During a game last season, Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro was flagged for a cheap shot on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Falcons owner Arthur Blank is still mad about that — and not just at Vaccaro.
Blank told 680 The Fan that he was angered that none of Ryan’s teammates stepped in to say anything to Vaccaro about it, and that the Falcons need to be tougher than they showed.
“And that play really bothered me, sincerely,” Blank said, via ESPN.com. “It bothered me that none of our players, they all complained, but none of them went to the safety on the Saints and did anything. Not that they would start a fight, but just kind of put their finger in his chest and saying, ‘That’s not acceptable.'”
Blank said that play has been a focal point of offseason discussions with G.M. Thomas Dimitroff and the Falcons’ new assistant G.M., Scott Pioli. Blank said there’s widespread agreement that the team needs to get tougher.
“Scott said, when he was talking at dinner one night with Thomas, he said that really bothered him when he watched that game,” Blank said. “That told him a lot about the mentality of a lot of our players. And I think with [offensive line coach] Mike Tice, and [defensive line coach] Bryan Cox and Smitty [head coach Mike Smith] supporting that, I think you’ll see a different attitude this year.”
So let this be a public service announcement for everyone who faces the Falcons this year: No free shots on Matt Ryan.