Name a 3rd or 4th round pick from last year's draft that would have had the immediate impact that Julio Jones had. Name one that would demand double coverage on a consistent basis...
His name is Denarius Moore and Julio doesn't consistently demand double coverage.
I think the Julio Jones trade was necessary. Sure, TD may have missed on a Victor Cruz or two, but look what it did for Ryan's numbers in a sub-par offensive scheme.
This is where I vehemently disagree. I believe the Falcons could have upgraded their offense without giving up what they did for Julio Jones. Ryan improved from 2010 to 2011, but how much of that is due to the natural progression of a QB from Year 3 to Year 4. If Julio was so crucial to Ryan's growth, then how come his completion rate and YPA were the same regardless of whether Julio was in the lineup last year. And the improvements this year? HOw do we know that is primarily due to Julio? Isn't everybody convinced that the improvement from Ryan this year is due to Dirk Koetter.
Not many teams can say they have the offensive weapons we have.
People say that a lot, but I don't think it's true. Are the Falcons significantly more talented at the skill positions than teams like the Eagles, Cowboys, Texans, Bears, or Chiefs? I don't think so. And since it's not fantasy football, it's not about who has the most talented offensive weapons. If it was, then the Cowboys would have been reigning supreme over the league over the past 5 years.
But i don't think he gets as much credit as he deserves sometimes. I mean, look at the Sam Baker decision.
Yep, due to TD's patience, we were rewarded with the 20th best left tackle in the NFL this year.
Given the circumstances, what other options did he have beyond Ray Edwards and Dunta Robinson?
But what you're not considering is that those circumstances were because of this team's poor drafting of corners and pass rushers prior to those two coming here. Cornerback and edge pass rusher are two cornerstone positions, and like the other two cornerstone positions (QB & LT), the odds of successfully finding talent at those spots drops significantly once you get out of the 2nd round. Did the Falcons use any 1st/2nd round picks on CBs & DEs during TD's tenure? No. So it's no wonder that they were backed into a corner and forced to overpay for above average FA talent.
And Spoon was a great first round choice apparently. I mean, cut the guy some slack.
Yep, Spoon was a great 1st round choice. But how much slack should I cut a guy just because he hits on a Top 20 pick? Should I cut slack for other teams/GMs because they managed to find players like Jeremy Maclin, Maurkice Pouncey, Aqib Talib, Leon Hall, Joe Flacco, Mike Iupati around the same point in the draft? If you have a Top 20 pick, you should be able to find a player of Spoon or those other players' caliber in 75% if not more of your drafts. Because that's what a good drafter would do.
The proof will be in the pudding, I guess, over the next few years if the "lost" draft of 2011 bites us.
Yeah, and the problem is going to be most people will say 2011 didn't bite us because we'll continue to see winning seasons and playoff appearances. And like I said, if that is your measuring stick/litmus test, then TD is excellent at his job.
But for me, that isn't the measuring stick. When he first got here, that's what it was. But after a certain point, you have to do more, and I think following the 2010 season that was that point for TD. Just like with Andy Reid in Philly, there's going to be a point where being consistently good but rarely great just isn't going to cut it.
And I think TD missed a golden opportunity over the past 2 off-seasons to really improve the team.
I'm not saying that the Falcons have to win a Super Bowl every year. I'm willing to be patient if I think the team is on the right path and making strides. But I'm not sure they are. Or rather, I think they might have had an opportunity to take 5 steps forward, but they only wound up taking 2 steps.
There is certainly pressure coming from Arthur Blank. He's trying to build a new stadium, and a bright shiny Lombardi Trophy certainly is the best way to do that. But that doesn't mean you have to go "all in" and abandon "The Process" to get there.
We all know that teams that draft well correlate very highly with winning at the highest levels, and teams that focus on free agency correlate poorly.
I'll tell you the story of the New York GIants. They won the SUper Bowl in 2007 basically with overachieving as a 9-7 wildcard. They wanted to get back to the mountaintop in 2008, and were a better team but didn't with a 12-4 record. So in 2009, they went out and bought a new front seven with big money moves to get Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard, and Michael Boley. Did that work out for them? No. In 2009, they regressed to being 8-8. But skip ahead to 2011, and they once again overachieved to become Super Bowl champs.
How did that happen? Some people might see the spending of 2009 and see guys like Canty & Boley being key contributors on that 2011 team as a success. But they weren't in fact. The success that was the 2011 team/season was largely due to good drafting done since '07, with picks like Nicks, JPP, Linval Joseph (who replaced Bernard as a starter), Manningham, and some UDFA by the name Cruz that really was what eventually pushed them over the top.
The "all in" strategy doesn't work. It never has in the modern league that has been created in the mid-90s with expansion teams and free agency. And if there are a few examples, they are heavily outweighed by the examples of teams that win because they drafted and developed talented. It's basically like TD adopted a strategy that works 10% of the time, when there was a tried and true one that works the other 90% of the time.
Arthur Blank didn't force TD's hand to adopt the strategy that he did. Thus that responsibility is 100% on Thomas Dimitroff.