New Falcons coach Arthur Smith, GM Terry Fontenot vow collaborative effort in constructing roster

Arthur Smith mentioned he’ll name his personal performs as new coach of the Atlanta Falcons. However Smith and new normal supervisor Terry Fontenot each insisted that they may collaborate on deciding the make-up of the Falcons’ roster whereas each reporting to workforce president Wealthy McKay.

Each Smith and Fontenot additionally insisted that it’s miles too quickly to make any definitive statements on the way forward for gamers like Matt Ryan and Julio Jones whereas they have been formally launched to the media Tuesday by Falcons proprietor Arthur Clean.

The Falcons additionally haven’t but introduced any assistant coach hires.

“I can not provide you with any snap judgments right now as a result of we’re nonetheless early on this course of,” mentioned the 38-year-old Smith, who spent the previous 10 seasons working beneath 4 totally different head coaches with the Tennessee Titans — together with the ultimate two as offensive coordinator.

Smith did stress that Ryan “has been a terrific quarterback, and I’ve received all of the respect on this planet for Matt Ryan, and I stay up for working with him.”

Nevertheless, Smith added, “It is greater than Matt and Julio. There’s numerous gifted gamers on this roster, whether or not you are speaking about Chris Lindstrom, Grady Jarrett … I imply, there’s so many gamers.”

Smith additionally made it clear that he’ll construct across the strengths of the gamers on Atlanta’s roster, reasonably than attempting to duplicate the two,000-yard dashing season that Derrick Henry simply produced beneath his watch in Tennessee. He pointed to the Cleveland Browns having an excellent two-man tandem at working again, for instance.

“We tailored to Derrick, however there’s just one Derrick Henry,” Smith mentioned. “He is like having Shaquille O’Neal in his prime. It’s a must to feed the massive fella. And definitely we did that in Tennessee. However you adapt to the strengths you’ve. There are a number of methods to do it.”

Clean and McKay careworn all through the hiring course of that they will not dictate any roster selections to the brand new GM and coach. Clean mentioned he believes the Falcons may realistically vault from worst to first within the NFC South after the workforce was extra aggressive than its 4-12 report recommended in 2020. However on the similar time, he mentioned they could not “idiot ourselves” into pondering they have been higher than the workforce that went 7-9 in each 2018 and 2019.

They mentioned the aim in Atlanta is having “sustained success” after they fired coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff — who had led the Falcons to the Tremendous Bowl in 2016.

Fontenot and Clean additionally talked “sustained success” being the first focus.

“We’re not gonna make selections which might be gonna assist us in 2021 however are gonna damage us in ’22 and ’23,” mentioned Fontenot, who spent the previous 18 years climbing the ranks within the professional personnel division for the rival New Orleans Saints. “I do know there’s numerous good gamers on this roster and I do know there’s some areas we have to handle.”

The Falcons are projected to be greater than $30 million over the NFL’s decreased wage cap in 2021 with simply 31 contracts on the roster, in line with ESPN’s Roster Administration System — although the league has not but introduced an official wage cap quantity.

Additionally they have the No. Four choose within the draft.

Fontenot and Smith didn’t know one another beforehand — however each spoke extremely of the impressions they gained throughout the hiring course of. And Clean mentioned every really helpful the opposite for his or her respective jobs.

Clean mentioned he was impressed by the success Smith had in Tennessee; by the truth that three new coaches all selected to maintain Smith on workers and to really promote him alongside the way in which; and by the suggestions he received from folks together with Joe Gibbs. Smith was on Gibbs’ workers in Washington early in his profession.

“I could not be extra enthusiastic about Arthur Smith. He is particular,” Fontenot added. “I feel crucial factor, essentially the most essential issue with the fitting head coach is to have the fitting chief of males. He is a superb man, he can hook up with gamers, he can join with everybody within the constructing, he is gonna be a superb communicator. He is extremely smart and he is adaptive.”

Fontenot interviewed with 4 totally different groups for his or her GM jobs this cycle however mentioned he knew the Falcons even higher than most as a result of he had been learning them so intently for as long as a division rival. Clean spoke extremely of the angle that Fontenot introduced, in addition to his profitable background whereas working with demanding folks like coach Sean Payton and normal supervisor Mickey Loomis. Fontenot received choked up throughout his introductory videoconference when he talked concerning the alternative that Loomis gave him to affix the Saints’ scouting division when he was a 22-year-old advertising and marketing intern contemporary from his days as a security at Tulane College in New Orleans.

And the Louisiana native mentioned his household already “bleeds black and pink” now, displaying off his youngsters of their Falcons gear.

Fontenot, 40, is now the fourth Black normal supervisor within the NFL and the second employed on this cycle, together with the Detroit Lions’ Brad Holmes.

“It is actually a blessing. However I do not have a look at it like an accomplishment, I have a look at it as a possibility,” Fontenot mentioned. “And I take it as a problem, as a result of I must be profitable. I must do issues the fitting method and function and achieve success — or that is not truthful to the folks which might be gonna come after me. You already know, my son’s 9 years previous and he is gonna be a GM. That is what he advised me already. So I want to verify I function a sure method and I do issues the fitting method so he is gonna have an excellent alternative when it is his time.”

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