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How does Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff earn his keep going forward?

Fact: Thomas Dimitroff puts ketchup on his hot dogs

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff isn't the most popular guy at Flowery Branch. In fact, the resident exterminator, janitor, and jock strap washer would all rank slightly above Dimitroff in a popularity contest. But lucky for Dimitroff, his book is not yet written. We are the midst of what could fairly be described as a pivotal point. It's time for results. It's time to harvest the crop. It's time for Dimitroff to "break out," so to speak.

To Dimitroff's credit, he's done a lot for this franchise. He played a substantial part in helping the team distance itself from the Michael Vick era. That was no easy task. But that said, his cumulative history is the underlying issue. He's absolutely on the hot seat, begging an important question: how does he earn his keep going forward?

The first thing he should focus on is money. Dimitroff's strength has always been money management. Sure, there's an anomaly or two worth noting. (I'm looking at you, Sam Baker.) But overall, he can competently manage a salary cap. He's got to keep doing that. When the news broke that the Falcons were the first team to sign all its draft picks, I thought to myself, "Atta boy, Tommy."

The second thing he should focus on is a realistic approach. He needs to be real with the fanbase. I thought he did that pretty well a couple weeks back when pressed about the state of the pass rush. Instead of suggesting that the necessary pieces are already in place, he used words like "build" and "building," acknowledging the process involved. That's commendable, and it's a departure from his usual tact.

The last part of the equation is already out of Dimitroff's control: the 2016 draft class. To be frank, it may be a couple years before we can realistically assess this class. But given his history, Dimitroff is already behind the eight ball, because the fans are going to want immediate results. If a couple of the rookies play big roles in 2016, Dimitroff's past draft-related misdeeds could and should be overlooked.

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