Posted: 10:04 am Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Falcons’ hiring of Scott Pioli can only help 

By Jeff Schultz

When he was in Kansas City, Scott Pioli had some hits and misses (like hiring Romeo Crennel as head coach).

When he was in Kansas City, Scott Pioli had some hits and misses (like hiring Romeo Crennel as head coach).

Last month when I spoke to Scott Pioli, it was clear the affection and respect he still had for Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, who worked under Pioli as a scout when both were in New England. It also was clear the two spoke often and easily could be seen working together again one day.

And here we go.

In a modern day version of “Trading Places,” the Falcons have hired Pioli, the former Patriots’ general manager, as an assistant GM under Dimitroff. So the teacher is now working for the student.

It’s a terrific move by the Falcons. Pioli and Bill Belichick co-built the Patriots into one of the NFL’s premier organizations. Pioli eventually moved on to Kansas City, where he had both hits and misses in four seasons before being fired. (Despite the firing and one playoff season in four years, it’s worth noting Pioli completely overturned the roster and he acquired most of the players who led the Chiefs to this year’s 11-5 record.)

Pioli gives the Falcons one more set of eyes in the personnel department they clearly needed, given so many of the problems we witnessed this past season. The only surprising aspect of this is that he would take the job.

I’m certain his friendship with his Dimitroff has a lot to do with it. I suspect he also has been watching film of Falcons’ games. There’s a comfort level there.

Pioli told me last month that he had been offered other jobs following his exit from Kansas City but he preferred to sit out the 2013 season and decompress. He worked as an analyst for NBC on Sunday night games this season. He had been rumored for jobs this offseason, including one in Houston.

I asked Pioli last month about the Falcons’ unraveling this season. He referenced injuries and then said the results revealed something about the other players. “Sometimes you can lose key guys and make it through,” he said. “Other times it can have a really bad effect. It happened to us in Kansas City. When there are adverse conditions, it puts pressure on people who maybe had gotten comfortable.

“Adverse situations reveal what people really are. Not just players but coaches and trainers. People act a certain way. But when there’s adversity, they react. It’s interesting for the Falcons right now to watch how people react.”

Pioli also said he had no doubt that Dimitroff would put himself under the microscope before anybody else, commenting, “He’s a very harsh critic of himself. That’s how he was raised. He’s always going to look at himself before anybody else.”

In a statement, Dimitroff called Pioli “one of the most respected and adept talent evaluators in the NFL, adding, “We have made the commitment to improve every aspect of our organization this offseason, and with the addition of Scott to our personnel department, we have taken an important step to enhance our scouting staff.”

60 comments
MikeS777
MikeS777

We will see.  The Falcon's clearly have issues on both sides of the line.  The offensive line and defensive line both got pushed around badly.  You don't need the best WRs in the game if you can give Matt Ryan time to throw the ball.  You don't need the best LBs and DBs if you have a line that can crush the pocket and keep O lineman off you're LBs.  The Falcon's have neither.


So again, we will see.  If they don't sell out for both lines this offseason, then we know nothing has changed.  You can't beat the current 49ers or Seahawks with bad line play.  They destroyed the Falcon's lines last year, and it wasn't because Julio Jones was out.  Ryan got sacked 9 times in the last game against Carolina.  It's not rocket science what the team issues are.

BravoDawg
BravoDawg

Either McKay or TD will be out the door soon, watch out!!!

Dman
Dman

I love the Falcons and Aurtur Blank. it is clear to me that he wants to bring a Championship to Atlanta and as a season ticket holder, I want to say THANK YOU Arthur for continually trying to make this team better.

Pioli sounds like he knows what he is doing and I agree he can only help the team. GO FALCONS!!!

MikeisBack
MikeisBack

Pioli is a credible addition to the Falcon organization...very well respect among his peers.Good move...you don't get the opportunity to bring in someone of his stature as an assistant...too often.


Smart move by tha BIRDS.

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

Hope their combo is the missing link. Pioli had plenty of offers but chose to work for his former subordinate? Maybe this'll work. But then again, maybe he's had his day in the sun. Hope it works for everyone's concern. Blank trying to recreate history with the same chess pieces may work. On the other hand, sometimes you have to focus on what's working, or who's working now. We'll see.

unfairlybannedforlife
unfairlybannedforlife

Eyes wide shut in ATL.  Perhaps Mr. Pioli will do a Clockwork Orange number on the staff and make them WATCH the horribleness that was the 2013 edition of the Falcons.

But if not, he can always step up and take the job...

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

So now let us welcome Mr. Dimitroff to the former GM's bench to sit with Mr. Mackay. This is the bench of seat warmers Arthur keeps on the payroll as his "friends" so he doesn't feel guilty. He's putting together quite a collection on that bench of has-beens.

Maybe someday we'll find we have someone that can evaluate talent in the college ranks. I hope Pioli is that guy!

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

Dont be folled in no way R the Flacons goin 2 the Superbowel B cuz of this

RBI
RBI

The Falcons problems are not with Coach Smitty.  He's done a helluva job with the talent level delivered to him.


Perhaps the problem was with the position coaches... but, more likely those position coaches were simply used by poor management (Dimitroff) as scapegoats for poor drafting and poor personnel management.  It's a lot easier to successfully coach talented players than those with lesser talent.  Those position coaches did not suddenly unlearn how to be successful!

knudegard1
knudegard1

Soft landing for a new job down the road.

96JB
96JB

I like it. Sometimes people with goods jobs and positions don't want smart talented people around them for they fear the ole heave ho and who's next by the boss. Good move.

gfw
gfw

This signals that Dimitroff has (properly) lost Blank's confidence as a talent-picker.  Good move.

mochafudge
mochafudge

We need a new head coach plain and simple.  We do well in the draft but the coaching staff isn't getting the job done.  Hopefully, Scott Pioli will recognize this and make the change in 2015.  I don't expect the 2014 season to be much better.  Look at the other teams (Seattle, San Francisco, New England, ) that drafts late round players and viola..... they are super bowl bound.  Say what you want about Belicheck.  He is a hell of a coach.  Mike Smith???? great position coach.  Falcons won't make the super bowl on his watch.  Sorry.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

It's a heck of a lot easier to be a successful GM if you have Bill Belichik as your HC and you luck out and find a HOF QB in the 6th round of the draft.

TokyoTom
TokyoTom

Is the issue of O & D line draft busts, as well as jettisoning proven players like Abe, McClure, Dahl, & Clabo due to TD- or was it from inferior line coaches who could not coach up talent & had issues with the incumbent players? Maybe with the old coaches gone and Tice/Cox in place, we will see better results with both lines as well as player development. The fault for TD and CMS might be keeping bad coaches on the staff- not drafting good players. Just a thought...

Chill
Chill

Also Pioli was an absolute train wreck in Kansas City. I've always thought the true Architect of those great Patroit teams is the guy that still there, Bill belichick and not all the all the other guys who left and fell flat on their faces.

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

I was once boss of someone who later hired me. If you have the attitude that you can lead, or follow depending on the need, it's fine.

RBI
RBI

Good move! Dimitroff needs all the help he can get, especially evaluating players --- those already in the NFL, those in the Draft, and those already on the roster.

Chill
Chill

So let me get this straight. Dimitroff fires the O-Line and D Line coaches, basically saying that the problem is not personnel issues but coaching issues. Then a few weeks later he hires an "Assistant GM" to assist him with his personnel moves, particualry on the O and D lines?? Sounds like the wrong people took the fall for the horrioble job of evaulating talent the past few years. TD should teach a classs. "How to keep your GM Job even when you suck 101.

Waukeganite
Waukeganite

As a Chiefs I can tell you this is a terrible move. First of all the Falcons would have never Tony G. If Pioli didn't chase the would be HOF out of KC as his first order of business. Look it up. Secondly Pioli is terrible at talent evaluation. See Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson and Matt Cassell if you doubt this. Thirdly, most of the Chiefs pro-bowlers were drafted by Herm/Peterson, not Pioli(Dj,Flowers,Alberts,Jamaal). Chiefs nation feels bad "Egoli" is coming to ruin your franchise.

V FuL
V FuL

Authur, My Arthur you have finally seen the light. Pioli made TD and whose better to turn the Falcons personnel department around, The man who worked with Belichick to build the Patriots.

This move plus the last few years of draft picks, shows that TD was over his head.

inoto20
inoto20

" with his Dimitrioff"?

Wow nice grammar. Can you even proofread or edit? Or are you just stupid and lazy?

inoto20
inoto20

Let's do away with punts and kickoffs says the brilliant jeff schultz! 

That way we have no more onside kicks or any chance of a miracle comeback or fake punts!

Brilliant! We got ourselves a wise sportswriter in this city!

Caius
Caius

The number of people who claim the ability to read Arthur Blank's mind is astounding.


slydawg
slydawg

Pioli, at this point in his career is nobody's Asst. GM. The title of 'consultant' would have made things too obvious and put too much public pressure on Dimitroff. But this is pressure enough: Gm in place(Pioli), Coach in place(Tice).

332-206
332-206

Seems to show neither guy is controlled by ego.

slydawg
slydawg

"I’m certain his friendship with his Dimitroff has a lot to do with it."


How cute and loving, JS, but you know better. Mr. Blank made this hire and created that title in order to give Pioli more "official" status. The Falcons, in effect, have 3 GM-type personalities in the front office. Mr. Blank wants to win and win now. The Falcons could have simply beefed up their personnel department with younger, more recently successful staff, but this reeks of "Pioli answers to me."

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

Also what it does for Mr. Blank is, if things don't workout for Mike Smith, he can let Dimitroff and Mike Smith go at the same time. While already knowing that he has a GM already in place.

seminoleking
seminoleking

blank has a thing against firing his general managers. its obvious that pioli should be the general manager and dimitroff shown the door..............

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

This is interesting! I don't know Dled but could this possibly be some heat under TD seat to say we have someone in line waiting if you don't get it right this year?

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

This is a HUGH misteak. Fist of all Dummutroff and Piloli R good freinds and will do nuttin but cover each oteher. This will just make the Flacons more worst then B 4. We need sum 1 who can scar Dummytroff so he will stop makin dum misteaks in the draft

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Very deep Ted. Let me think on that one for a while...

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

None of these goofballs ever get shown the door.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Agreed - considering Arthur is known mostly as a good old - fashioned jock sniffer, this is a pretty good hire!

Farcas
Farcas

Gee, you are a GD genius Gump! The move helps them to point them in the right direction. Now they have to get the right players. Fool!

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

@RBI I agree. We have an RB who has played about 10 snaps over at least three years. This year he had three long runs in the approximately five carries he got. What's up with that?

seminoleking
seminoleking

@slydawg again, i agree. its like when blank made mckay team president. he essentially has moved dimitroff over, while letting him retain the title of general manager....

seminoleking
seminoleking

@DarlaLewis exactly.........i wouldnt be shocked to see dimitroff AND mckay leave and bounce to tampa bay..........

notPlanB
notPlanB

@semi - I hope they do go.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@FalconUGAFan@Joe-T


Co-sign on your post FalconUGAFan............plus he wears white sheets and pointy hats..............