Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Peter King on Blank: ‘He’s had two bad years in a row with his team and he’s angry’

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FLOWERY BRANCH – Like most of the sports folks in town, the good guys on The Rude Awakening show on 680 The Fan went searching for answers on the Falcons new restructured front office.

The team dropped the bomb in the form of a press release and has not made any of its executives available to explain the puzzling set up.

So Christopher Rude, Chris Dimino and my man “Hometeam” Brandon Leak had Peter King of Sports Illustrated and on Friday to help provide some perspective.

King noted that Blank and other owners around the league are getting more involved in the running of their teams. In the new arrangement, the new head coach will report directly to Blank and not the general manager.

Here’s what King had to say on a variety of topics:

ON THE FALCONS PSLs: “In the days of building stadiums a generation ago, public (money) in the form of local government, state government would subsidize the stadium hugely. Now, a lot of that has gone away. When the New York Giants and New York Jets built MetLife Stadium, I would say that about a third of the people who formerly owned Jets and Giants season tickets were absolutely out-raged that for so long they had supported the team and now they were being asked to spend $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000 dollars just for the right to buy the seats in perpetuity. I haven’t seen the numbers, what they are in Atlanta, but (with) a

new stadium and I’m sure that if you have great seats that they will be (charge) $30,000 or $40,000. I think it’s a terrible way to do business personally, but you are just not going to get local government to spend the same amount of money that they did to build stadiums. Unfortunately, it’s the way of the world in the stadium building (business). It’s not just Atlanta. It’s everywhere.”

ON THE REVAMPED FRONT OFFICE: “In my mind, I think that both (Scott) Pioli and (Thomas) Dimitroff are both really good at their jobs. If this can work anywhere, it’s going to work in Atlanta. I had the same reaction that everybody else did. I don’t really understand on a day-to-day basis, I don’t understand the way that this going to work other than to

say a long time ago when they worked together in New England, this was one of the best combinations that I’ve ever seen worked together in the league because they got along so well. They are different people, but they have the same sort of core values about what really makes a good football player. So, I think that chemistry-wise, it is going to work fine. … I read in the (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) that they are pushing this as …the Baltimore model. If it’s the Baltimore model and it works that way, then it will be great. But again, there is one thing to realize when you’re talking about these two guys together is that they’ve done this before and they know how each other works. . . . knowing these two guys and seeing how they’ve worked together before . . . as long as they both have it very well spelled out before hand, what the job is going to be, I think it will work.”

ON THE HEAD COACH REPORTING TO OWNER AND NOT THE GM: “One of the things that’s happening today in the NFL is that, especially in places where you haven’t won, I think the owner, and you see it in a lot of places, you are seeing it in Chicago now, you’re seeing it with the Jets certainly, you see it in a lot of places where the owner is getting more and more involved. The owner is sitting in on the interviews for the coaches. . . .owners very often do that. The owners just want to know more about what’s going on. Look, in the long run, in my opinion, I think the best model is for the head coach, if we’re talking about the Baltimore model, I want the head coach and Ozzie Newsome to be meeting. . . this past year they had meetings on Thursday to discuss personnel. It was (coach John) Harbaugh, (general manager) Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta, the assistant (general manager). That’s what I want my triumvirate to be. I don’t think (Baltimore owner) Steve Bisciotti is in on those meetings on Thursdays. So, look, this is one of those things that happen when you don’t win for a couple of years and the owner gets very impatient. But to me, at the end of the day … I doubt sincerely that Arthur Blank is going to be going over the short-list of who are the best available cornerbacks on the street in free agency every week. That’s not going to be his job nor should it be.”

WHAT’S THE PERCEPTION OF ARTHUR BLANK: “I think the perception is that he’s had two bad years in a row with

his team and he’s angry. My perception is that he’s standing up and saying ‘I’m taking a more active role.’ If we don’t get it done with the people we have here, we’re going to change the people we have here. That’s what he did with Mike Smith. He shuffled the deck chairs in what the personnel department does. …I don’t think it’s really that much of a surprise in the era when the owners are so involved in so many places, with so many teams. Really, if you look at history, owners over time were very involved with what happened with the team. Go back to the Rooneys in Pittsburgh. For the Rooneys it (has) always been a part of their family business. Now, it does appear that Arthur is getting more involved on a day to day basis. But it doesn’t surprise me because of the results that we’ve seen on the field.

ON THE COACHING SEARCH: “If there is announcement next week, I would think that Rex Ryan would have a really good chance. Atlanta is like other places. Atlanta I think really liked Dan Quinn, the Seattle defensive coordinator. There is concern with at least one other team (presumably the New York Jets) that is interested in Dan Quinn now, who has interviewed him. They don’t really want to wait, potentially wait until February 2nd. I think this weekend and really next weekend are going to be important weekends because then you’d have to wait two (more) weeks if Quinn is in the Super Bowl, you’d have to wait for him. That means you’d have to wait like three-and-half weeks.”

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.