Falcons owner Arthur Blank celebrated this upset of the Carolina Pathers in December with quarterback Matt Ryan but otherwise was disappointed in the team’s 8-8 season in 2015. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Arthur Blank: Falcons will be playoff team in 2016

The Falcons have missed the playoffs three straight seasons and the 2015 season was one of the most “stressful” of all for owner Arthur Blank. He watched his team start 6-1, then spiral to an 8-8 finish.

But Blank believes the Falcons will return to the postseason in 2016, despite the backdrop of a difficult schedule and a mixed reaction from some of their fans and media members to draft decisions and offseason personnel decisions.

When asked if he believed the Falcons will be a playoff team in 2016, Blank said, “Yes, I do, because of the added talent and knowing the existing roster’s players, and them knowing the schemes better. I think that will be evidenced on both sides of the ball. So my view is, yes, we will have a better team next year and we definitely should have a competitive team in the playoffs.”

His comments came during a 30-minute interview Blank gave to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The owner, who is 73 and will be married in June, spoke about his health (he recently came through successful cancer surgery) and his new perspective on life, as well as his football team.

Blank reaffirmed that he has taken a step back in most of his businesses but acknowledged he remains active with the Falcons, as both coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff report to him.

Asked if his playoff projections could be taken as a mandate for his Quinn and Dimitroff, Blank said, “I wouldn’t use that word. I’m optimistic and hopeful that would be the case, but I wouldn’t say there’s a mandate. The flip side of that answer has connotations to it that I’m not comfortable with.

“We expect to see progression in every way. We expect progression from our coaches and our players, and as a result of progression we expect to see a better result. I feel like the roster is better. I feel like the players on both sides of the ball understand more specifically what coach Quinn wants and they’ll have a better understanding of the concepts and the execution.”

For more comments from Blank on a variety of topics, go to the full Q-and-A on MyAJC.com.

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