FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- General manager Thomas Dimitroff finally has the security he wanted from the Atlanta Falcons.Dimitroff signed a three-year contract extension on Monday, ending questions about whether this season, the final year of his deal, would be his last with the Falcons.This is where I wanted to be, so Im really happy I got the opportunity to be here a little longer, Dimitroff said. Were in a spot where I think the arrow definitely is up, and I think we have a lot of budding talent here that can take us to the levels we want to get to.Financial terms were not disclosed for Dimitroffs new deal, which runs concurrently with coach Dan Quinns through 2019.Owner Arthur Blank said in a statement that hes been pleased with Dimitroffs work in 1+ seasons alongside Quinn.My expectations remain very high, Blank said. By extending Thomas, we expect to see their partnership continue to grow and deliver results for our team and our fans, on and off the field.The Falcons never had consecutive winning records before Dimitroff was hired in 2008, and they were above .500 in his first five seasons and made the playoffs four times. Dimitroff was credited for drafting quarterback Matt Ryan, receiver Julio Jones, running back Devonta Freeman and cornerback Desmond Trufant.The Falcons have begun rebuilding one of the NFLs worst defenses under Quinn, a former defensive coordinator in Seattle. The Falcons drafted defensive end Vic Beasley, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, safety Keanu Neal and linebackers DeVondre Campbell and Deion Jones over the last two years. All five are starters.When Quinn was hired in February 2015, Blank gave him the final say on which players comprise the 53-man roster and the 10-player practice squad.It was never an ultimatum, Quinn told The Associated Press. I just wanted a guy I knew I could work with. I dont want to be the overseer of it all. I want somebody I can work with from the personnel side. Honestly, we havent had decisions where it was tenuous or tough.Dimitroff is the point man in targeting players for the draft, free agency and trades. Hes in charge of scouting and player contracts.In all the years I was with coach Mike Smith and in the two years Ive been with Dan, we have never been at a spot where we have disagreed on who that player is, Dimitroff told The AP. Its not really anywhere near the issue people make it out to be. Dan and I have a very good working relationship that way. In the end, there has to be someone who has (the 53-man roster). It cant be a mutual decision.The Falcons won six of their first seven games last year in Quinns first season, but they stumbled in the second half and finished 8-8. Theyre off to a 6-3 start this year, have the NFCs second-best record and enter a bye week in seemingly good shape to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012.Before Quinn arrived, Dimitroff and Smith led the team to a 10-22 record after advancing to the NFC title game. Smith was fired, but Dimitroff managed to keep his job despite bearing responsibility for the slide.Yes, difficult, but not down in the dumps, not feeling sorry for myself, Dimitroff said. I understand what I signed up for in this position. We have an excellent fan base here, a very knowledgeable fan base, and they want a championship football team. Were going to do all in our power to put it together.Game notes Quinn said Trufant was getting a second opinion Monday on his injured shoulder. Trufant was hurt in last weeks win at Tampa Bay. Quinn said the team would update Trufants status on Wednesday.---For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Evan Longoria Jersey Large . 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DUBLIN -- Ireland will hit the tackle bags again this week knowing that they only have themselves to blame for doing so without the boost of a first home win over the All Blacks. There may still be grumblings from their supporters about the validity of New Zealands second try, but the fact is the men in green paid the price for a lack of penetration in their opponents 22.Joe Schmidts side spent the lions share of a brutal Test match in the All Blacks half -- and a quarter of it playing against 14 men -- but were unable to turn possession and territory into points. Even when it seemed they had breached that impenetrable black wall, the vital pass or offload failed to find its intended target.But while Ireland have plenty to work on as they prepare for Australias visit to Dublin next weekend, they also know there were positives to take from their second encounter in three weeks with the world champions.It is not every week that New Zealand are forced to work as hard in defence as they did here, and the yellow cards for Aaron Smith and Malakai Fekitoa can be taken as proof of the pressure that the hosts were able to exert.As in Chicago, the penalty count was overwhelmingly in Irelands favour, while the All Blacks were forced to make 99 more tackles than their hosts. That Schmidts side were able to put in such an intense performance as injuries wracked up will be an antidote to the frustration.Robbie Henshaw lasted less than 11 minutes before a clash of heads with Sam Cane forced him to depart on a stretcher, while Johnny Sexton followed him down the tunnel before the end of the first quarter. CJ Stander did not last much longer.Test match rugby is a squad game, though, and it was therefore heartening for those in green that the intensity did not drop as Garry Ringrose, Paddy Jackson and Josh van der Flier entered the fray.dddddddddddd Those players will be better for this experience.The coaching staff and senior players lead by example and have the subs prepped and demand the most out of you during the week, a bruised and battered Ringrose said afterwards.Whether you have one cap or 100 caps the same is expected from everyone.Moving forward that attitude will be key in driving this team on as they target regaining their Six Nations crown from England next year.Ringrose, Jackson and Van der Flier have just 24 caps worth of Test experience between them, but they now know they can go toe to toe with the All Blacks. That confidence could prove invaluable in the years ahead.Every facet of the trios game was tested on Saturday evening, and little was found wanting. Jacksons kicking kept the Irish in striking distance, Ringrose put in 10 tackles in defence, and Van der Flier made 51 metres with the ball in hand.Ringrose described the performance of Leinster colleague Van der Flier as incredible after the game. Its cool for me sitting back and seeing him do that.The Dublin-born flanker with the Dutch name has now played 114 minutes against the All Blacks, and with him on the field, the score in those two games is 25-27 to the world champions. Van der Flier now knows that he can mix it with the very best.And, as Ireland turn their attention to Australia and ultimately the Six Nations, so do they -- Schmidts squad will prepare for those challenges with confidence rather than fear.When frustration is the overriding emotion following a defeat to the All Blacks, you know youre on the right path. ' ' '