Nobody outside of Atlanta is excited about the Falcons, except for a couple of brave souls. Nor should they be, though. Arthur Smith’s teams have been boring and underwhelming, scraping together 14 wins in two seasons.
However, if we add a bit of context, the picture becomes more clear. The fact of the matter is the Falcons were cap-strapped after inheriting a mess from the former regime. Bloated, overpriced contracts needed to be ridden, netting record-breaking amounts of dead money.
The Falcons entered the past two seasons with a roster filled with misfits — cheap veterans on one-year deals. If you actually looked at those teams, 14 wins is impressive, given the talent level.
Arthur Smith kept the Falcons in nearly every contest last season, outside of a blowout against the Bengals in which Cornell Armstrong lined up across from Ja’Marr Chase.
The Falcons had 15 wins or one-score losses last year, trailing only the Chiefs and Bills, tied with the Ravens, Bengals, Eagles, Seahawks, and Chargers. Nobody would put Atlanta in the same conversation as those playoff teams, but the personnel discrepancy between the Falcons and those aforementioned teams was apparent.
Arthur Smith’s 14 wins don’t impress the casual fan, but the job he’s done has caught the eyes of other coaches and executives. According to The Athletic, it’s abundantly clear how highly respected Smith is by his peers, noting his ability to call an offense. Now, he will have the personnel to push for the NFC South title.
The job Smith did was commendable because I’m sure it wasn’t easy trying to coach around a quarterback like Marcus Mariota. Smith’s demeanor has changed this season too. After investing in the roster during the offseason, the Falcons feature playoff-caliber personnel, and the head coach is visibly excited.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire