Blank admits Falcons 'took a step back instead of forward'

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Wednesday he is disappointed the team is "not where we need to be," but he said turnover on the coaching staff might help.

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Since Sunday's 24-2 wild-card playoff loss to the New York Giants, the Falcons have lost both coordinators. Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder left to head Auburn's defense, and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkeywas hired as the Jacksonville Jaguars' coach.

Blank said the Falcons didn't want to lose VanGorder and Mularkey, but he added that general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith should be "excited about bringing in some folks that will be able to give us maybe some new perspective, not only on scheme questions but on player issues they may have as well."

"I would say in 2011 we took a step back instead of forward," Blank said. "That doesn't mean we haven't taken a lot of steps forward in the last four years. We have, but that being said, we're not where we need to be.

"We have not performed well during the postseason," Blank added, alluding to Atlanta's 0-3 playoff record under Dimitroff and Smith. "We have not been competitive at that time. I know there's a tremendous amount of disappointment with our fans, our sponsors and everybody connected with the organization."

Smith and Dimitroff joined Blank in the news conference at the owner's offices. It was an unusual setting for a season-review session with reporters.

"One of the reasons we feel necessary to talk with you today, we wanted to share with you our own disappointment," Blank said.

Dimitroff said he is "scrutinizing the entire team" and must make some difficult decisions on the Falcons' 17 unrestricted free agents, including four key starters on defense: end John Abraham, cornerback Brent Grimes, linebacker Curtis Lofton and safety Thomas DeCoud. Dimitroff suggested some popular players might not be back in 2012.

"We will analyze our roster," Dimitroff said before adding, "There are no sacred cows."

Blank quickly added: "There may be some sacrificial cows, but no sacred cows."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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