Mike Mularkey and Brian Van Gorder got new jobs pretty fast this off-season, but I think it's fair to say most of the fanbase thought they would have been canned had they not done so. I thought it was classy of the Falcons to let them exit at their own pace.
Given the way this organization operates, it's little surprise that no one's ever been quoted saying that Mularkey and Van Gorder had to go after four years of playoff disappointments and bland, conservative play-calling. What is surprising is that Arthur Blank may have come closest in remarks on NFL AM recently.
You'll want to check out the whole interview, but our good friend Jay Adams has a particularly salient quote in his story that I couldn't help but link to the old coordinators. Here it is, in all its Blankish glory:
"I’m thrilled with the way we’re playing ball, obviously on both sides of the ball. The six new coaches — particularly the two new coordinators — I think have made a huge difference, with credit to Coach Smith for bringing in Dirk Koetter and Mike Nolan. I think they both have been very effective, whether it’s the schemes, whether it’s trying to look at things a little bit differently. A lot of it, like in business — the business of football, the business of life, the business of business — is trying to put square pegs in square holes and round pegs in round holes, and I think these guys have put our players in the best position to win.
This is terrific praise for Dirk Koetter and Mike Nolan, obviously. It's a testament to how hard they've worked and how much the players have embraced what they're bringing to Atlanta, and good on Blank for pumping up the team with these kinds of comments.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who sees the backhanded swipe at MM and BVG, though. Specifically, the line about "trying to put square pegs in square holes and round pegs in round holes." The major knock on those two coordinators, which Blank must have heard, was that they didn't put players in a position to succeed. Given how good players like Thomas DeCoud and Matt Ryan have looked in the new schemes, that seems like an awfully accurate assessment. Blank is tacitly acknowledging that this wasn't happening before.
The Falcons are not beating football teams in particularly subtle ways in 2012, but it hasn't changed the way they talk. I'm glad MM and BVG have new jobs and new opportunities to succeed, but like Blank, I'm glad it's not here in Atlanta.
What are your thoughts on Blank's comments?