The Falcons have dropped three straight games, and fans have responded by calling for Arthur Smith’s job.
Smith’s team sits in the same spot it has in each of his first two seasons. At 4-6, the Falcons have had no tangible improvements to point to even after considerable investments in the roster this offseason.
Even with the disappointing start to the season, Arthur Smith’s gig is secure with half of the 2023 campaign to go. According to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, Smith won’t be fired anytime soon, noting there has been no “win now, or else” mandate from Arthur Blank.
“But firing anybody right now would be premature, if not borderline foolish,” Schultz writes via The Athletic. “Nobody who understands the roster churn and the salary cap pain of 2021 and 2022 would grade the coach on wins and losses in those two seasons. Progress and won-loss record absolutely matter this year but the season can only be graded in full, not after 10 games.
“It’s worth noting Blank has fired a coach in-season only once — Dan Quinn, following a 0-5 start in 2020, and that was more a carryover from a slide in the previous two years. (Dan Reeves quit with three games left in the 2003 season after he pressed Blank on his status and learned he would not be retained after the season.)”
Moreover, Schultz notes that the only way Arthur Smith isn’t back as the Falcons’ head coach in 2024 is if there’s evidence players are turning on him or the team completely unravels. Schultz adds that team sources say Blank has been supportive of Smith behind the scenes.
The Falcons would be fools to move on from their head coach in the middle of the season. That’s not to say that his job should be completely safe, but it’s the correct move right now.
Atlanta is amid a playoff race with the NFC South up for grabs. The Saints sit atop the division but must travel to Mercedes-Benz Stadium next week for a pivotal matchup against the Falcons.
I’m not expecting any magical turnaround from the Falcons; in fact, I expect another disappointing ending to the season. However, it’d be premature to assume Smith cannot turn things around. He deserves the rest of the season to right the ship.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire