For the first time in five seasons, the Falcons sit above .500 with their win over the Panthers yesterday.
There was a lot to love and things that need to be fixed moving forward. Jessie Bates III made his Falcons debut, picking off Bryce Young twice and forcing a fumble. Bijan Robinson looks the part, breaking a couple of tackles on his way to the endzone for the first score of the season.
However, it wasn’t easy sledding in the passing game. Even though he was efficient, Desmond Ridder didn’t push the ball down the field or get the ball in his playmaker’s hands enough, specifically Drake London, who didn’t log a single catch.
That’s probably not fair to place at the feet of Ridder. Arthur Smith deserves a share of the blame. When asked about London’s quiet afternoon, the Falcons head coach reverted to his old ways — this ain’t fantasy football.
Falcons coach Arthur Smith, told that Drake London had one fewer reception than Desmond Ridder in today's win: "Let the fantasy guys worry about that. We've got to clean some things up … We don't care. Drake London doesn't care. All we care about is 1-0."
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) September 10, 2023
Smith responded to a question with nothing to do with fantasy football with some sort of “gotcha” quip. Yes, the Falcons are 1-0, but it’s fair to wonder why your 8th overall pick didn’t log a single catch. It certainly doesn’t seem like an egregious question to ask why Drake London didn’t see more targets. It undoubtedly didn’t warrant that kind of response from Smith.
You can somewhat get away with those kinds of things when you win, which the Falcons did, but it won’t last forever. Wins and losses are the only things that matter. Once Atlanta drops a game or two, these questions will arise again. If Drake London, Kyle Pitts, or Bijan Robinson puts up an empty stat line, reporters will be eager for Smith to get to the podium, so they can return the favor.
But if you didn’t know, Arthur Smith doesn’t care about your fantasy football teams.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire