When the Falcons hired Arthur Smith away from Tennessee, he was heralded for the Titans offenses that led Mike Vrabel’s team to a top seed in the AFC.
He helped resurrect Ryan Tannehill’s career, Derrick Henry become the league’s rushing leader, and Jonnu Smith and A.J. Brown land massive free agent deals from the Patriots and Eagles, respectively.
However, in his third season as play caller in Atlanta, Smith’s offense isn’t where it needs to be. Whether it’s quarterback play, young skill position players, or an inconsistent line, the Falcons offense has found no semblance of an identity.
In 2022, Atlanta was one of the most effective rushing attacks in the league but rarely threatened through the air. At least they had an identity. A change at quarterback was supposed to change the passing game, but Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke haven’t been the answer.
Now, the Falcons are a semi-effective running team with an unreliable passing attack that turns over the ball at an alarming rate and lacks red zone success. It’s a recipe for frustrating Sundays, and what makes it even more so is Arthur Smith’s expertise lies in this exact area.
How this next metric is calculated is above my brain capacity, but I’ll tell you one thing, being in the same conversation as Pete Carmichael and Matt Canada is utterly embarrassing for Arthur Smith.
Dorsey has been a top 5 play caller for the majority of the season. It's been a down year for offenses in general and the Bills' have still produced at a high level.
— Steven Patton (@PattonAnalytics) November 14, 2023
All of Atlanta’s struggles cannot be placed at the feet of Arthur Smith. Penalties, turnovers, and poor execution are surely to blame. Moreover, the offense has done enough in the past two weeks to win games against the Cardinals and Vikings, but the defense faltered.
That should be acknowledged. However, Smith is responsible for the overall success and failure of the Falcons, and he will be judged by it at season’s end.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire