Posted: 5:22 pm Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Dimitroff: Clowney will be difference-maker 

By Jeff Schultz

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff admits the team needs more grit.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff admits the team needs more grit.

NEW YORK  — Falcons general manger Thomas Dimitroff made his annual trip through radio row at the Super Bowl Thursday. When he was finished, Darryl Ledbetter and I had a private audience with him. Darryl will have a full story later on MyAJC.com on some of Dimitroff’s plans this offseason but here are a few comments that stood out to me:

UPDATE: Here’s a copy of the full Q&A, posted by D-Led.

– Ignore speculation that he or any NFL team is down on former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney: “I’ll just say what everybody in the country knows: Jadeveon Clowney is a top notch talent and he’s going to make a team happy and he’s going to be a legitimate difference-maker in this game. The people with the top two picks know that.”

– The obvious suggestion there is that Clowney may go in the first two picks. The Falcons are slated to pick No. 6. Could they trade up? Possible, especially with two former Falcons’ executives now running other teams at No. 2 (Les Snead at St. Louis) and No. 3 (Dave Caldwell at Jacksonville). Dimitroff did not close the door to the possibility of a trade up but it’s doubtful he would part with a lot. Comment: “The top 10 in the 2014 draft is a group of top notch players. So we’re not going to be disappointed if we’re picking in the top 10.”

– Dimitroff had his most candid comments yet on what the Falcons’ lack, particularly along the offensive and defensive lines: “We need to focus on getting more gritty and rugged in certain areas. That’s going to be more important for us. This is a warrior game and we have to come to the line of scrimmage with the proper mentality. … We realize we need to ramp up our ruggedness, not only on the field but off the field, in the locker room.”

– On gaining insight into some players who were forced into significant roles last season, largely because of injuries: “Unfortunately, going 4-12 allows you to experiment with a lot of different personnel groupings, which we never would’ve done if we were a 13-3 team. … We were mindful [of that] going into the fifth or sixth game.”

In other words, the thought process for the 2014 season began very early this season. D-Led will have more later.

Previous blogs, columns from Super Bowl
– MyAJC: Peyton Manning’s legacy secure, win or lose
– Blog: Manning may be No. 1 QB in history now
– Blog: Expect Atlanta to get Super Bowl despite storm
– MyAJC: John Fox goes from heart surgery to Super Bowl (like Reeves)
– Blog: Digi-Blog goes to the Super Bowl!
– MyAJC: Richard Sherman succeeds in changing narrative
– Blog: Seattle made more right decisions than Falcons
– MyAJC: Goodell has put Super Bowl at unnecessary risk
– MyAJC: Falcons’ makeover should start with Clowney
– Blog: Poll: Should Falcons make a run at Clowney?
78 comments
Dasdguy
Dasdguy

Please dont waste trades to acquire 'prima dog' clowney.

notPlanB
notPlanB

According to the value chart to trade from #6 to #2 we would also have to give up our #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 & #7 picks and still give another 4th rounder next year. I'm sure some of the picks would be given next year but they would be higher picks. To move to #3 we would also have to give up a 2nd and 4th pick. To move back to the #10 we would get another #3 and #4. Personally, I think we need to stay right where we are. Remember, we are picking in front of 26 teams in each round.

TheHumidity
TheHumidity

Here is what we should do.  Trade or cut Roddy White and sign proven free agent linemen on both sides of the ball.  Draft Watkins if he is available or move up to get him.  You are set at WR for the next five years.  Roddy White is on the backside of his career.  He may have another good year left in him...but that is far from a sure thing.  We need proven guys on the O line.  I don't trust Dimitroff to make a good call on the draft for someone that step right in and get to work.  I want proven guys in there.  Use the rest of the draft for Defense and hope you hit a homerun on someone.  

Guyon
Guyon

Clomney may be that good, but Ryan won't last through the 2014 season without a substanial upgrade in the offesive line. Dimitroff showed his limited knowledge of the game by not recognising the value of the offensive line. Even Schultz should know that. I wouldn't be surprised if Dimitroff used the first round pick for a wide receiver. He should use the first, second and third pick for offensive linemen. 

TideDawg
TideDawg

Clowney is a "Show Dog" for fans and media. So what if the Falcons sign him. Who is going to admit they wanted him if he turns out to be a slacker. I think Clowney will look for reasons not to play(like Sam Baker). Any one player can be neutralized but not an entire defense. I'd rather see the Falcons get 2 really good players than one alleged superstar like Clowney. No doubt he has the talent....but will he use it or take the money and lay down.

JaySly
JaySly

clowney---takes half the plays off---is not in shape--end of story.

ColdSplash
ColdSplash

Sign Incognito on the Oline immediately. I'd love to see him rant on a few Falcons, starting with this idiot Spikey haired little pencil-necked geek GM. Football is won by the most violent of violent play by violent men. The woose's in charge of this franchise starting with blank, smith and Dimitroff have softened the entire organization. And it shows.

MitchJolly
MitchJolly

The Falcons have been having to completely re-work this team since CMS and TD got here. Truthfully, its been decent coaching that has made them players since then. They had to bring in some talent and then start building depth. They have been in a process. It takes time to build for the long run in the NFL. They have done that and are continuing to grow. The evil genius took time to become the evil genius up on New England. Our guys are getting there. Great things to come. 


I am not sold on Clowney. We need some Wilfork type guys in the middle that can take up two blocks and shut down the middle. Those are available all over the board. Get a OT with that #6. 

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

I think we should trade up for Clowny if we can do so by trading TD to move up. Wow, how astute..."we need to get more gritty....". TD and Smitty traded away all their grit and drafted cream puffs to replace them.

BravoDawg
BravoDawg

Clown man will be the next big bust!  out of shape, takes plays off, poor work ethic & lousy attitude, DONT take him, hopefully he will be gone when Falcons pick, take either Matthews or Robinson for the OL, Matty Ice will thank you!

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Dimitroff must have something on Blank to be able to keep his job

scjacket
scjacket

What makes people think that he is trouble off the field? He has gotten 2 speeding tickets. That is the only trouble he has been in.

jarvis1975
jarvis1975

Dimitroff is nothing if not a good assessor of Defensie Line talent.

TideDawg
TideDawg

After all the hype, all the speculation, and all of the who we should pick, the Falcons are keeping their real thoughts to themselves. Good poker players put out a lot of false signals. I'm not sure Clowney is what they really want. A good quarterback looks left then throws to the right. I think what the Falcons need is deep talent, not just one player that any team can block. Clowney was pretty much neutralized during this past season.

foxdog
foxdog

Matthews or Robinson...that is all.

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

Ill keep sayin it untill Im blew in the face. Flacons need 2 pix Johnny Fottball

23Zone
23Zone

maybe thomas can trade 5 picks to get clowney like he did julio---that worked great!

inoto20
inoto20

Clowney has bust written all over him.  Had one big game in a bowl and everything thinks he's the next reggie white. What a load.

unfairlybannedforlife
unfairlybannedforlife

Yeah, Clowney will make a 4-12 semi-happy team into a 2-14 very unhappy team.

He'll be a changer alright.

Pass on the guy - he's nothing but trouble in pads...and yeah, off the field too.

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

As the insurance t.v. commercial says, "everybody knows that".

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

The proof will be in the pudding this year. Mike Smith and Thomas Dimiroff haven't won but one playoff game in six years. That's why, even with the success they've had It's not enough. I feel they must get to the big dance and soon. Another drop off year should get them fired. NO explanation no excuses.

SOB
SOB

Like most fans, nobody can take this guy seriously, can they? Corporate shill? Absolutely. Look at the record. Look at the facts. Look at Artie the Smartie who actually runs this outfit. Fired Dan Reeves. Brilliant. Hired Jim Mora, Jr. Now coaching college ball where he belongs. Hired Bobby Petrino of all people! Now coaching college ball. Hired Mike Smith. No head coaching experience. Reject from NFL's worst and losingest franchise ever. Might could make a half way decent high school ball coach. It's one loser after another in Losersville, USA!

zuzu331
zuzu331

Far too much laughin and smilin and jokin around on the sidelines by Smith and Company while we lose games over and over due to zero play calling variety and total lack of any halftime adjustments.Then you guys fire the Oline and Dline Coaches.Absolutely Disgusting.Can you say 'Scapegoats' ?


We need someone like Harbaugh,focused,serious. We SUCK and it's not a damn bit funny!

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

TD is the epitome of a business corporate shill, doing nothing but mouthing the current mantra. After what, 6 years, figures out we need stout D and O lines?? Great job. What vision. He keeps making huge personnel and team status assessments and therefore mistakes. Baker contract, Jones trade, jettison the line vets, several free agent and high pick busts, etc. Surprised he is still around.


Incredible really.

ChopChamps95
ChopChamps95

IMO, Anthony Barr would be the best pick for the Falcons by far if he's still on the board at #6.  If not, draft Matthews or Robinson even though OL would be better filled through the FA market.  Clowney may be a good player with a lot of upside, but his poor work ethic is well chronicled and would be a gigantic gamble for TD.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Why even listen to this dimwit after all his draft and free agent whiffs? He and the entire organization are always a few steps behind and should start listening to the fans who saw the line problems during last year's "10 yards from the Super Bowl" season.

Sis-Boom-Bah
Sis-Boom-Bah

@FoSho

Yes Clowney is going to make some teamS happy – the ones who draft after his selection. They will not have a valuable prospect otherwise taken off the board.

Even with Pioli babysitting him, Dimitroff will likely screw up the draft & other roster moves again this year. Picking Clowney would be horrible in itself, but throwing away other draft choices to do so would simply lengthen the Atlanta Falcon’s time at the BOTTOM of the NFC South.

notPlanB
notPlanB

I agree on Incognito. With his troubles, maybe he will take a discount.

notPlanB
notPlanB

Agree with 2nd paragraph but not the first. Every GM will make some good decisions but TD has made some bad ones with high picks or let them get away and has depleted much of what was decent before he got here.

notPlanB
notPlanB

Jarvis - Please splain!!!

zuzu331
zuzu331

@Joe-T Oh Joe-T(for trailerpark),you remind me of Pro 'Rasslin and fights on Jerry Springer...

you keep all us rubes so delightfully stirred up...

DavidDrake
DavidDrake

@inoto20  that is the most ignorant statement. obviously, you didnt follow his career at USC. he was a total nightmare for opposing qb's. clowney this season had to deal with nagging injuries and being doubled/triple blocks. you will see... clowney will be a serious force to be reckoned with. ftr... how many defensive end's you know of can run a 40 in 4.46? yeah...

JSSN
JSSN

@SOB  

 "Reject from NFL's worst and losingest franchise ever."

"Losingest" (ever) would mean the Tampa franchise, the Cardinals, or the Falcons themselves. When you have to win 13 games for 10 straight years to even sniff being a .500 franchise; you can't look down your nose at anybody! Shoot, as bad as Jacksonville has been the last three season; they are only 16 games below .500 (same goes for Carolina)! 

TheRealJay
TheRealJay

@SOB  

You have no freaking idea what you are talking about. TD and MS have brought success to the Falcons like no other management team. I love how snobbish Falcon's fans are. You hadn't won a darn thing before these guys showed up.

jerunamo
jerunamo

1000% agree with you!!!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@WhopperDawg  

Surprised you're surprised. We are talking about an ATL pro sports team, after all--hardly a bastion of excellence over the years.

doolie1
doolie1

@ChopChamps95 Falcons need 4 new O line starters . Blaylock is the only one that could play for other teams that win over 5 games. Hard to do all that in free agency alone..Also need some studs to develop(and they don't include Konz or Holmes who couldn't start for UGA).

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Clowney only runs that fast a 40 when he trying to keep from getting arrested for speeding

RogerHenslee
RogerHenslee

@JSSN @SOB Hell, I love the Falcons and want to be optimistic. But I'm also a realist and you are both SPOT ON!

zuzu331
zuzu331

@TheRealJay @SOB Ohhh...like a Superbowl under Reeves,who was then very classlessly fired...like the NFC Championship,beaten by Dallas on one bad call.

You might wanna factcheck before you Shill...just sayin'.

doolie1
doolie1

@TheRealJay @SOB haven't won a damn thing after they showed up too....Least you forget Dan Reeves got ATL to a super bowl!