Klein makes case for Dimitroff to stay

091415 ATLANTA: Falcons owner Arthur Blank and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff look on as the Falcons prepare to play the Eagles on Monday Night Football on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Combined ShapeCaption
091415 ATLANTA: Falcons owner Arthur Blank and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff look on as the Falcons prepare to play the Eagles on Monday Night Football on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has come under fire in recent weeks for the current state of the franchise, which rose to Super Bowl contender status and then dropped off drastically over the past three seasons.

The quick descent from the 2012 NFC championship to last place (4-12) the following season followed by a 6-10 campaign led to the dismissal of the franchise’s winningest coach in Mike Smith.

The Falcons, under first-year coach Dan Quinn, are currently 7-7 and have a 1.4 percent chance of making the playoffs. Quinn was given control of the final roster and reports directly to owner Arthur Blank.

Dimitroff has drawn some support from Channel 2  sports director Zach Klein in the form of an open letter to Blank.

Below is Klein’s letter stating the case for Dimitroff. In recent weeks, Mark Bradley and Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution have laid out cases for his dismissal.

Here's Bradley's  "Major Falcons changes are surely coming."

Here's Cunningham's  "Now we know: Falcons lack talent" column of Dec. 16.

Here’s Klein’s open letter:

“Dear Arthur,

Bring Thomas Dimitroff back next year.

The 5-0 start was a fluke. Six straight losses was a fluke.

They are a .500 team and nearly everyone at the beginning of the year thought so. ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight.com, one of the most respected number crunching sites around, predicted you’d win 7 or 8 games and your point differential would be -9. You will do exactly that, but they are way off on their point differential. Currently you are -10.

We are in the 16th week of the NFL season and your team still has a chance at making the playoffs. Now, I know the chances are as good as you asking me to tee it up next year at Augusta National, but there is a chance, right?

Thomas does not make unilateral decisions and I know you are well aware many of your picks and signings were wanted by previous coaches who had different schemes and philosophies.

Mike Smith and Mike Nolan wanted a 3-4 defense and were adamant about getting Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson.

Nolan loved Soliai when he was the DC with the Dolphins and at 6-4, 345-pounds, thought he’d be a perfect plug in a 3-4 defense.

Tyson Jackson was the 3rd overall pick by the Chiefs back in 2009 when they ran a 3-4 “D” and like Soliai, he is there to close holes. Neither are 10-sack guys, neither have speed, but that is now what Q and his DC Richard Smith want. Everything this coaching believes in is based on speed, not size.

If Georgia Tech were to switch from the triple-option to a spread offense in one summer, do they have the players to run that type of system? No, it would take time.

General Managers are like quarterbacks. They get all the credit or all the blame and I know people want to rip Thomas for the fact the entire 2010 draft class is off the roster and the 2012 class is entirely out of the NFL. I get it, but how quickly those same people forget Thomas also:

*Found the NFL’s touchdown rushing leader (Devonta) in the 4th round – (He’s 82-yards out of the top-4 rushers in the league those 4 were drafted in the 1st, 1st, 1st and 1st)

*Signed a potential Pro Bowl fullback in Patrick DiMarco for a $75,000 signing bonus

*Gave undrafted linebacker Paul Worrilow a chance in 2013 and all he’s done since then is rank 4th in the NFL in total tackles.

*Use a 6th round pick for one of the top-2 punters in the game in Bosher.

*Moved up to get arguably the most dangerous wide receiver in the game in Julio. With 26 catches over the final two games of the season, he’ll set a NFL record for most receptions in a single season. He’s 26 years old.

Does this team have holes? Of course, but they also have a solid base and players to work with.

Jake Mathews is healthy and able to practice. Desmond Trufant is turning into a top-5 cornerback.

Matt Ryan is about to have his 5th straight, 4,000-yard passing season. He’ll do it again next year and tie some guy you’ve heard of, Peyton Manning, for the second most 4,000-yard consecutive seasons in NFL history.

We’ve spoken about Freeman and Julio and let’s not forget Vic Beasley has played his entire rookie season with one arm.

You made a great hire with Dan Quinn and everyone I talk to says he and TD work very, very well together. Let them work together for another year and bring in players who will fit in Q’s system.

If you wanted to get rid of TD, you would have done it last year when you let Smitty go.

Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy/healthy 2016.



PS: My calendar is free in April if you need a 4th at Augusta.”