Sunday, January 13, 2008

We have a GM!

Meet Tom Dimitroff. If nothing else, the guy making decisions at Flowery Branch has the name of a Bond villain.

I'm generally not a big fan of hiring coaches and general managers just because they come from successful organizations. If the Patriots are successful because of decisions made by Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick or because they lucked into drafting an all-time great quarterback in the sixth round, then it doesn't make sense to hire one of Pioli's underlings. The variable to this hire is what sort of role Dimitroff played in the Patriots organization. The various articles about him describe him as being in charge of the Pats' college scouting. If that is indeed the case and he was making college player evaluations, then this is a great hire.

The Patriots, like the Colts, have been consistently successful because they have great quarterbacks and they surround those quality players with talent through the Draft. The free agent market in the NFL is simply too expensive to be used heavily in team-building. Compare the way the Falcons have drafted in recent years to the Colts or Patriots. It's not close. The Patriots came off of a Super Bowl championship in 2004 and found quality starters with their first three picks in the 2005 Draft. The Colts came off of a Super Bowl championship in 2006 and found quality starters with their first two picks. The Falcons had three picks in the top 50 this April and got precious little collectively out of Jammal Anderson, Chris Houston, and Justin Blalock. (In the interest of full disclosure, I thought these were good picks. It's probably unfair to write the picks off after a year in which the Falcons were a complete train wreck and were on the receiving end of one of the worst coaching jobs in recorded history.) The Falcons will have three picks in the top 50 this year. They need someone like Dimitroff making those selections.

In terms of salary cap management, it's hard to say whether Dimitroff has much experience. Hopefully, he learned from watching Scott Pioli and won't overpay for free agents. The Patriots have studiously avoided the sort of mistakes the Falcons have made in allocating cap dollars, mistakes like overpaying to keep your average veterans (see: Brooking, Keith), not paying to keep your truly valuable veterans (see: Kerney, Patrick), or paying #2 players as if they are #1s (see: Price, Peerless). Hopefully, Arthur Blank will stay out of the decision-making process and let Dimitroff make decisions.

Jeff Schultz has a quality column on the hire. Money graf:

The Falcons didn’t need to hire the big name. The Falcons only had to hire somebody to fix a mess. Tom Dimitroff — meet your mess.

The next few years will tell us if owner Arthur Blank chose well. This much we know: Blank has absorbed a lot of criticism of late. But after being conned by Bobby Petrino, used by Bill Parcells and dancing an illogical dance with Pete Carroll, he bounced back with a reasoned choice, free of emotion, pyrotechnics and clowns with exploding feet.

Blank didn’t hire a sideshow. He hired a football guy.


Anonymous said...

logical, really, he never even met the guy face to face before the hire. THis is just a sham as McCkay will still call all the shots. Way to be fooled.

Left to Right said...

This is superficial, but I am not reassured from the pictures I have seen of Dimitroff. Some very hard decisions have to made about the Falcon's personnel Rich McKay brought in. At first glance, Dimitroff does not appear to have the force of will it is going to take to look McKay (his boss) in the eye and tell him he is going to try and disassemble, either through trades or cuts, the team McKay put together (Brooking, Horne, Jenkins, Mahali, Dunn, the entire OL, and quite possibly Crumpler).

And as much as I think Blank is trying to create a winning organization, he no longer gets the benefit of the doubt with his hires. Remember, McKay was touted as "football man" with Super Bowl winning GM experience to boot.

Dawg 05 said...

Possibly Crumpler? Why keep a weak kneed, middle aged, ball dropping TE around when we have a good kneed, young, ball dropping TE in Martrez Milner? At least Dimitroff knows a good UGA TE when he sees one.

This entire roster needs a bomb dropped on it. Dunn is old and pricey, dump him. Jenkins is a waste, dump him. Crumpler, see above, dump him. Keep the OL as long as we go back to zone, just add talent and size through the draft. Jimmy Williams, geez... Why did we pay a league high salary for a position that is slowly being phased out of the NFL in Ovie Muheli? I'll hold out hope for this years high draft picks, but not much. Has McKay been on crack for 4 years? I could have drafted better than him just by using Mel Kiper's rankings...

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