If you watched the Arthur Blank press conference yesterday, chances are you caught this little remark from the Falcons' owner:
Blank: "I have every reason to believe we will go from last to first in 2014."— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) January 6, 2014
Bluntly, this is less about what Arthur Blank believes than what Arthur Blank expects. I wouldn't necessarily say that Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff are in danger of being fired during or following the 2014 season, but another poor year is something Blank isn't ready to accept. If the Falcons go 4-12 again, well, the owner's already put Smitty and the Comrade on notice. You shouldn't be surprised to see one or both go.
Those expectations are not hollow, or Smith and Dimitroff would already be gone. Blank believes the front office can bring aboard the players the coaching staff needs to develop to get them back on track, and he's thrown his weight behind them by not booting them out the door. They know that Blank isn't going to overreact and drop them three games into next season if things start out rough, so they'll have some latitude. They just probably can't afford to fail so spectacularly for a second year in a row.
Finally, those who think Blank is indicating that he's comfortable with mediocrity due to his comments about a successful season equaling a playoff berth need to pump the brakes. The fact is, no owner worth their salt is going to say "Super Bowl or everyone's fired" because of the incredibly slim odds of making it to the big game, even if you're one of the NFL's best teams. I'd say his expectations are appropriately high.
What do you make of Blank's comments?