Falcons: Arthur Smith is happier than ever before

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Being an NFL coach is one of the most grueling jobs in the world. It may seem glamorous because of the attention, money and fame that come with it if you succeed, but most of these guys live around the facilities, working around the clock and taking time away from their families. The best coaches live and breathe football, so you can imagine what it might be like when someone is coaching a team that is put together with no chance to succeed.

That is what Arthur Smith has been dealing with for the last two seasons. He knew what he signed up for prior to taking the job. The Falcons were in cap hell and had to undergo a complete rebuild before they started to take steps forward. Despite that, Smith managed to salvage back-to-back 7-10 seasons with very little talent. Now, the cap restraints from the previous regime are in the rearview mirror, and the Falcons finally have a worthwhile roster.

Atlanta spent over $250 million this offseason on contract extensions and free agency. The result is by far the best roster of Arthur Smith’s tenure, one that many, including myself, believe can compete for a division title. That kind of hope can provide a spark, and it’s evident in the way Arthur Smith has handled the first couple weeks of training camp.

Once a man of few words, the Falcons head coach arrived at training camp with a new look, featuring a mustache with a resemblance to Ted Lasso. He also took no time poking fun at long-time Falcons beat reporter D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, fining him $500 dollars for missing the first few days of training camp.

If Smith seems like an entirely different person, it’s because he is, and he had no problem sharing that with the media on Wednesday, stating, “This is the most fun I’ve had coaching.”

It’s only training camp and there are no moral victories in this league. If expectations are not met, Smith will be on the hot seat by the end of the season. With that being said, the feeling around Flowery Branch is much different than it has been in recent years. This team — from top to bottom — has bought in. Everyone should be excited about what is to come in 2023.

Photographer: John Byrum/Icon Sportswire

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