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Frustration and Hope Reign


1. There is no timetable set on filling the open positions at offensive and defensive coordinator.

News came late Tuesday that offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey had been hired as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, leaving two positions for Mike Smith to fill during the offseason with defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder also leaving the organization, to be the defensive coordinator at Auburn. Smith and Arthur Blank addressed the issue by saying that there's no timetable set right now to have those positions filled. Smith did, however, say that he's begun the process of looking at possible candidates and will bring them in as soon as possible and added that

2. The level of frustration predicts change

The Falcons will certainly be facing a healthy level of change with VanGorder and Mularkey accepting other positions elsewhere, but Blank made a few comments that suggest there will be more change in the future. Blank said his frustration level dictates a much more intense offseason and that the current situations the Falcons find themselves in isn't a fun one and he wants to make things more fun. Later, Dimitroff commented about potential roster changes and said there would be no sacred cows on the team, meaning there's no one player who's more important to keep than any other. Blank added that there may, however, be a few "sacrificial cows."

3. There is no shortage of confidence in the current staff to right the issues

Blank said several times throughout the conference that he had "tremendous confidence" in Dimitroff and Smith. With Smith saying earlier this week that the team would undergo a "deep diagnostic" look at every phase and level, Blank said Wednesday that he has the confidence that Smith and Dimitroff will ask the tough questions they need to ask of themselves, of each other and the rest of the organizations. Blank says the two have a unique advantage and opportunity with brining in two new coordinators.

4. There's work to be done with the Falcons' free agents

Dimitroff said that he has 17 free agents on the Falcons roster that he has to concern himself with right now. Dimitroff, who joined the organization in 2008, is now faced with making decisions on several crucial members of his first draft class, including LB Curtis Lofton. Dimitroff said: "We'd like to bring back who we think are our core players right now, and that's going to be difficult. Realistically, there's probably eight (that could return)."

5. Smith names his MVPs of the 2011 season

Smith was asked if he could provide some names for the team's most valuable player from the 2011 season in all three phases, and Smitty answered without hesitation. On offense, Matt Ryan stood out to Smith as someone who took huge steps forward and led the Falcons' offense to a new level. On defense, second-year LB Sean Weatherspoon, who finished near the top of the league in total tackles in 2011, was Smith's choice. On special teams, Smith mentioned Eric Weems and Matt Bryant as special players last season, but went on to rave about rookie punter Matt Bosher.

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