Arthur Blank unhappy Falcons organization was graded poorly by NFL players

Falcons owner Arthur Blank watches his team from the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Cardinals on Sunday, January 1, 2023, in Atlanta. 
 Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Falcons owner Arthur Blank watches his team from the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Cardinals on Sunday, January 1, 2023, in Atlanta. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

PHOENIX – Falcons owner Arthur Blank was not pleased with an NFLPA report card released in early March that graded the team.

The NFL Player Team Reports were released during the scouting combine, and the Falcons did well in some areas and not so well in others in a survey of league players.

The report state: “1,300 of our players provided information to share with one another about their current club, to not only help them make important career decisions, but also help raise standards across the league.”

Overall the Falcons ranked in the bottom half of the league, 23rd of 32.

Here’s the breakdown:

*Treatment of families - B (12th)

*Food/Nutrition - C-minus (tied 16th)

*Weight room - C-minus (tied 27th)

*Strength coaches - D-minus (31st)

*Training room - B-minus (tied 12th)

*Training staff - A (tied 9th)

*Locker room - D (tied 25; said to be too small)

*Travel - A-minus (tied 9)

The Falcons offer a family room and daycare. Meals are free. The reported problem with the strength coaches is that only 58% of the players feel like they receive an individualized plan.

“There are some timing restrictions that we had,” Blank said. “I told this to (CEO) Rich (McKay). I told this to (general manager) Terry (Fontenot). I told this to coach (Arthur) Smith. I don’t ever want to appear on that report again in terms of the ranking that we got.”

The Falcons are considering major projects that will help their rankings.

“They have their reasons, there were timing issues,” Blank said. “There are issues from a logistical standpoint of when we could make these improvements, but it is our responsibility as leaders to listen, in this case, to our players.

“If we have a definite groundswell of support or call-out for the training areas, strength areas or the size of the locker room or whatever, we need to listen to that sooner and we need to respond to that sooner. Which I wasn’t thrilled with.”

Blank wants his organization to listen to the players.

“I think it’s their job and it’s part of my job to make sure that we are looking around corners and anticipating,” Blank said. “That’s our job as leaders not to just respond. That’s what a goalie does in hockey or soccer for that matter.

“We are supposed to be, this is a problem, this is an issue and we know it ... it was nothing new that came as a surprise. There are plans to respond to all of it, which is great, but I’d much rather see the response sooner rather than later.”

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