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Falcons hire ex-Chiefs GM Scott Pioli as assistant GM

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Atlanta hired Scott Pioli as their Assistant General Manager.
Atlanta hired Scott Pioli as their Assistant General Manager. (USATSI)

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There's a long-standing friendship between Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff and former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli. So it's no surprise that the Falcons hired Pioli as their new "Assistant General Manager."

Atlanta announced the move on Wednesday and it was met with some skepticism after the way Pioli's tenure in Kansas City ended. But maybe it shouldn't.

The Chiefs struggled under Pioli largely in part because he believed Matt Cassel was a franchise quarterback. Cassel isn't, but Matt Ryan certainly is. Offense in Atlanta isn't an issue with Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White on the roster.

Generating a pass rush was certainly a problem for the Falcons in 2013, though. And if you look for one team that really found a way to evaluate and acquire pass rushers through the draft in recent years, Pioli's Chiefs stand out in a big way.

Dontari Poe, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston were one of the fiercest pass rushing trios in the league this year; Pioli acquired Poe and Houston during his tenure as Chiefs GM and his staff brought out the best in Hali.

Knock Pioli all you want but he generated the foundation for Andy Reid's quick turnaround in 2013. He's also got a history of winning dating back to his days with the Patriots; he and Dimitroff met under Bill Belichick while working for the Browns and were later on the same front-office staff in New England.

It's a good time for Pioli to hop on board with Atlanta as well. They're coming off a four-win season and a turnaround in 2014, simply based on regression to the mean, seems likely. If Pioli gets even a modicum of credit for that, it'll go a long way towards helping him climb the personnel tower again.

Just the fact that I didn't make an "Assistant to the General Manager" joke should be proof enough that this is a solid move, despite what people might say.

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