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Falcons owner Arthur Blank discusses hope, reality and changes at Annual League Meeting

Arthur Blank explained because of the moves made so far this offseason, national perspective of the organization has shifted ever so slightly into the light. 

ORLANDO, Fla. — Falcons owner Arthur Blank swiftly wrapped up his final interview of the day with SportsCenter in the hallways of the Ritz-Carlton at the Annual League Meeting on Tuesday. He had a flight back to Atlanta to catch, but on the way out, he was asked if he thought -- based on the conversations and interviews he'd had in Orlando, Florida, this week -- national perspective is changing about the Falcons.

His answer was that of the business man he is: You can't count your chickens before they hatch, and you can't win games on hope alone.

"I think the general mood around the team is much more positive," Blank began his answer.

He said there is consistent acknowledgement that the Falcons have put together a good coaching staff around Raheem Morris, that the signing of Kirk Cousins has the potential to be a strikingly beneficial one and that the roster is expanding in a hopeful way.

A "but" feels inevitable. In this case, it's an "also."

"There's also the acknowledgement that you have to play the games," the longtime Falcons owner finished.

Good feelings in the preseason only live long enough to see the reality of the regular season. The Falcons hope the moves they've made this offseason bring forth a positive reality built upon by the hope (and strategy) of an offseason. Blank is likely among the many with this hope.

For what it's worth, he is hopeful. And perhaps that hope lives in the basis of something his new starting quarterback said in his own introductory press conference.

Two weeks ago, when his signing became official, Cousins said there is a certain piece of advice he received a long time ago that he finds to be true years later. For a team to be at its most successful, the owner, general manager, head coach and starting quarterback have to be on the same page. It's an alignment Blank believes is in place in Atlanta with all of those pieces finally put into place with the addition of Morris in January and Cousins in March.

"I think that alignment is critical," Blank said. "... It's true in any business. You want to have your senior executive managers and senior leadership group all aligned about strategy and execution. I think if you don't have that, you spend time and energy doing things that are wasteful."

And the Falcons are not in the position waste time. Three consecutive 7-10 seasons will put you in that mindset. Perhaps it's why the Falcons made the change they did at the head coach position. Perhaps it's why they went after a quarterback who they know exactly what they're getting out of. The Falcons have said -- Blank included -- they have a roster primed and ready to not just be competitive but to win more games than they have in the recent years that brought them here.

The Falcons' reality to this point was bleak, but as Blank stepped out to a waiting car that would take him home, the Orlando sun shone bright. Perhaps it represented a little hope for clear skies and a less bumpy ride to come? Only time will tell. After all, there's still a draft, a training camp and, of course, a season that need to all take place before we know the Falcons' true reality.

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