On Monday, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank addressed the media at a press conference to discuss the future of his team. Blank not only spoke of the concerns, but also voiced his confidence in the Falcons’ ability to go from worst to first in the NFC South in 2014.
“I think our Atlanta fans, given the prior five years, and our expectations, our commitment to excellence, our standards, our zeal, our passion, energy, every word you can think of in that regard; I have every reason to believe that we will go from last to first in 2014,” Blank said.
One of the key areas Blank addressed during questioning related to his definition of toughness: “controlling the line of scrimmage.” Blank also mentioned that as far as toughness goes, he thinks they were not as tough as they needed to be this season.
Given the fact that Atlanta has gone through three offensive line coaches in four seasons, now is the time to “go big or go home.” Yes, the Falcons have the offensive talent to re-capture the NFC South in 2014, but all of that will rely heavily on the decisions being made this offseason. Even though they have all the support from Blank, head coach Mike Smith and GM Thomas Dimitroff will be on the hot seat. Dimitroff especially needs to redeem himself after drafting complete busts on the offensive line and not addressing this problem sooner, which is part of the reason behind this forgetful season.
Luckily, Blank noted that there are already some good candidates lined up to interview for both the offensive and defensive line coaching positions. One prospect in particular could be former Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice, who voiced his desire to join the Falcons just days ago. Tice also previously worked with coach smith and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter in Jacksonville, so luckily there is already some chemistry there.
The two parts of Blank’s definition of toughness were, “Can you run the football, and can you stop the run?” If Atlanta can find a way to address those two parts by hiring the right personnel and bringing in the right players this offseason, it will very well find its way back to the top.