Falcons owner preaches patience with GM, coach


General manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn will keep their jobs with Atlanta Falcons, despite the team missing out on the NFL playoffs following a dire run in the second half of the season.

The Falcons lost seven of their last nine games to finish with a disappointing 8-8 record, but owner Arthur Blank issued a press release on Friday preaching confidence in Dimitroff and Quinn.

"My commitment to our fans is to put the best possible product on the field each year. No one is satisfied with an 8-8 record, but I am very pleased with the direction of our team under the leadership of Dan Quinn and confident in his long-term approach," wrote Blank.

"No question, we took some positive steps forward this year and have a good foundation our existing coaching staff can build upon.

"Over the last week, we have conducted an exhaustive review of every area of our team. Through this process it has become very clear to me that coach Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff have built a productive working relationship over the last 11 months.

"There is very good alignment between Dan and Thomas on the direction we need to go to improve our team and I believe maintaining the continuity of that relationship, with Scott Pioli continuing to assist Thomas, is the right way forward."

The Falcons have one playoff win in five appearances since Dimitroff became GM in 2008.

When Quinn was hired in the last off season, Blank gave him control over the 53-man roster, with Pioli given more responsibilities regarding the draft.

The Falcons jumped out to a 6-1 start, staying within a game of the NFC South rival Carolina Panthers nearing the midpoint of the season, but Atlanta's struggles down the stretch led many to think Dimitroff's job might be in jeopardy this winter.

Instead, the Falcons will make wholesale changes in their pro personnel and college scouting departments to help the front office better reflect Quinn and Dimitroff's "shared vision" for the team's future, Blank said.

The unwritten side of Friday's extraordinary vote-of-confidence press release: Another season like this one likely will come with a different sort of announcement.