Falcons new GM plans to follow New England model in Atlanta

By: asociated press
By: asociated press

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Falcons formally introduced new general manager today.

Thomas Dimitroff says he believes the philosophy that prevailed with his previous employer -- the New England Patriots -- can work just as well in Atlanta.

Dimitroff said New England "is truly about the team." He said there are people in place who believe in one direction, and that is from the bottom up.

The unbeaten Patriots, who are preraring to face San Diego in the AFC championship game on Sunday, released Dimitroff from his duties as director of college scouting so he could take over right away as GM of the Falcons.

In Atlanta, the 40-year-old Dimitroff is at the opposite end of the NFL spectrum. The Falcons lost quarterback Michael Vick before the season even began in a scandalous dogfighting case, and coach
Bobby Petrino abandoned ship with three games to go in his debut

The Falcons finished a dismal 4-12 season with an interim coach (Emmitt Thomas) and a quarterback who was selling insurance a year
earlier (Chris Redman).

Dimitroff said he intends to focus heavily on the draft and use free agency mainly to fill any remaining needs. Former general manager Rich McKay is still on the job as team president but ceded control over player personnel to Dimitroff.

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