The AJC's Michael Cunningham wrote a great article about the Atlanta Falcons, which perfectly sums up part of the fan frustration surrounding this team. The team is 2-6, frequently showing flashes of greatness, but much more frequently showing stunning incompetence.
Why is this team so bad? According to the coaching staff, the team has failed to execute, struggling to compete for four quarters, and other vague jargon that really means nothing.
Are changes being made? Is this team trying to turn around? Mike Smith seems to be happy with the scheme and projected snaps the staff determined in the offseason, thanks to their rigid refusal to make any meaningful changes. It may help fan frustration to hear why certain decisions are made, or not made, but Smith does not give up that type of information. The team has lost some goodwill by refusing to tell the fans anything at all.
Why is Kroy Biermann still getting more pass rushing snaps than the beastly Jonathan Massaquoi? Why is struggling Joplo Bartu getting the nod over impressive rookie Prince Shembo? Is there a reason to think this base nickel defense is going to suddenly become effective, or even, average? Why is Antone Smith getting a small fraction of the snaps as Steven Jackson? Did the team actually learn anything from 2013? Was there any backup plan if the team struggled this season? Why did we add so many defensive tackles, arguably one of our least needy positions?
We are forced to guess why the same confusing decisions are made, after seeing the failing results week after week. The team got away with this when they were securing first round byes, not securing top picks in the draft.
The Falcons have not won since September 18, despite home field advantage, opposing teams missing multiple top talents, rookie quarterbacks and 21 point leads.
This fan base needs a single reason for hope. Instead, our General Manager goes into hiding.
Dimitroff has declined all interview requests sent through team PR during the season, just as he did during last season. Dimitroff’s silence means Smith is taking all the punches as the public face of the Falcons. Dimitroff and Smith have always presented themselves as a partnership but, with things going bad, Smith is solo. Smith is the middle manager left to explain some of Dimitroff’s decisions to the public, while Dimitroff is in the background sending disapproving text messages to reporters who criticize those decisions.
Where in the world is Thomas Dimitroff? First, I would like to point out that the article was updated to explain the team has an internal policy that Smith speaks for the team.
That may explain why Dimitroff has been silent, but it could also add to one of the many senseless decisions the team has made for no understandable lesson. This is just more of "the process", something that does not seem to be improving the team but is mentioned on a weekly basis.
As Cunningham pointed out, the Jets General Manager just had a solo interview with reporters to explain the state of the team. A former Colts General Manager was told the GM job is to take the heat off of the head coach during the season.
If Mike Smith was Commissioner Gordon, he would have fired up the Dimitroff Signal months ago. Instead, the man who went front and center for HBO's Hard Knocks seems to be hiding away from the team he built, perhaps utilizing Dick Cheney's secure, underground bunker.
Taking the heat for the head coach makes sense. Dimitroff and owner Arthur Blank decided not to fire Smith during the bye week. Having Smith twist in the wind and defending front office decisions, while he could probably be more dedicated to turning around this team, seems counterproductive. Not that pressure has lead Smith to change anything with this team, but Dimitroff could help shoulder the pressure by changing "internal policy".
Instead, this is just another concern piled up on a regime that has been aggressively stacking up losses, with fans given no explanation or reasoning why their team is unwatchable for the second year in a row.