Thomas Dimitroff enters his ninth NFL season as the general manager of the Atlanta Falcons having missed the playoffs in three straight seasons.
After the Falcons handed some of Dimitroff's power over to assistant GM Scott Pioli last year, Dimitroff understands he's under the microscope in 2016.
"You can talk to some of my contemporaries in the league as younger general managers as they're coming through, and they realize as they step through the doorway that this is about now ... this is about acquiring ... and capitalizing on victories now. They may not be around for three years."
The Falcons went to the playoffs three straight seasons under Dimitroff, from 2010 to 2012, but have managed fewer than eight wins each of the last three seasons. Several draft whiffs and few forceful free agency moves have left Dimitroff open to criticism.
The GM believes his team was closer to the one that started 6-1 last season than cliff dived to 2-7 down the stretch.
"I think we have a really interesting nucleus," Dimitroff said. "I like our talent, I like our speed, I like our athleticism. We are becoming more and more adept as the months go on understanding the systems that have been brought into Atlanta. We're a run-and-hit 4-3 defense that obviously Dan Quinn knows inside out ...
"I really believe there's some high energy on this team that's going to help us a lot. And I think an extra year under our belt in this system, on the offensive side under Kyle Shanahan and on the defense is going to help us a great deal."
The Falcons still have holes throughout the roster -- receiver depth, pass rusher, linebacker. Dimitroff is hoping Quinn and his staff can mask those weaknesses, or the GM could be out of a job come 2017.