Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Softer' Reeves in Control of Falcons His Motto: `To Me, the Buck Stops Here'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Softer' Reeves in Control of Falcons His Motto: `To Me, the Buck Stops Here'

Article excerpt

Dan Reeves gobbled his chocolate chip cookie, took a sip of Diet Coke, leaned forward in his leather chair and addressed the perception everyone seems to have.

"A control freak, right?" he said, not waiting for an interviewer to finish his question. "That's what everybody says. I think that's the furthest thing from the truth."

Forget the run-ins with John Elway, who called Reeves an offensive dinosaur who hadn't "moved with the game." Forget the clashes with New York Giants general manager George Young, who fired Reeves when he demanded more control over player personnel decisions. Reeves insisted he can get along with others, though he is now in a position where he answers to only the club's ownership. "I think if you ask any coach, he would like to have the ability to, where when push came to shove, he had ability to make decisions with players," said Reeves, a virtual one-man empire as the new coach and director of football operations for the Atlanta Falcons. "Still, it's your ability to work together with people." For Reeves, control is an issue of responsibility. "To me, the buck stops here," he said. After 31 years of futility, the Falcons have placed their franchise firmly in the hands of the winningest active coach in the NFL, a man who took three Denver teams to the Super Bowl but was fired by the Giants after suffering two successive losing seasons for the first time in his career. The only person who could possibly challenge Reeves' authority - other than the Smith family that owns the team - quit last week. Ken Herock resigned after 10 years as director of personnel when it became apparent Reeves would be making the decision on draft day. "I'm going to do everything in my power to turn this thing around," Reeves said, keenly aware of the challenge he faces with a franchise that has never had back-to-back winning seasons. "But am I going to do it strictly because I've got the authority? No," he continued. "I'm going to do it because I have the ability to get people to work together to try to be the best they can be." OK, coach, what about that other perception? Elway isn't the only person who's accused Reeves of being out of touch with today's complex offensive schemes. …

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