Arthur Blank disappointed with Falcons postseason record

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ATLANTA — Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Wednes­day he is disappointed the team is “not where we need to be,” but he said turnover on the coaching staff might help.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff (from left), owner and chairman Arthur Blank and head coach Mike Smith held a news conference Wednesday to access the team's 10-7 season.  CURTIS COMPTON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff (from left), owner and chairman Arthur Blank and head coach Mike Smith held a news conference Wednesday to access the team's 10-7 season.

After a 10-6 regular season, Atlanta lost at the New York Giants on Sunday, 24-2. The lopsided loss left the Falcons 0-3 in the playoffs in four seasons with general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith.

Since the loss, the Falcons have lost both coordinators. Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder left to head Auburn’s defense, and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey was hired as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ coach.

Blank said the team didn’t want to lose VanGorder and Mularkey.

The owner said Dimitroff and Smith should be “excited about bringing in some folks that will be able to give us maybe some new perspective, not only on scheme questions but on player issues they may have as well.”

The Falcons’ offense was led by quarterback Matt Ryan, who set a team record with 4,177 yards passing, running back Michael Turner, who finished third in the league with 1,340 yards rushing, and receiver Roddy White, who finished second in the league with 100 catches.

Ryan, Turner, White and the offense was shut out by the Giants as Atlanta’s only points came on a safety.

“I would say in 2011 we took a step back instead of forward,” Blank said. “That doesn’t mean we haven’t taken a lot of steps forward in the last four years. We have, but that being said, we’re not where we need to be.

“We have not performed well during the postseason. We have not been competitive at that time. I know there’s a tremendous amount of disappointment with our fans, our sponsors and everybody connected with the organization.”

Smith and Dimitroff joined Blank in the news conference at the owner’s offices.

“One of the reasons we feel necessary to talk with you today, we wanted to share with you our own disappointment,” Blank said.

Blank said he remains confident in Smith and Dimitroff, who have brought four consecutive winning seasons to a franchise which had never before managed to deliver two winning records in a row.

“I still feel blessed and I have great confidence, as great confidence as I’ve ever had, because of the intellectual honesty both of these gentlemen have,” Blank said. “They’re not defensive by nature. They don’t need me to flog them. They’ve done plenty of flogging to themselves.

“They are self-critical, they will be honest in their evaluations of their own performance, of the coaches’ performance and the personnel department’s performance and the decisions we’ve made. They will do anything and everything they can in their power to move us to the next level, and I have complete faith and confidence in their abilities to do so.”

Blank said the input from new coordinators should help.

“Sometimes after a long period of time with a player, or an organization or a scheme, you tend to fall in love with them,” he said. “Sometimes it’s healthy to have somebody from the outside look at it as well and confirm your thinking or maybe ask some questions you were not asking. I think that will be healthy for us this year.”

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