A league source told Scout.com's Adam Caplan that Atlanta Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking has…
Now, It's Time For Defense
Blank called Bill Parcells and got left at the altar.
Blank called Pete Carroll and got a polite, "thanks, but no thanks."
Blank checked in with Bill Cowher and got a respectful stiff-arm.
In the end, it wasn't the big splash hire that Blank tried to make that worked out.
Blank ended up hiring Thomas Dimitroff as general manager and then Mike Smith, a little known assistant coach who'd never been a head coach at any level. Dimitroff, the son of a former NFL scout and the former college scouting director at New England, worked the draft and Smith hired a veteran coach staff.
The two blended together well and the result was a litany of calculated moves that helped the Falcons reach an 11-5 mark and make the playoffs.
"Smith did an amazing job, not only him, but the coaching staff as well," Dimitroff said. "I laud that whole staff. They've done a fantastic job." The Falcons have their quarterback now in Matt Ryan, who started all 17 games and was named the Associated Press' Rookie of the Year. They made tremendous strides offensively.
This offseason will be almost exclusively spent in revamping an aging and leaky defensive unit that played with a lot of savvy.
"This is when we switch gears on the personnel side," Dimitroff said. "I know that Mike Smith will take his coaching hat off and jump right into personnel with me. Mike and I spend a lot of time together.
"Not only looking at our roster together, but looking at the upcoming people in free agency. We'll also look at the draft. There will be countless hours spent looking at the monitor."
The two key moves will center around what to do with safety Lawyer Milloy and linebacker Keith Brooking, two aging veterans who may have seen better days.
"We made some tough decisions last year with (Alge) Crumpler and Warrick Dunn," Dimitroff said. "Those were some tough decisions."
Smith had attacking defenses at Baltimore and at Jacksonville as a coordinator. The Falcons, because of their lack of power at linebacker and few man-to-man cover defensive backs, had to sit in zones most of the season.
"Looking forward with what we've accomplished, we've got a lot of things that we can get better at," Smith said. "It starts with players. It started last year with players. That was adding free agents, a draft class. I think Thomas Dimitroff and his staff did a great job in providing players.
"Coaching starts with players. You've got to have players to be successful in the National Football League."
FalconInsider.com Recommended Stories
Michigan: Brandon Resigns, Hackett Interim AD
Michigan President Mark Schlissel officially announced the resignation of athletic director Dave Brandon Friday. Schlissel appointed Jim Hackett as the interim AD with the plan moving forward to hire…Read More
Hoops: Where are the Top Recruits Going?
The initial basketball signing period begins in less than two weeks and there are currently 22 players in Scout.com's 2015 top 100 still uncommitted. Who are those 22 players considering and who will…Read More
Catch Big Fall Bass on Natural Lakes and Rivers
Check out some great tips for bass fishing up north as the water cools on its way into winter. There is some great fishing to be had right now before it gets too cold.Read More
10 Creepy Trail Cam Pics For Halloween
Most of us would prefer to be sitting in our treestand on Halloween, waiting for a rutting buck to wonder past, than following our kids from house to house scrambling for treats. Here are a 10 spooky…Read More
2015 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
We're at the halfway mark of the NFL season, so here's our first crack at a mock draft. Hey, Oakland Raiders, you're on the clock!Read More