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Arthur Blank: Major Changes Likely Wait Until The End Of The Season

The Falcons' owner talks to ESPN about his staff and the trade deadline.

Rob Carr

The trade deadline is only a couple of hours away, but the Falcons aren't likely to be major players. They're even less likely to move on from Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff this week.

That's the impression you come away with reading articles from Vaughn McClure at ESPN. It appears that despite the team's 2-6 start, Arthur Blank wants to stay the course and give the team a chance to pull off a miraculous turnaround.

Team owner Arthur Blank recently told he had confidence in both Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff to guide a turnaround and said he would wait to see how the season plays out before evaluating changes. But Blank was noticeably frustrated after Sunday's loss in London, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "There's no way you lose that game -- just no way. There's nothing else I can say."

Like the entire fanbase, Blank is frustrated, but as predicted earlier this year he's not going to make a mid-season move. I definitely thought the five game skid would leave him considering it, but there's a desire to see if the Falcons can deliver on the turnaround. My guess is that they cannot, but there should be no illusions left for anyone on the staff at Flowery Branch about what will happen if they don't.

While a big short-term move might help save jobs by ginning up better play in 2014, it's not particularly likely Blank's going to see one happen on his watch. He told McClure he's not a big fan of the deadline trades.

``I think in general, the personnel department and the coaching department, they have an extended period of time, starting during the season, where they are constantly evaluating themselves and constantly evaluating their talent, player-wise and coaching-wise, and reflecting on what changes they can make as they go into the following year,'' Blank explained to ``And obviously, it's a long offseason, both through free agency and the draft, to prepare for the following season.

``Once the season starts, it's not easy to make those changes because the chemistry is kind of set in the locker room. You can move it and change it and the coaches can motivate it differently. But players, they are used to working in certain schemes both offensively and defensively. It's not as easy to drop players in and out as it might be in other sports. If you're playing golf, you might be able to drop someone else into the foursome to go out and play because chemistry doesn't make a lot of difference. In this sport, it makes a huge difference.''

Generally speaking, I think chemistry is a poor reason to make a move, but the bigger reason is that overpaying at the deadline generally doesn't work out extremely well, and the Falcons don't want to surrender picks that could help them out in the years ahead for a move that may or may not save the season now.

Meanwhile, Saints fans are stumping for Smitty. This season sucks.