that comes to mind as being comparable.

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 Post subject: Re: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:40 pm 
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backnblack wrote:
you simply have to marvel at what TD, Blank, Smith or whoever you care to choose have done with an epically sorry franchise.


No doubt. The thing I keep seeing in Dimitroff is the willingness to bring in that one extra talent almost every year, on top of a decent drafting record.

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 Post subject: Re: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:20 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
Look, TD does more good than bad. I give him a hard time, and certainly don't back down from the idea that I "nitpick." But it's all to open the eyes of the sycophants and homers who believe TD does no wrong. Dunta Robinson, Ray Edwards, Michael Turner (keeping him in 2012), the regression of the OL, etc. all are mistakes made by him, and contributing factors why this team hasn't progressed into a consistent winner in January.


Looking at Turner's 2011 stats, what reason do you have for dumping him at the beginning of 2012? A hunch that he might not be a fit to Dirk Koetter's offense?

If you were a GM in 2012, would you have traded for Michael Turner?

And for what it's worth, your absolute dedication to detailed analysis is a major reason I keep coming back. There are plenty of NFL team forums. There are few good NFL team forums. This is one of them.

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 Post subject: Re: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:43 pm 
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dwmyers wrote:
Pudge wrote:
Look, TD does more good than bad. I give him a hard time, and certainly don't back down from the idea that I "nitpick." But it's all to open the eyes of the sycophants and homers who believe TD does no wrong. Dunta Robinson, Ray Edwards, Michael Turner (keeping him in 2012), the regression of the OL, etc. all are mistakes made by him, and contributing factors why this team hasn't progressed into a consistent winner in January.


Looking at Turner's 2011 stats, what reason do you have for dumping him at the beginning of 2012? A hunch that he might not be a fit to Dirk Koetter's offense?

If you were a GM in 2012, would you have traded for Michael Turner?

And for what it's worth, your absolute dedication to detailed analysis is a major reason I keep coming back. There are plenty of NFL team forums. There are few good NFL team forums. This is one of them.
:clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:51 pm 
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Pudge,
I don't think anyone thinks Thomas D. Can do no wrong. I sometimes think the opposite of you that he is
criticized; but people read past it, because the final product has been consistently getting better.

Quote:

There are many reasons why Thomas Dimitroff’s team, one that had never experienced back-to-back winning seasons until 2008-2009, has been so successful of late. Today I’d like to focus on one very significant reason: their ability to quickly re-tool their roster.

We’ll use the defensive line as an example.

To say that the Falcons' D-line has been through its fair share of changes over the last few years would be a bit of an understatement. John Abraham, one of the best pass rushers in team history, is now gone -- cut this summer due to his age, proneness to injuries and expensive contract. Ray Edwards, who signed a $30 million deal in 2011, was released mid-season for his incredibly disappointing play. Jamaal Anderson, drafted 8th overall in 2007, never amounted to much -- playing four unproductive seasons in Atlanta and is now rotting away elsewhere.

So now, three guys who were expected to help lead the Falcons to the Super Bowl are no longer part of the organization -- gone for one reason or another, for better or for worse.

Plans fall apart often in the NFL. Those who can move on from failed plans and make quick, productive changes will rise above the rest.


I believe they're saying he makes mistakes, but makes quick productive changes to offset them. At least he usually does!!

Quote:

And for what it's worth, your absolute dedication to detailed analysis is a major reason I keep coming back. There are plenty of NFL team forums. There are few good NFL team forums. This is one of them.


He's an English major for gosh sakes details, details; details; (:

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 Post subject: Re: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:02 am 
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dwmyers wrote:
Looking at Turner's 2011 stats, what reason do you have for dumping him at the beginning of 2012? A hunch that he might not be a fit to Dirk Koetter's offense?

If you were a GM in 2012, would you have traded for Michael Turner?

The reason I had is that despite improvement in terms of his production, the eye in the sky doesn't lie. So IMO, the only reason to reasonably expect him to bounce back in 2012 was if the OL was significantly better. Had the Falcons picked up Carl Nicks that off-season, that may have given them a shot.

I think the Falcons would have been better suited cutting bait, picking up a similar back like the Law Firm for cheaper $$$ and hoping that worked out for them if not draft a RB high. Had they stayed put in Round 3 and taken Bernard Pierce rather than trade out to get Lamar Holmes, that could've been a possibility. Or at least asked Turner to take a pay cut and be paid according to his ability. Hindsight is 20/20, and what they would have done after dumping Turner is hard to say. But in the case of seeing the walls fall off Turner, that wasn't hindsight that saw that coming if you were paying attention to my posts back in September 2011: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=16198&start=0

Pudge wrote:
I know if he continues to produce there is a fat chance in Hades that he'll be gone next year, but his play so far this year reminds me of the '07 Jamal Lewis year where Lewis had 1300 yards with his first year with the Browns and on the surface had a good year, but then Lewis was basically a no show the next two years.

Pudge wrote:
And as was the case with Dunn in '07, I think the wheels will completely fall off next year in 2012 for Turner, if they don't by the time this year finishes.

Pudge wrote:
He's a shell of his former self, and don't let his 34 fantasy points or 214 rushing yards or 6.9 YPC fool you into thinking he's anything more than a below average starting NFL running back.

Pudge wrote:
I think he has become purely an extension of the blocking he receives up front. IMO, that was not the case in previous years, and when a RB reaches that point where he's bringing very little "extra" to the table besides what the 5-6 guys in front of him are bringing, then he's reached the point where he should no longer be a starting RB.

Pudge wrote:
But given he's been on a steady decline the past 3 seasons, he's going to be below that benchmark next year, and by then it's only going to be too late. We're going to be an offense then that wants to run the ball, that can't run the ball.

Pudge wrote:
And if the Falcons go into 2012 thinking that Turner is going to produce at his current level or the previous one, then that will be a biggest mistake that Dimitroff has made to date.

Pudge wrote:
if the Falcons think that they can continue to use him as the No. 1 workhorse back beyond this year, they'll be making the exact same mistake that the Browns made in 2008 when they kept Jamal Lewis after a 1300-yard, 4.4 YPC season. The wheels always eventually fall off for all RBs sooner or later, and it seemingly comes out of nowhere because no one seems to read between the lines.

Look, you could take the stance that even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then when it comes to my devastatingly accurate assessment of Turner back then. :king:

But IMHO, you had to be blind to not see that one coming.

Look, the fact that TD missed on Robinson and Ray Edwards IMO are forgivable mistakes. Robinson was overpaid (that was pretty easy to see), but the fact that he was so ineffective for most of the 2011 and 2012 seasons caught everybody by surprise. It was no secret that Edwards was a role of the dice, but the Falcons didn't give him a huge contract like they did with Robinson and thus didn't have long-lasting ramifications (I've argued in the past and still maintain that Robinson's contract is the #1 reason why Grimes is no longer a Falcon). The reason why the Falcons had to make those moves, is largely due to the misses at the top of the 2007 draft: Jamaal Anderson and Chris Houston. Had those players worked out better, the Falcons hand would have never been forced to try and secure DE & CB in free agency. So I'm not that mad at TD for those moves not working.

But missing on Turner, that IMO is/was unforgivable. Their lack of movement at the RB position last off-season epitomized that complacent attitude that I kept repeating ad nauseum last spring/summer.

And that miss on Turner IMO is the #1 reason why both Abraham and Clabo are gone, because they don't want to make the same mistake of cutting bait a year too late.

Let's hope that doesn't come back to bite them in the ass.

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 Post subject: Re: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:10 am 
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Pudge Wrote:
Quote:
And that miss on Turner IMO is the #1 reason why both Abraham and Clabo are gone, because they don't want to make the same mistake of cutting bait a year too late.

Let's hope that doesn't come back to bite them in the ass.


If that's so then Thomas D. is learning from his mistakes; but their are no guarantees that it won't hurt them.

Even though this two positions are oceans away I'd like your thoughts that Ryan is a better Qb than Thomas D. is a Gm. Thomas picked Ryan which was not a league-wide easy choice; I think if you look at their season's they both won their first playoff game last year!! Ryan or any Qb can make stupid mistakes and so can General Managers.

I don't think you can say "well look what 2015 looks like" I think you have to look at what they've both accomplished!!

Its almost a comparison that shouldn't be made; but we do keep moving forward as does Ryan!!

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 Post subject: Re: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:50 am 
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That's fair Cyril that TD and Ryan are about on the same level. I just think that TD as a GM has the capacity to be so much better than where he is right now. Ryan IMO probably isn't going to get significantly better than he is now. Maybe shades better. But what areas is he going to make significant leaps forward in? Accuracy? Arm strength? Mobility? Decision Making? How much room for growth really is there for him in those areas? It really just comes down to making strides from a production standpoint. But again, he had 3 of the 10 best receviers in the league this past year. When is that going to ever happen again (it's only happened once in the past 5 years, '08 Cardinals with Warner, Fitz, Boldin & Breaston), especially since Tony is probably gone next year, and Roddy is probably gone by 2015.

That's why I think TD has to step up his game in the coming years, by finding more talent to replace the outgoing talent. Babs, Roddy, Osi, Steven Jackson, Asante, and TOny are probably all in their final or second to last seasons in Atlanta. And in terms of young talent TD has brought in, it's largely Ryan, Julio, Moore, and Spoon are the biggest success stories. And basically bring in 2 really good offensive and defensive players over the course of 5 years, just isn't going to cut it going forward.

That's what I mean by saying the status quo isn't good enough going forward. Players like Konz, Trufant can't afford to be just OK players in the same vein that players like Peters, DeCoud, and Baker have been.

Right now the Falcons are a team that is competing for a Super Bowl title, but the possibility that in a few years they are a team that can barely make the playoffs is not that far-fetched. And if that happens, most people's immediate reaction will be to blame the QB and/or coach, when IMO if such events unfold it's more than likely going to be the fault of the General Manager that most Falcon fans have been very reluctant to blame simply because the team is winning.

It's similar to what I was talking about with Andy Reid not that long ago. The Eagles success early in Reid's tenure (from '99 to '04) masked a lot of the personnel deficiencies that were made in those years, largely because of the personnel successes that were made early on (e.g. Donovan McNabb) and before Reid's arrival (e.g. Brian Dawkins). But those deficiencies and mistakes started to add up and the Eagles while competitive throughout the entirety of Reid's tenure, basically really only had 1 shot at the Super Bowl over the final 8 years he was there (2008) after 4 in the first 6.

I just think people need to be a little more critical and discerning when it comes to TD moving forward than they have been in the past.

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 Post subject: Re: Thomas D Must Be Good!!
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:02 am 
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Thanks for your thoughts there. Again I'm not so afraid of what's going to happen down the line, it may get to that some day but He's do so much right!!

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