The offseason priority for the Falcons was clear, when owner Arthur Blank said his team needed to get tougher, and they fired both line coaches.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff confirmed as much, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that emphasis would be obvious by the moves he made this offseason.
“There is no mystery here,” Dimitroff said. “We know that need to continue to build along our fronts. We need to continue to focus on getting more gritty and more rugged in certain areas. That’s going to be important for us coming into the season as 2014 Falcons to make sure that we all know that this is a warrior game. We have to come to the line of scrimmage with that mentality.
“Mike Smith is a heck of a football coach and we’ve added two tough football coaches along both offensive and defensive lines. Now, we need to continue to look at personnel that is going to fit into our system.”
That toughness they’re looking for also applies to the locker room.
“I believe that we have some tough guys on this team,” he said. “I believe that we have some guys, who have a lot of perseverance. There were a number of things that played into our 4-12 season. Along with that, we as an organization realize that we need to ramp up our ruggedness, not only the field, but off the field as well as far as in the locker room and continuing to add players who are already, in my mind, a tough element of roster and they will hold each other accountable. That’s very important.”
The Falcons have an impressive collection of skill position talent, and don’t have to worry about answering a quarterback question for years to come. So putting some meat on those bones could quickly get them back to contention.