- Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer
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A play from last season might serve as motivation as Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank strives to bring more toughness out of his team in 2014.
Vaccaro, who hit a sliding Ryan late, picked up a personal foul penalty and was later fined $7,875. The hit didn't annoy Blank as much as the reaction of his players did.
"And that play really bothered me, sincerely," Blank said. "It bothered me that none of our players, they all complained, but none of them went to the safety on the Saints and did anything.
"Not that they would start a fight, but just kind of put their finger in his chest and saying, 'That's not acceptable.'"
Blank noted how new assistant general manager Scott Pioli was equally disturbed by the reaction after studying the film. Pioli relayed his thoughts to general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
"Scott said, when he was talking at dinner one night with Thomas, he said that really bothered him when he watched that game," Blank said. "That told him a lot about the mentality of a lot of our players. And I think with (offensive line coach) Mike Tice, and (defensive line coach) Bryan Cox and Smitty (head coach Mike Smith) supporting that, I think you'll see a different attitude this year."
Blank called out the team for a lack a toughness when he addressed the media during his season-ending news conference.
21hEric D. Williams