Falcons: Terry Fontenot talks fourth overall pick, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, and more on the Huddle and Flow Podcast

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Terry Fontenot has been making his rounds, already appearing on The Adam Schefter Podcast and the Huddle and Flow Podcast with Steve Wyche and Jim Trotter.

There’s a lot to unpack in this 40-minute podcast. Starting chronologically, Fontenot first spoke about how collaborative he’s been with Arthur Smith and then went on to discuss how the college scouts are preparing for the draft, the pro scouts are preparing for free agency, and the coaching staff is self-evaluating the roster. He explained that the next step would be to get together with the coaches and not only go through the Falcons’ roster, but also go through what their prototype for each position is, emphasizing the details. “This is what we are going to call this position; this what we are looking for.”

Regardless of whether players are procured through free agency or the draft, you want your personnel guys on the same page of what the coaches need and want, with a clear vision of both. The new GM spoke on how Dean Pees went through explaining his defense and what kind of players he liked, suggesting guys like Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. Fontenot interjected, comically, that there are only two of them. Jokes aside, this is an important step in understanding one another in the organization and blending philosophies.

Speaking of philosophies, Fontenot then shifted to best player available versus positional fit, where he highlighted that it’s not about either-or but a both situation. He made it known that Pees and Smith have aired what they require for their systems but that they wouldn’t pass on someone just because they didn’t meet the parameters of the box they had created. Fontenot told a story of asking a subordinate to do something that wasn’t necessarily in their wheel of responsibilities but they did it, exactly the kind of culture Fontenot wants, speaking freely and being open.

He once again talked about the general manager role as one rooted in player procurement but also bringing in the right people throughout the entire organization. The Louisiana native further described his views on how to be an organizational leader, “how you do anything, is how you do everything.” Fontenot went further in depth about what he sees the role as by explaining his servant style of leadership. A GM’s job is to provide everyone in the organization with the appropriate support and tools to do their job to the best of their ability from the bottom all the way up. Funny enough, this is the exact style of leadership his boss, Arthur Blank, uses. The new hire went on to say how reading Blank’s book affected his decision to interview for the Falcons opening.

He then answered a question that every Falcons fan wants to know: What are Matt Ryan and Julio Jones‘ future in Atlanta? To which he so eloquently answered by not answering.

Driving his point home, Fontenot emphasized they will build on strengths by adding to each position to create a competitive environment everywhere, referencing Ron Wolf and Ozzie Newsome.

So it seems that Matt and Julio will be apart of the team’s plans, but Fontenot made it clear there are no “untouchables” on a team with the right culture. Building cultures based on that “untouchable” notion instead of competition would be counterproductive to building sustained success.

Transitioning to the salary cap, Atlanta’s new hire delved into the manipulation of it and how he has to finesse that with roster building given the attrition around the league. It might be a slow free agency as teams try to depress salaries to get guys on cheaper one-year deals. He referenced restructuring contracts as there are always ways to make it work in 2021, but at some point, Atlanta will need to pay those prices. Then, Jim Trotter asked Fontenot what he thought about being the first black general manager in Falcons’ history.

Steve Wyche followed it up by asking the Falcons’ front office leader about the fourth overall pick and how he hadn’t been in this sort of situation with the Saints. Fontenot said it’s valuable and exciting to be in this spot, but that they don’t want to pick in the top-five again after this season. Fontenot said they are planning long-term, building the roster the right way, so nothing is off the table. Whether it’s taking the best player on the board or moving down, everything’s wide open for the Falcons.

What fans can expect is that Atlanta will have a helluva draft this April, and we won’t be here again for an extended time.

1 thought on “Falcons: Terry Fontenot talks fourth overall pick, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, and more on the Huddle and Flow Podcast”

  1. Pingback: Falcons: Terry Fontenot talks fourth overall pick, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, and more on the Huddle and Flow Podcast – PGA Golf Gameday

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