Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn spoke to the media today in Indianapolis, touching on the process of evaluating the Falcons roster, the upcoming draft and (yet again) their respective roles in the Falcons organization.
We began with Dimitroff, who took the podium in all his spiky-haired glory at 2:15 p.m. and immediately made it clear that the Falcons haven't come to any decisions on the roster just yet.
Dimitroff: we are still firmly entrenched in evaluating the roster. We have made no concrete decisions yet.— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) February 19, 2015
Dimitroff said he and Quinn brought in coordinators and assistant coaches to break down specifics about the players they are looking for.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) February 19, 2015
This is what you'd expect Dimitroff to say before free agency, but it's noteworthy that teams are starting to cut players and the Falcons have thus far declined to do so. The front office has a level of attachment to the guys they've drafted and Quinn will want to ensure he's keeping around every player of value, so there's no particular rush here. Involving the coordinators and assistants ensures they can champion the guys they really want around, too.
Dimitroff: If there’s a disagreement on player/roster, the head coach has the final say.— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) February 19, 2015
This keeps getting brought up, and I'm sure everyone involved would prefer it did not. But Dimitroff reiterated he's comfortable with the setup (Quinn and Dimitroff reporting separately to Arthur Blank), and Quinn will get the power to deliver an ultimatum on a player, which isn't a bad thing when we're talking about trimming the roster down in late August, in particular. Do I think Dimitroff would jump at the chance to take on a VP role or have scouting completely under his purview with another team? Maybe. Is he going to get that opportunity, or spend his time stewing over it? Probably not.
"We're really excited about the potential for picks at the eighth overall pick. That's a great situation for us," Dimitroff said. "I think it gives us an opportunity to pick at a number of positions.
This is interesting because Dimitroff is not in any way indicating the Falcons are open to moving the pick. You'll recall a year ago Dimitroff said the team could trade up or down, and while that was largely a smokescreen, the team was talking about moving up with Houston and Jacksonville from #6. That's a notable omission.
"As you can imagine, when you have a new coaching staff, and with schemes changing, it really opens up for some really interesting conversation about the direction of and the style of football players that we're going to have on this team in Atlanta," Dimitroff said.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall.
And finally, for those Julio enthusiasts in our midst:
Dimitroff: Plain and simple, we want Julio here for a long time to come.— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) February 19, 2015
Jay Adams has a nice breakdown of Dimitroff's remarks at the mothership, as well.
Quinn started talking about his staff early, praising Raheem Morris as a great teacher and talking about his responsibilities. Having a coach dedicated to thinking about third downs doesn't sound so bad, given the Falcons' track record there in recent years.
Quinn said Morris will be in charge of third down and two minute as pass-defense coordinator— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) February 19, 2015
Quinn then talked up Devonta Freeman, who I legitimately think could be the lead back for the Falcons in 2015. Kyle Shanahan seems to genuinely like him, and Freeman's certain set of skills is a nice fit for zone blocking, as Quinn said himself.
Quinn says he can feel the quickness is Devonta Freeman. He’s tailor-made for zone blocking. High hopes for him.— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) February 19, 2015
While they don't have the size of his Seattle cornerbacks, Quinn seems fond of Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, their aggressiveness and their coverage skills.
Quinn says Alford and Trufant fit the mold of what he’s looking for. Fit the profile of Seattle CBs.— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) February 19, 2015
Quinn said he hasn't decided whether he'll call defensive plays yet. If he doesn't, those duties would inevitably default to Richard Smith, the defensive coordinator.
Quinn says he still hasn’t determined if he will call the defense. He will be involved but no decision yet on who calls the plays.— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) February 19, 2015
Quinn also spoke during both his chat with fans and today's media session about wanting fast, physical players who would be playing in an attacking scheme. What exactly that means for the draft and roster remains to be seen, but it's clear this team is going to prize athletes and reward simplicity. In some ways, that's the exact opposite of what the Falcons did under Mike Smith and Mike Nolan, when they had max effort players and relied on disguised fronts to sow confusion.
Finally, we come to Fowler. It was an inevitable question in a lot of ways, because Quinn spent some time with Fowler at Florida, Fowler is one of the best pass rushers in the class and the team sorely needs help. I'm not calling him as an inevitable pick for the Falcons, but I do believe Quinn and the front office will be interested if he's available at #8.
What are your thoughts on these comments?