The Falcons announced the hiring of Lionel Vital as the team’s new assistant director of player personnel. Vital was among candidates the Falcons interviewed following the draft to beef up their front office. Last week the Falcons hired former Indianapolis Colts scout David Caldwell as the team’s new director of college scouting.
Vital has previous working experience with Dimitroff, having spent a few years working closely together with each other in the New England Patriots organization. Vital’s exact responsibilities in his new role with the Falcons has yet to be specified.
The Falcons announced the hiring of David Caldwell as the team’s new director of college scouting.
Caldwell recently served as western regional scout for the Indianapolis Colts since 2006. The previous eight seasons he was an area scout with the Colts. He also spent two years as a scouting assistant with the Carolina Panthers (1996-97). Caldwell is a graduate of John Carroll University, where he played linebacker.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports that the Denver Broncos have hired Brian Xanders as an assistant GM. Xanders has been a long-time front office employee and assistant coach with the Falcons, joining the team 14 years ago. According to Klis, the Falcons attempted to entice Xanders to stay, but he opted to leave for Denver where he is expected to have an expansion of his duties that he performs in Atlanta. The past few seasons with the Falcons Xanders has functioned as the team’s salary cap manager and chief contract negotiator.
The Falcons are in the process of interviewing candidates to add to their own front office. It’s unknown if any of these prospective hires will take over some or all of Xanders’s former duties, or if the team will promote from within.
The Denver Post reports that Falcons director of football administration Brian Xanders is a candidate for an upper-level personnel position in the Denver Broncos front office. Earlier this off-season, the Broncos fired GM Ted Sundquist. Xanders is a candidate to fill some of the duties in Sundquist’s absence. Xanders is expected to form a sort of “triumvirate” in the Broncos front office along with current execs Jim and Jeff Goodman.
Previously, Xanders was considered for an open position with the Green Bay Packers. Xanders primary responsibilities with the Falcons are as chief contract negotiator and salary cap management. It’s likely he’d have a similar role in Denver.
Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe reports that the Falcons are looking to beef up their personnel department by adding someone into an upper-level position. Reiss reports that Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff is set to interview two current members of the Baltimore Ravens personnel department: Vincent Newsome and Lionel Vital. Vital worked with Dimitroff in New England.
Newsome currently is the Raven Asst. Director of Pro Personnel, a position he’s held since 2003. Prior to that he spent seven years as a scout within the organization. He spent three years as a scout with the Cleveland Browns prior to their move to Baltimore in 1996. He is a former NFL safety, playing for the St. Louis Rams (1983-90) and Cleveland Browns (1991-92). He had 16 interceptions in 141 career games.
Vital, the Ravens national scout, has been in the Ravens organization since 2005. Prior to that he spent four years with the New England Patriots as assistant director of college scouting, working very closely with Dimitroff. In 2000, he was a scout for the Patriots. Prior to that he spent time as a scout with the New York Jets (1997-99), Ravens (1996), Cleveland Browns (1991-95), and Montreal Machine (1990-91) of the Canadian Football League. He played 3 games with the Washington Redskins in 1987 where he had 346 yards and 2 touchdowns.
ProFootballTalk also reports that Dimitroff will also interview Indianapolis Colts scout Dave Caldwell. According to the Colts website, Caldwell is listed as the team’s Western Regional Scout.
The Milwaukee Journal reports that New Orleans Saints VP of Football Administration Russ Ball is expected to be hired soon as the new chief contract negotiator of the Green Bay Packers. This news is only significant to the Falcons because it indicates that Brian Xanders, the team’s director of football administration, will not be picked by the Packers for the same role. Xanders was considered a finalist along with Ball and Samir Suleiman of the St. Louis Rams.
Xanders has been with the Falcons four fourteen seasons and has worked as the team’s chief contract negotiator for the last two. He also served on the coaching staff for five seasons (1997-01) under Dan Reeves, and has worked in football administration, involved with the salary cap and contract negotiations since. The Falcons already lost assistant general manager Billy Devaney earlier this week to the Rams.
In what may be the first of several changes in the Falcons front office in the coming months and/or years, the Steve Wyche of the AJC reports that Falcons assistant GM Billy Devaney has accepted a position with the St. Louis Rams as Executive VP of Player Personnel. With the Falcons hiring of Thomas Dimitroff last month as the team’s new GM, it’s expected that in time Dimitroff will begin to surround himself with people that he is familiar and comfortably working with. However Wyche reports that Devaney was encouraged to stay on with the Falcons and accepted the Rams position because it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Devaney was hired by Falcons in 2006 and was promoted to assistant GM in May 2007. In his new role in St. Louis, Devaney will be the Rams personnel chief in charge of college and pro scouting. It seems to represent an expansion on duties and power from his Falcon job.
The AJC’s Steve Wyche reports that Falcons officials have confirmed that New England Patriots director of college scouting Tom Dimitroff will be their next general manager. The Falcons had gone through several candidates for the open position since the team decided to demote Rich McKay, but ultimately settled on Dimitroff. Now that the teams has hired a general manager, their next major move will be hiring a new head coach. Falcons owner Arthur Blank has indicated in the past that the new GM will have authority to choose the new coach, despite the team’s simultaneous search for both. The Falcons have already interviewed seven candidates, but it is not known whether Dimitroff’s choice will be among those names.
Dimitroff comes from a proven and successful organization. At age 40 he is one of the youngest GMs in the league. Dimitroff joined the Patriots in 2002 and was promoted to college scouting director the following year. Prior to his experience with the Patriots, he worked as a scout for the Cleveland Browns (1998-01), Detroit Lions (1994-97), and Kansas City Chiefs (1993). He also worked in the World League (1992) and Canadian Football Leagues (1990-91) as a personnel assistant. He has been considered an up and coming GM candidate for several years, and now will be given the opportunity to run his own team.
Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that Eagles GM Tom Heckert remains the favorite to land the Falcons GM job according to league sources. Heckert could be named the team’s new GM as soon as this weekend. The Falcons are reportedly in talks with USC head coach Pete Carroll about the possibility of him joining the team in potentially both capacities as coach and GM. But even those reports suggest that something is expected to happen soon.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank has indicated that whomever the team hires as GM will have the power to choose to the team’s next head coach, despite the fact that the team has conducted six separate interviews of prospective coaching candidates in the past week, including one today with Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
Heckert is among five candidates that have formally interviewed for the Falcons GM position, although one in Chris Mara, withdrew his name from consideration this past week.
Domowitch reports that if Heckert is hired as GM, the favorite for being his choice of head coach is New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The Falcons requested permission to interview Spagnuolo, but were denied by the Giants due to their upcoming playoff game this weekend. It was reported that if the Giants were to lose, it was likely that Spagnuolo would be made available to interview.
Domowitch also reports that if Spagnuolo is hired, current Philadelphia Eagles QB coach Pat Shurmur would be a probable choice as the Falcons new offensive coordinator.
ProFootballTalk.com also reports that Patriots college scouting director Tom Dimitroff is also a front-runner as far as Falcons GM candidates go.
Prospective Falcosn general manager candidate Chris Mara withdrew his name from consideration in a statement released by the Giants earlier today:
“I have withdrawn my name from consideration for the position of general manager for the Atlanta Falcons. I want to thank (Falcons owner) Arthur Blank for his interest in me, and we had a very good discussion earlier this week in Atlanta. However, I am no longer a candidate for the position.”
Mara is the second candidate to formally remove his name from consideration. Last week, Chris Polian of the Colts declined to sit for an interview. However, Mara did at least interview for the position, having sat down with the Falcons earlier this week on Tuesday.
ESPN reports that the Falcons may have found a replacement candidate in New Orleans Saints director of college scouting Rick Reiprish. Reiprish, 57, has extensive personnel experience, first joining the Saints in 2004. Prior to that he served five years as the Jacksonville Jaguars director of player personnel after four years as their director of college scouting. Prior to that he worked as a scout with the Seattle Seahawks (1984-94). He also worked with BLESTO (1979-82) and the Kansas City Chiefs (1982-84) as a scout. Prior to that he worked as an assistant coach at North Alabam (1978), Eastern Tennessee (1977), and Austin Peay (1973-76).