The Falcons have completely exceeded expectations thus far in the season, and I don’t think there’s a coach in the NFL doing more with less than Arthur Smith.
The team entered the season with a record-breaking dead cap hit from the Matt Ryan trade. They had the least amount of cap dollar allocated to active rostered players. Recently, the Bears, who have traded defensive stars Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn, have taken the bottom spot. Still, the Falcons are 4-4 with nearly $80 million of the $208 million league salary cap allocated to players on different rosters.
Because of those facts, Arthur Smith should be garnering more Coach of the Year consideration. I’m not arguing that he should win it, but the recognition is nonexistent.
Nick Sirianni, Brian Daboll, Kevin O’Connell, and Robert Saleh deserve credit for their respective seasons. Sirianni has the Eagles looking like the class of the NFC and has properly steered an incredibly talented roster masterfully. Daboll might be doing more with less than Arthur Smith. The former Bills offensive coordinator has revolutionized the culture in New York. O’Connell is in a similar position as Sirianni, but O’Connell is in his first season. Still, with a talented Vikings roster, he has proven to be a successful offensive mind and head coach. Saleh’s defensive talent is far superior to the offense, and Mike LaFleur is doing a fine job navigating a shaky quarterback situation. But the defensive talent in New York is undeniably better than in Atlanta.
That said, Arthur Smith is doing as impressive of a job with the Falcons compared to any of them. Atlanta’s offensive line and signal caller are inferior to the Eagles, Vikings, and Giants. All four teams have superior defenders at most positions, too.
As it stands right now, the betting favorite for Coach of the Year is Sirianni at +140, followed by Daboll at +250, Saleh at +800, O’Connell at +1200, Sean McDermott, Mike McDaniel, and Pete Carroll at +2000 odds.
Arthur Smith should be right there in the thick of things with those names, and I’d argue what he’s doing in Atlanta is more impressive than what Saleh is doing in New York. Though it’s not by much, the Jets have a more talented team in most aspects. The Eagles and Vikings aren’t even in the same conversation.
O’Connell already had a veteran team with a solid core of Pro Bowl-caliber players all over the roster. Minnesota has a stout front seven, weapons for Kirk Cousins, and a stable offensive line; of course he should succeed.
Philly might have the most talented roster in the entire league. The defense has All-Pro-caliber players at all three levels. The offensive line is one of the best units in football, and their skill positions are playing as well as anyone.
Smith is literally dealing with a Bad News Bears roster. The former Titans offensive coordinator currently sits at +8000 odds to win the award, which is egregious if you ask me. The offensive line is still below average and Marcus Mariota is an unreliable, turnover-prone quarterback. The defense, outside AJ Terrell and Grady Jarrett, is barren of talent. Nobody is doing more with less than Arthur Smith.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire