1. Evaluations Still Ongoing: The first thing the new regime in Flowery Branch began when Dan Quinn was hired as head coach was begin to evaluate the roster as it stands. Falcons general manager, speaking to the media for the first time this offseason at the Combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday, said the front office and coaching staff are still "firmly entrenched" in that process.
"We're focused on going through our entire roster and then juxtaposing with the draft class and the free agency class," Dimitroff said. "We have not made any concrete decisions as of yet as far as our releases. After we get through this process here at the Combine and get back to Atlanta, we'll have a much clearer idea of what we're going to do with our current free agency class as well as the roster as it's currently in place."
2. Scheme Influences Scouting: When a new head coach with a new scheme and a new philosophy comes in, scouts can sometimes throw the notebook out on players they evaluated during the college football season. Quinn's arrival and an overall change in coaching staff means that Dimitroff and his scouting staff have had to change the way they look at draft-eligible players.
Quinn's staff and Dimitroff's staff have met often this offseason to get on the same page on the types of things each side values in football players and come to an understanding of how exactly they evaluate what's in front of them. It's an exciting process, Dimitroff said, that both sides have attacked with vigor and enthusiasm.
"We want to make sure we're not out there just picking the best athlete or the best so-called football player, but if they don't fit into this defense or this offense, we may not be getting the most out of our talent that we're going after," Dimitroff said. "You can imagine the energy in that room, too, right? You get the scouts in there who are just hanging off the edge of their seats, trying to figure out what the next step is as far as acquiring talent, and then you have a new coaching staff who's obviously armed with a lot of enthusiasm and passion. It's been fun watching how they're really working together."
3. Free Agency Primer: While at the Combine, teams can begin to get a sense of what soon-to-be unrestricted free agents on the Falcons roster are thinking by starting the groundwork with agents. Dimitroff said the Falcons have met with a few agents who represent current Falcons, but the evaluation process is still ongoing, as mentioned, and no moves will be made until needs are identified.
"As you can imagine, when you have a new coaching staff, and with schemes changing, it really opens up for some really interesting conversation about the direction of and the style of football players that we're going to have on this team in Atlanta," Dimitroff said.
4. Need vs. Talent: The Falcons are in a prime position at the No. 8 overall selection to draft not only for talent but to satisfy a need, as well. The 2015 draft class is being touted as pass-rusher-rich, and with plenty of options available in the top part of the first round, the Falcons could be checking off some major boxes with whoever they select with their first pick.
"We're really excited about the potential for picks at the eighth overall pick. That's a great situation for us," Dimitroff said. "I think it gives us an opportunity to pick at a number of positions. As we've said, and as I've said in the past, we have some holes in the roster but we also have some very good football players and we have a number of the pillar positions in tact right now that we are excited about building around."
5. Quinn Has Final Say: Dimitroff re-iterated Thursday what Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank said when introducing Quinn: The head coach has the final say on the roster.
"If there's a disagreement in the end on the 53 (man roster), there's no question about it, that is under the head coaching responsibility. It's up to him to make the decision in the very end if we are at loggerheads," Dimitroff said. "Both he and I have talked about this at length, and what we both believe, if we completely at a disagreement, wherever it may be, and if we can't convince each other in the following days and meetings, then normally you might want to move away from that player if it's a personnel matter.
"If we can't and there's a disagreement on it and Dan sees fit that it is best for the scheme and the organization and for building the football team, that comes down to the head coaches decision."