The Falcons roster and coaching staff have had some turnover, but have not had the typical signs of a rebuilding franchise. No major cap hits. No rookie quarterback. It does not look like team owner Arthur Blank is expecting the team to spend a few years rebuilding.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution managed to interview Blank, who made his expectations crystal clear.
I’ve said this to Dan (Quinn). I’ve said this to (general manager) Thomas (Dimitroff) as late as tonight. We’re not about tomorrow. We’re not about rebuilding and building. We’re about winning and we’re about winning now.
The team is in a weird place. Coaches with a franchise quarterback usually hold onto their jobs. A new staff usually means a rebuilding team and plenty of young players who may develop into starters in two to three seasons. Atlanta has a better roster than that, and Blank clearly expects the team to improve this year.
In the interview, Blank described his excitement with Quinn, and hit on the typical things we have heard since Quinn was hired: the culture change, the new energy, and communication between the staff and players. He expects early success, and will likely need it with the new, expensive stadium opening in under two years.
The Atlanta fans and the fans across the NFL are entitled to know that this ownership and this leadership team will do whatever it takes to put a winning team on the field. We will not wait any period of time to do it. We’ll leave no stone unturned. We’ll look at everything that we can that’s possible to give us the best opportunity to win. We owe that to our fans. We owe that to the NFL.
Blank clearly sees the team's current success being tied to Matt Ryan, and said he has made it clear to Dimitroff and Quinn that they should be maximizing Ryan's time in Atlanta. Falcons fans can attest to how difficult it can be to find a franchise quarterback, and how difficult it is to win consistently without one.
While a few days a rumor surfaced that Quinn was leaning towards making some changes with the personnel department, Blank said things between Quinn and the front office are going great.
That’s working beautifully. That’s working great. Thomas and "Q" have built a great relationship this offseason together. They listen to each other, speak to each other, hear each other, respect each other and it’s everything you want in the relationship. I think that (assistant GM) Scott (Pioli) has been wonderful working with Thomas as well as working with Dan. I think that was a wise decision — a difficult decision — but, in retrospect, a wise decision (to restructure the front office). I think it has worked well and will work out well in the future.
If you have been complaining about the status of the offensive line, Blank hears you. He pointed out the offensive line and run game as being problem areas for the team. However, those problems are not limiting his optimism this year.
My expectations are like 31 other owners, that we want to be (in Super Bowl 50), too.
Lets hope Blank can meet his expectations.