It’s been a good year for Guelph’s Thomas Dimitroff Jr.

Thomas Dimitroff Jr. was inducted into the City of Guelph’s Sport Hall of Fame back in June.

Dimitroff then received a 3-yr contract extension from NFL Falcons in November.

Dimitroff’s Falcons finished the 2016 season with a 11-5 record and have advanced to the NFC Championship game.

That is all in sharp contrast to two years ago when there was talk about Thomas Dimitroff being on the proverbial hot-seat as General Manager of the Atlanta Falcons. Even last year there was talk that he may be made a sacrificial lamb to appease the fan base.

That was a long way from the NFL Executive of the Year awards in 2008 and 2010. From my perspective things went off the track as the Falcons became more successful and head coach Mike Smith became more powerful. Smith exerted an influence over choices in the NFL draft that he hadn’t had in the early years. The Falcons selected draft picks that reflected Smith’s stated “needs” and preferences, and not necessarily the best choices in the view of Dimitroff.quinn-dimitroff

With the arrival of Dan Quinn as head coach in 2015, Dimitroff now has a more like-minded partner in these decisions. The Competitiveness-Toughness Scale is the product of that and the 2016 roster and results reflect it.

Anyways, all of that is just prologue – i.e. my personal introduction – to the following article from  NBC Sports’ ProFootballTalk – Falcons have focused on trying to limit the “soft souls” on roster

When the Falcons had a run of success under then-coach Mike Smith early in quarterback Matt Ryan’s career, one of the knocks on the team was that they weren’t tough enough to navigate a path to a championship.

Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff didn’t disagree with that critique and felt the team was “getting away from what we believed was at the very core a good football team.” They started to investigate ways to strengthen that part of the club before parting ways with Smith and came up with a grade for competitiveness and toughness to use as part of their player evaluations.

It’s something that has continued under coach Dan Quinn and Dimitroff says the team is focused on not selling themselves on players who didn’t score highly in those areas.

“We all can be swayed, and that has happened to us,” Dimitroff said to Albert Breer of “Basically, we’re trying to limit the soft souls on our football team. We figured this was a way to do that. You can have players that come in that are really good, but if they don’t possess competitiveness and toughness, then we’re not playing the urgent type of football that we need to be playing. That’s where we were.”

A win on Sunday against the Packers would move the Falcons even further away from those teams that fell short when Smith was on the sideline and reinforce that the path they’ve chosen is the right one to lead to continued success on the field.

Good luck to the Falcons in the NFC Championship on Sunday. It’s just a shame that Mike Smith insisted on drafting Ole Miss DT Peria Jerry instead of Clay Matthews III back in 2009. Now Matthews will face the Falcons as a Green Bay Packer.

Falcons logo

I do feel good about the fact the Falcons are getting better value for the picks by drafting defensive linemen from Clemson. Fifth round pick Grady Jarrett has been far more productive than Jerry ever was. Meanwhile, Jarrett’s Clemson teammate Vic Beasley is an All Pro for the Falcons in just his second season.

Clemson tiger paw logo

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