Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

On Dimitroff, Falcons’ draft board and Umenyiora

  • 3:32 pm Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff knows owner Arthur Blank demands success. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

I spent some time earlier in the week with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. The column, which can be viewed online now at MyAJC.com and is in print in Sunday’s newspaper, mostly focuses on how quickly Dimitroff lost the benefit of the doubt with many in the public after the team went from a perceived Super Bowl contender to finishing 4-12 last year.

Dimitroff has made several changes to his personnel staff and the Mike Smith’s coaching staff. He has issued a strong message to everybody in the team’s Flowery Branch complex: “OK. We’re 4-12. Adapt and deal with it.”

I [More]

Falcons’ forecast: sign guard, draft pass rusher

  • 11:35 am Monday, February 24th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Jadeveon Clowney not surprisingly wowed scouts at NFL combine running a 4.47 40-yard dash. (AP photo)

There is growing speculation about what direction the Falcons will go in the first round of the NFL draft, in part because the scouting combine is going on in Indianapolis and several media members are spasming on Twitter over Jadeveon Clowney’s 40 time. (OMG! He’s fast! Who knew?)

The problem with speculating now is the Falcons, like most teams, can’t be certain of anything in the draft until they get through free agency – which, as a reminder, happens first.

Teams can be begin negotiating with impending unrestricted free agents on March 8. The market officially opens March 11. Obviously if the [More]

Dimitroff concerned about player’s ‘skill set,’ not sexuality

  • 10:32 am Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Thomas Dimitroff said he and coach Mike Smith wouldn't downgrade a player for his sexual orientation. (AP photo)

It’s common for there to be disagreement on where and when an NFL prospect will be drafted, so Missouri defensive end Michael Sam being projected to go anywhere from the third to fifth round to possibly not even taken isn’t unusual. But the fact an online sports book has posted an over/under on Sam’s draft spot – 125½ — should indicate he is not your typical mid-round prospect.

Sam is homosexual. It would be naive to believe there aren’t any gay players in the NFL. But no current player has gone public and Sam is the first athlete to go public [More]

Should Falcons trade up for Clowney? (Yes)

  • 4:13 pm Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

I just finished a column (posted soon on MyAJC.com) on my three-point plan to fix the Falcons. Actually, it’s not so much a three-point plan as it is three questions about the team going into this offseason’s intended repair job by general manager Thomas Dimitroff and his staff.

Here’s a link to the full column (subscription).

I’ll share the beginning with you: It focuses on Jadeveon Clowney.

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Most of you know what the defensive end brings to the table, having watched him the last three years at South Carolina. There are two concerns related to Clowney and [More]