In 2012 and 2013, Falcons G.M. Thomas Dimitroff had to rebound from the departures of director of player personnel Les Snead to the Rams and his successor, Dave Caldwell, to the Jaguars.
This year, Dimitroff has gotten much better news.
Director of player personnel Lionel Vital is remaining with the team after drawing interest from the Bucs, and former Chiefs G.M. and Patriots V.P. of player personnel Scott Pioli is joining the front office as assistant General Manager.
The Falcons announced moments ago the hiring of Pioli, who spent the 2013 season with NBC and SiriusXM NFL Radio. Pioli and Dimitroff worked together in New England, with Dimitroff serving as director of college scouting.
After helping coach Bill Belichick build a roster that won three Super Bowls in four seasons, Pioli became G.M. of the Chiefs in 2009. A playoff appearance in his second season created hope for the future, but a couple of bad seasons resulted in a total house cleaning after 2012.
Still, Pioli left behind a strong nucleus of talented players, to which new coach Andy Reid and new G.M. John Dorsey didn’t need to add much to become a playoff team again.
The Falcons need a similar turnaround in 2014, after unexpectedly hitting a pothole in 2013 and plunging from 13-3 to 4-12. Pioli will be charged with the task of helping Dimitroff use free agency and the draft to address weaknesses on both the offensive line, defensive line, and elsewhere.
But the Falcons have a franchise quarterback and plenty of other talented players. With Dimitroff, Pioli, and Vital, they should be in good position to find the talent that will help the team recover from its first non-winning season since 2007.