Zaslal: st 19. září, 2018 5:40 Předmět: Falcons built for sustained success than
Ive always said life in the NFL is a roller coaster, and it's a short distance from the penthouse to the outhouse (and back again).Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff knows this all too well.After posting winning seasons his first five years in Atlanta, including four playoff appearances and two NFL executive of the year awards, Dimitroff saw his Falcons hit the skids in 2013 and 14 with 4-12 and 6-10 records. Mike Smith was fired ascoach, and the rumblings were that Dimitroff was on his way out, too.But Dimitroff was given a reprieve by team owner Arthur Blank. Now, aided immensely by a great rapport with coach Dan Quinn and a career season from quarterback Matt Ryan, Dimitroff is headed to Super Bowl LI with his NFC champion Falcons just two years after he was clinging to his GM life.MORE: Super Bowl 51 spread, oddsIt's not the biggest story of theSuper Bowl, headlined by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick of the Patriots and Ryan, Julio Jones and Quinn of the Falcons. But Dimitroff's revitalizationis a fascinating subplot for the next two weeks. The twist: He hopes his Falcons can defeat one of his mentors in Belichick and his former team in New England.It was the Patriots coach who gave Dimitroff his first major NFL job after several years Emmitt Smith Jersey as a scout when he became Patriots director of college scouting in 2003.Back in January of 2015, the Super Bowl was not on Dimitroff's radar. He was coming to grips with a restructuring ofAtlanta's front office, which had givena sistant GM Scott Pioli more authority in the pro and college scouting departments. It was an interesting situation considering Dimitroff had worked under Pioli during their time together with the Patriots, while Pioli was vice president of player personnel and Belichick was the overall leader of the team's football operations.Add a new head coach to the mix in Quinn, and it had to be a period of uncertainty for the Atlanta GM. But to his credit, Dimitroff followed the principal adage of Belichick, who tells everyone to work hard and "do your job."Dimitroff stayed the course and established an excellent working relationship with Quinn, who said recently, "We have a common vision when it comes to constructing the roster and we have built a solid foundation over the last two years. He is one of the best talent evaluators I have ever been around and I'm fired up for us to continue this proce s together."During his years as Seattles defensive coordinator before he took the head coaching jobAtlanta, Quinn saw the importance of a coach and GM working well together, as was clearly the case with Seahawks Dak Prescott Navy Limited Jersey coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider. They built a team that went to back-to-back Super Bowls and won the big game after the 2013 season.Teams sometimes can be succe sful without that GM-coach rapport as evidenced by Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh's succe s in San Francisco despite their constant butting of heads but things are bound to unravel eventually. It did for the 49ers duo, and it occurred over the past few years for Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis.MORE: Pointing out Atlanta's (few) weakne sesI know from personal experience how much more enjoyable and productive it is to work in an environment where the GM andcoach like, respect and trust each other.I had that kind of relationship with coach Dennis Green in Minnesota for our first seven years together (six of them playoff seasons), but it ended when Green decided he wanted to be the head coach and GM after our 15-1 season in 1998. I knew things were going to head downhill from that point, so I left the Vikings and headed to Nashville as Titans president.Quinn was able to communicate to Dimitroff the type of tough, fast and athletic players he wanted for his defense, and their collaboration has resulted in the drafting of players such as this year's NFL sack leader (15.5) in Vic Beasley, Atlanta's top pick in 2015, along with their top two tacklers this season in rookies Deion Jones Dez Bryant White Jersey Women (second round) and Keanu Neal (first round). They also used free agency to pad their defense withpa s rushers Dwight Freeney and Adrian Clayborn.On offense, Dimitroff and Pioli worked free agency to acquire a Leighton Vander Esch Jersey Pro Bowl center in Alex Mack and solidify the offensive line. They also found a good receiver to complement Jones in Mohamed Sanu (59 catches this season). The drafts of 2014 and 15 produced the running back duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, who combined for 2,472 yards and 24 touchdowns rushing and receiving during the 2016 regular season.The offensive additions have added support for the dynamic duo of Ryan and Jones, who still represent the best personnel work of Dimitroff over his nine years as Atlantas GM.In his first Falcons draft in 2008, Dimitroff selected Ryan with the third overall pick, and after the early succe s, he stayed with thequarterback through thosetwo losing seasons. It has paid off big-time this year, as Ryan has followed up his outstanding regular season (4,944 pa sing yards, 38 TDs, 7 interceptions, top rated pa ser in the league) by throwing for seven TDs with no interceptions in the playoff wins over Seattle and Green Bay. At age 31 and already a four-time Pro Bowler, Ryan should have plenty of elite years ahead.IYER:Why Ryan is indeed "elite"Then, in 2011, Dimitroff traded five picks to Cleveland in order to move up from 27th to the sixth overall and select Jones, who also is a four-time Pro Bowler. Dimitroff reportedly went against the advice of Belichick to make that deal. Hefaced questions aboutthe price he paid pick-wise for a wide receiver, but the skeptics have disappeared now that Jones is among the NFL's top receivers and, quite po sibly, the very best.Also gone is the insecurity for Dimitroff in regard to his future with the Falcons. Blank and team president Rich McKay didn't need to wait for a Super Bowl run to be convinced Dimitroff was their long-term GM after they watched him oversee the talent upgrade over the past two years.They gave Dak Prescott Jersey him a three-year extension when the Falcons were leading the NFC South at midseason. So Dimitroff and Quinn are both under contract through 2019.Thatbodes well for the future of the Falcons as they come off a Super Bowl season with a young, talented roster and with their solid GM-coach combo in place.Jeff Diamond is the former president of the Titans and the former vice president/general manager of the Vikings. He was selected NFL Executive of the Year in 1998. Diamond is currently a busine s and sports consultant who also does broadcast and online media work. He is the former chairman and CEO of The Ingram Group. Follow Jeff on Twitter: @jeffdiamondNFL.
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