- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Ever since they made a daring draft-night trade to move up and get wide receiver Julio Jones, there’s been a perception the Atlanta Falcons have a sense of urgency. Some say they’re “all-in’’ and others term it as a “win-now’’ mode.
When I visited Flowery Branch, Ga. last week, I asked general manager Thomas Dimitroff if those descriptions are fair and accurate. He didn’t dispute them.
“I really believe everyone in the NFL is about winning now,’’ Dimitroff said. “This league is driven to win. We all know the adage of “not for long’.’ We have a lot of players who are going into their fourth year in this system and they’re very battle tested. We’ve added some players and we’re very encouraged by that. We want to win as many games as possible. There’s no question about that and we want to achieve our ultimate goal. We’re focused on taking it one game at a time, but our expectations here are very high. We’re focused on continuing to grow together and I like where we are.’’
Dimitroff didn’t elaborate on the “ultimate goal’’. He didn’t have to because it’s obvious. The Falcons are out to win a Super Bowl and they’ve been very aggressive in the offseason. The Falcons were transparent during the spring when they kept talking about adding an explosive player on offense and one on defense.
They took care of the offensive need in the draft. The defensive need had to wait as the lockout dragged on. But, as soon as it was over, the Falcons went out and signed defensive end Ray Edwards. They also made it a point to keep their offensive line intact as much as possible. They gave tackle Tyson Clabo and guard Justin Blalock big contracts to stay. Guard Harvey Dahl left as a free agent, but the Falcons have drafted several offensive linemen the last few years and believe one of them can step into the starting lineup.
“Our additions this year will definitely help our team continue to take it to another level,’’ Dimitroff said. “I believe the team is excited. Our coaching staff is definitely excited and the fan base is as well. I think it’s very important that everyone realizes we accomplished what we needed to accomplish. A lot of people in the offseason, prior to free agency opening, were thinking we came up short because we went out and made a bold move for our receiver and we were short of our defensive end acquisition. For us, we were very focused on getting that defensive end once free agency opened and we did.’’