Tag:Mike Smith
Posted on: May 20, 2011 2:01 pm

Dimitroff open to Falcons on 'Hard Knocks'

Posted by Will Brinson

We already know that the Bucs won't be on "Hard Knocks," and we learned yesterday that the Broncos are already out.

But what about the Falcons? The seemingly odd fit for HBO's reality television series about training camp should be considered a possibility, according to Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff.

"Two years ago we were approached and decided that it wasn’t right for us at that point,” Dimitroff said on Sirius, via Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "That’s not to say we wouldn’t go down that road if it was presented to us at another time. We are much closer to being in that spot where it’s not going to be as much of a distraction as it would have been another time.

"It’s such an individual thing. Hard Knocks could be right for some of the teams that are fairly entrenched. It could be right for some team that wants to kick off some more brand recognition."

Brand-iness is certainly something that the Falcons could use: look no further than where they fall amongst the elite teams from 2010. You had the Steelers, the Packers, the Bears, the Jets, the Patriots ... and the Falcons.

You can argue more teams were "elite" (or less) if you want, but whatever. The point is that the Falcons are easily the most vanilla of the teams listed there.

Vanilla isn't bad, per se, but it's not gonna sell jerseys outside of the ATL. A "Hard Knocks" appearance won't turn a team into a pile of superstars overnight, but it will make the general football-watching world vastly more interested in what happens to the Falcons the year of the show.

That might not seem like the type of thing Dimitroff would be interested in, but you can definitely argue that making the team more marketable falls under his responsibilities as well.

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Posted on: April 30, 2011 4:15 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2011 5:46 pm

Falcons focusing on offensive explosiveness

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- When the Atlanta Falcons moved a pile of picks to the Browns to grab Julio Jones, GM Thomas Dimitroff said, "We are not one player away from anything." He's probably right.
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But in the fifth round, Atlanta got another player closer towards being that much more explosive offensively, when they drafted Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers.

Shortly after the pick, highlights from Rodgers' career with the Beavers started flashing on the big screen and the crowd went nuts -- as they should have, because Rodgers was plowing over people, breaking ankles and fighting his way into the end zone.

Is he likely to be a feature back in the NFL? Probably not. But the Falcons have Michael Turner to be their main guy and Rodgers just might compliment Turner perfectly.

The knock on the Atlanta Falcons heading into 2011 was a lack of offensive explosiveness. With their addition of Jones and Rodgers to the skill positions, that problem could already be eliminated.

And the Falcons, despite having given up some substantial future draft picks, might have suddenly revamped their entire offense in an offseason that wasn't supposed to be made for revamping.

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 11:24 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2011 1:10 am

Falcons better hope Julio Jones is a home run

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- Last season, I predicted the Atlanta Falcons would win the Super Bowl.

Obviously I was wrong, but it wasn't that far off -- they were arguably the best regular season team in the NFL. Just not the most explosive.

The latter problem showed up when Green Bay bolted out to a big lead in the NFC Championship Game and Atlanta couldn't even come close to mustering a comeback because they lacked the necessary explosiveness to do any damage in the second half.

By adding Julio Jones, they changed that, dramatically, and even in Mike Mularky's sometimes slow offense, the Falcons could put up big numbers if Jones does what they expect.

He better, though, because Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith just paid a pretty penny for him: four -- count them, FOUR -- draft picks in the first four rounds of the 2011 and 2012 NFL Drafts.

Atlanta gave up their first-round pick for 2011 (27th overall), their second-round pick for 2011, their fourth-round pick for 2011, their first-round pick for 2012 and their fourth-round pick in 2012. Yes, that is a TON of picks for one player.

And, yes, you may slow-clap for Tom Heckert now, because he just picked up a ridiculous haul of picks for an organization -- the Browns -- that needs in any number of positions.
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Now, look, it may not matter, it could work out for both sides, and the Browns may end up with the last pick of the first round next year. But that's cool -- they'll appreciate having a pair of first-rounders and the Falcons will appreciate winning a Super Bowl. 

Of course, that's probably a stretch. But the Falcons do have to win the NFC South in 2011 if they want to justify this move. 

The Browns, on the other hand, can sit back and stockpile assets with which to help Colt McCoy and the organization later down the line, sitting on a pile of early picks over the next two years and no real guarantee of success in 2011. 

And maybe it's too early to try and criticize Dimitroff and Smith. After all, there's really nothing to justify doing so, as they've killed it thus far. But if something goes awry in 2011, there'll be some questions about this deal asked, particularly when Jones can only touch the ball but so many times a game.

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 2:40 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 2:41 pm

Thomas Dimitroff gets multi-year extension

Posted by Will Brinson

The Atlanta Falcons continued locking up their highly successful front office on Wednesday, as they announced that GM Thomas Dimitroff received a multi-year extension.

It had been expected that the Falcons would try and lock up both Dimitroff and Mike Smith. They took care of the latter during Super Bowl week by handing Smith a three-year extension, and now they've got a formidable duo running the team for the foreseeable future.

"First, I would like to thank Mr. Blank for the confidence and support he has shown in me and in Coach Smith over the past three seasons," Dimitroff said. "I look forward to working with Smitty and his coaching staff as we continue our journey of bringing NFL championship caliber football to Falcons fans and to the city of Atlanta."

Terms -- and length -- of the deal weren't disclosed by the team, but it seems pretty logical that Dimitroff will be extended for the same length as Smith. Teams, sensibly, like to keep those working combinations together.

"This extension of Thomas' contract ensures that he and Coach (Mike) Smith, whose contract was extended last month, will be able to continue to work together on solidifying the long-term sustainability and success of our football team," Falcons owner & CEO Arthur M. Blank said. "Thomas has proven himself to be a highly-skilled and talented general manager of our club, and I look forward to the Falcons reaping the benefits of his work for many years to come."

Dimitroff and Smith did a remarkable job of turning the Falcons' franchise around following the departure of Bobby Petrino (and the incarceration of Michael Vick) and have built a pretty formidable base for the future. Blank wisely recognizes that and decided to lock both his architects in for a while.

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Posted on: February 8, 2011 12:55 pm

Hot Routes 2.8.11: Two sides of Vick

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Vick didn’t get out of the ceremony unscathed, though. As this YouTube video will attest. To be fair, though, take the video with a grain of salt. It’s hard to tell if Vick even heard the radio guy or looked at him.
  • If you’re thinking new Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden will contact QB Carson Palmer to make a pitch at him to stay in Cincinnati, think again. Gruden will wait until Palmer’s job status is sorted out before making contact.
  • Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post thinks the Super Bowl has become too bloated.
  • If you were driving in the Washington D.C. area Sunday night, there’s a pretty good chance you were given a ticket by Maryland or Virginia police. Forty-two drivers were arrested on DUI suspicion.
  • The Washington City Paper has announced the Washington City Paper Defense Fund so the outlet can fight the multi-million dollar lawsuit leveled at it by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. Apparently, the newspaper is getting plenty of support from its readers.

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Posted on: February 4, 2011 6:47 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 7:59 pm

Gonzalez: 'I'd probably be done' if he had a ring

Posted by Will Brinson

DALLAS -- Tony Gonzalez has had an amazing career. He's the original modern-day prototype for the uber-athletic tight ends that are strewn across NFL rosters these days.

The one thing he hasn't accomplished, though, is winning a Super Bowl. "I'm just taking it one year at a time," Gonzalez told CBSSports.com. "I do anticipate next year being my last year.

"The way I look at it is, if I had a Super Bowl at this point, I'd probably be done. But that's really what's driving me -- it's not statistics, it's not records."

[More Super Bowl coverage]

It's kind of obvious that Gonzalez isn't stat-hogging, too -- if he simply cared about racking up receiving yards and whatnot, he'd have stuck with the Chiefs.

Since joining the Falcons, after all, he hasn't even topped 900 yards, but that's primarily because Mike Mularkey's scheme relies so heavily on the power run game and doesn't stretch the field with Gonzo the way the Chiefs did.

He has been a crucial third-down and red-zone target (six TDs in both his years with the Falcons, though, and age almost certainly has something to do with his decline in production.

Still, the Falcons shouldn't go anywhere in 2011, even in a tough NFC South, and given the talent base in Atlanta, it's entirely possible Gonzo could stick around for even longer.

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Posted on: February 3, 2011 11:06 am

Mike Smith gets 3-year extension from Falcons

Posted by Will Brinson

The Falcons announced on Thursday that they signed head coach Mike Smith to a three-year extension, the terms of which were not disclosed.

Smith, 33-17 in three years with the Falcons, has yet to win a postseason game, but he and GM Thomas Dimitroff's turnaround of Atlanta's franchise is nothing short of remarkable, and the extension is well deserved.

"When we hired Mike Smith in 2008, we believed we had found the total package: a head coach with strong leadership skills and experience and the track record to back it up, and a man of high character and integrity," Falcons Owner & CEO Arthur Blank said. "In his three seasons with us, Coach Smith has demonstrated all of these characteristics, and then some."

Smith won the AP Coach of the Year award in 2008, and the Sporting News Coach of the Year award in 2010.

"I am looking forward to continuing to build upon the solid foundation we have in place within our organization and on our football team," Smith said. "I’d like to personally thank both Arthur and [General Manager] Thomas Dimitroff for their outstanding support and guidance. We are going to continue to work as hard as we can to bring a championship to Falcons fans and to the city of Atlanta."

It seems pretty likely that the Falcons will seek to extend Dimitroff as well -- it's been clear that ownership loves the direction of the franchise and locking the coach and GM into similar deals only serves to solidify Atlanta's future success.

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Posted on: January 30, 2011 9:47 pm

Report: Falcons want to extend Smith, Dimitroff

Posted by Will Brinson

2010 fizzled pretty badly for the Falcons, but all-in-all, it was a pretty darn good year for Atlanta's franchise. They built upon a young, talented foundation and secured the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC playoffs and appear ready to contend in the NFL for quite some time.

So the report from Jay Glazer of FOX Sports during the Pro Bowl that Atlanta's looking to lock up head coach Mike Smith and GM Thomas Dimitroff with long-term extensions makes a lot of sense.

It's easy to forget that before Smith and Dimitroff came into town, the Falcons hit rock bottom -- Michael Vick's prison sentence and the embarrassing escape of Bobby Petrino to Arkansas turned Arthur Blank's franchise from one of the most-watched to the least desirable in the NFL overnight.

Smith and Dimitroff somehow managed to fix the team overnight with the signing of Michael Turner, the trade for Tony Gonzalez and a drafting a superb class in 2008, the highlight of which was Matt Ryan.

They've got the Dirty Birds poised for long-term success and it makes perfect sense that Blank wants them around to reap the rewards of the foundation they built.

One more quick note on Smith -- he's the perfect example of a coach that fans aren't "excited" to see hired, because he lacks name value. But even though he might not be the flashiest coach, he's proven that sometimes name value doesn't always equal wins.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com