As a lifelong Atlanta Falcons fan, we have never enjoyed back-to-back winning seasons before that feat was accomplished last year. Although it was an impressive accomplishment, for Thomas Dimitroff, the architect behind the new look Falcons, it was not enough because he strives for so much more. He is aggressively determined to get the Falcons to the next level and his inherent, tireless drive is one of the main reasons why the Falcons General Manager has been so successful throughout his 20-plus years in the NFL. A son of a former coach and a product of the championship producing ways in New England, Dimitroff is all about building a winner who is able to compete at the highest level each and every season. Every move he makes is calculated and forward-thinking with one goal in mind, assembling the best football team he can. In each of the past two seasons in Atlanta, Dimitroff has engineered key moves and has drafted impact players like Matt Ryan, William Moore, Thomas DeCoud, Curtis Lofton and Kroy Biermann, to augment the roster.
Looking back on it now, it is crazy to think that Dimitroff was Arthur Blank’s second choice behind Bill Parcells. But after losing out on the Parcells sweepstakes to Miami, he went with the right guy that has built the Falcons into a championship organization and would lead them to the brightest stage in their history. Thomas Dimitroff joined WQXI in Atlanta to talk about whether Michael Turner is one of the best free agent signings the NFL has seen in quite some time, what is a good free agent position in the NFL that after five years one could tell a player is worth the money, and whether there is something to say about how the Falcons facility functions.
Whether Michael Turner is one of the best free agent signings the NFL has seen in quite some time:
“We were fortunate as you know, there were a lot of people were concerned that he did not have the background, he was not the marquee player. How can we pay him this money and bring him in? Quite honestly, it was working for us the other way, well we have a guy that has some experience in the league and he is not beaten up, his legs are fresh. Michael is such an intricate part of this offense and I love the way I see him rocking the ball. He is knocking it up in there and he keeps grinding up the yards and it is impressive.”
What is a good free agent position in the NFL that after five years one could tell a player is worth the money:
“You know I often look at the defensive side of the ball. I look at corners no question about it that is an area that you can continue to get better and better with time, you see a lot of different routes, you are in some different situations. Receivers, corners, linebackers as well, maybe safeties, but interestingly enough when you look in the market to actually pick up an offensive lineman it is really expensive, it really is not the most proper use of your money, no question. That position you can continue to keep around and keep him in your waiting of the wings with your team and bring him up, hopefully like we are doing in time with some of our young guys, but free agency is very different. As I mentioned the other night I am actually opposed to trading during the year. I just think that we spend so much time on our players bringing them through OTA’s and training camp. The way the system is set to go out and get someone else’s player in there and bring him in mid-season that person, that player better be a marquee player that can turn things around right away and you are still going to have your growing pains.”
What Coach Mike Smith has started on Wednesdays to make sure the team sticks together:
“We have that family night on Wednesday and that is a testament to Smitty. He makes sure he keeps our families together, the coaches’ families mainly, to come back in and visit with their husbands with their children. It is maybe an hour at a time at the most but it is just enough to make sure that everyone gets a chance to be with their people.”
Whether there is something to say about how the Falcons facility functions:
“The great thing about Mike Smith and something that I feel and proud of is the fact that we have a relationship where we both see building the organization in the same way, we talked about that. Well, part of that is the culture, part of that is understanding how important family is and understanding and honestly I am not being flippant about this, that this journey needs to be enjoyable. We all know when you are fresh you are alive, you’re feeling good. Whether you are getting your fitness in or whether you are concentrating on a job that you want to be involved in, you’re going to do that much better of a job, you are going to be that much more focused.”