Falcons owner says he supports team, won't speculate on changes
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he supports the coaches and players and won't speculate on any potential changes if the season continues to be disappointing.
The Falcons are off to a 2-3 start one year after going 4-12, which was the team's worst record since 2007. In the three losses, Atlanta has been outscored by an average of just over 12 points.
Blank didn't address a question about whether there would be firings if this year became another "failed season" and said he doesn't go into seasons with a goal or mandate of a specific number of wins in mind.
In response to a question asking if "jobs are on the line," Blank said the following:
“I would say to you, and I mean it sincerely: I have confidence in the coaching staff and the GM and the players. I’m not speculating during the season about what might happen after the season. That’s not compatible with doing what I should be expected to do.”
The owner later added that "there's no reason to believe" the Falcons can't be a playoff team this year.
Blank has changed coaches and management after brief tenures in his time as the Falcons' owner since he assumed control of the team in 2002.
He fired head coach Dan Reeves in 2003 just one year after Reeves led the team to an upset playoff win on the road against the Green Bay Packers. Reeves had also taken Atlanta to the Super Bowl in 1998.
In 2008, Blank removed Rich McKay from his general manager role after five years and fired head coach Jim Mora Jr. after three seasons in 2006.
Current head coach Mike Smith has been in charge of the team since 2008, leading the Falcons to a 62-39 record and four playoff appearances, including the NFC Championship Game in 2012.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff has also been with the Falcons since 2008.
Atlanta, which has lost two straight games, hosts the Chicago Bears this Sunday in Week 6.
- Ben Estes