Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Falcons hire two former general managers -- and that makes five


If you're wondering where all of the former NFL general managers went, I think they now work for the Falcons.

With Tuesday's hiring of national scouts Phil Emery (former Chicago general manager) and Ruston Webster (recently fired from his position of Tennessee GM), the Falcons now employ five former general managers in their Flowery Branch headquarters. I'm not sure what all of this former executive power gets you, but it's an alumni club unlike any other.

Atlanta Falcons: Five ex-GMs. But not nearly that many edge rushers.

The Falcons made some changes in their coaching and personnel staff after coach Dan Quinn's first season. Owner Arthur Blank chose to retain general manager Thomas Dimitroff but mandated other moves.

Emery and Webster aren't necessarily bad hirings. They were better scouts than they were GMs. But consider this collection of former decision makers:

• Rich McKay: The former Falcons' and Tampa Bay general manager is now the team president and CEO. Since Dimitroff's hiring in 2008, McKay has mostly been out of the day-to-day football operation and was kept by Blank to help land a stadium deal. McKay also maintains strong ties to the league office.

• Scott Pioli: He was a long-time personnel man under Bill Belichick in New England, which he parlayed into the GM job in Kansas City. That didn't go well. (Records: 4-12, 10-6, 7-9, 2-14. His head coaches: Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel.) After a year out of football, Dimitroff hired his friend and former New England boss in Atlanta. Pioli, the assistant GM, now oversees the personnel department but answers to Dimitroff.

• Billy Devaney: He was a Falcons' assistant general manager who went to St. Louis and became general manager in 2008, only to be fired after four seasons (10-38). The Falcons rehired him in their personnel department last year.

• Emery: He was the Falcons' director of scouting from 2004 to 2008 and went on to become the Chicago Bears' general manager for three seasons (2012-14), during which the Bears went 23-25 and failed to make the playoffs. He has been re-hired as a national scout, his area strength.

• Webster: He was just fired as Tennessee's general manager after four seasons and previously spent 22 years with Seattle and Tampa Bay. He also will be a national scout.

EARLIER: Braves' starting rotation ranked 30th (and it's hard to dispute)

EARLIER:  Four-point analysis: Falcons are a ways behind Carolina

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.