GM Thomas Dimitroff won’t be fired by Falcons, per report
Mike Smith is out, but Atlanta is keeping its general manager.
The Atlanta Falcons are dumping their head coach, but not their general manager. After the team announced the firing of Mike Smith on Monday morning, a report by Buck Lanford of Fox5 claims that GM Thomas Dimitroff will not be fired.
The Falcons fell just short of the playoffs, going 6-10 this past season despite a roster seemingly poised to be competitive. Key free agent acquisitions didn’t pan out, on the defense in particular, and Dimitroff’s record in the NFL Draft was decidedly mixed.
The Falcons’ high water mark during Dimitroff’s tenure was the 2012 season, when they led the NFC with a 13-3 record, and lost a close bout to the San Francisco 49ers in the conference championship game. The team crashed hard the next season, finishing 4-12 after entering with Super Bowl aspirations.
The team was expected to bounce back this season if it could avoid the disastrous injuries on offense that it suffered in 2013 to help protect a vulnerable defense. A modest two-game uptick wasn’t enough to convince Blank to retain Smith, but the existing talent is apparently enough to give Dimitroff another chance.
Dimitroff can be credited, deservedly, for helping Atlanta build a strong offensive nucleus. Quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones — drafted in 2008 and 2011, respectively — gives the Falcons one of the better quarterback-receiver tandems in the league. An improving offensive line anchored by rookie left tackle Jake Matthews could be excellent next season.
Dimitroff has also overseen a rapidly declining defense, however. The Falcons finished 12th in total defense in 2011 before dropping to 24th in 2012, 27th in 2013 and dead last in 2014. Atlanta invested heavily in the defensive line this past offseason — signing defensive tackle Paul Soliai and defensive end Tyson Jackson — and received minimal returns, exposing a secondary that gave up more passing yards this season than any team in the league.