Head coach Arthur Smith looked focused with what others were saying and writing about him and his squad as the Atlanta Falcons lost. When asked legitimate questions regarding his elite players' underutilization, Smith frequently played fantasy football. His fights with media figures were common.
Nothing would have mattered if Smith had won more games. He didn't. Smith was sacked Sunday night after his third losing season, the organization confirmed. The announcement came hours after Smith was upset by the New Orleans Saints' closing seconds run in a 48-17 loss.
Smith had three 7-10 seasons with the club. In his third season, the Falcons had an easy schedule and winnable NFC South. Change looked inevitable after the Falcons lost the division and season again. to the Panthers likely convinced Blank.
The Panthers were 1-12 and the Falcons were in a three-way tie for first in a terrible division. Atlanta lost 9-7 due to inexplicable coaching errors, including a combined 13 touches for Bijan Robinson, Kyle Pitts, and Drake London, benching Robinson for a fumble in the rain
and having Desmond Ridder throw late in the game deep in Carolina territory and throwing a crucial interception. Losing to a one-win Panthers club for a division lead makes it impossible to say you're progressing.
Smith's failings were simplest to explain by his seeming refusal to play his best players, notably Robinson. Robinson was selected ninth overall by the Falcons. That felt excessive for a running back, especially for a Falcons club that needed pass rushers and had Tyler Allgeier coming off a 1,000-yard rookie season
Robinson was a top prospect who might improve the Falcons' attack. Robinson split time with Allgeier in numerous games, not being featured enough.
Poor resource allocation. Smith's continual whining about elite players' use didn't help either. Uncertainty about the Falcons' quarterback will make the job position difficult to market. The Falcons never pursued franchise tag player Lamar Jackson last year, despite salary-cap room. Ridder's selection over Jackson was disastrous and might set delay the Falcons' coaching hunt.
The position will be sold on talent, which Smith neglected, and cap room in a division that has been the worst in the NFL two straight seasons. The Falcons were in the division battle until late in the season and might be again next year. The Falcons need to rebuild, but they can compete in the NFC South right immediately.
Smith failed to lift the Falcons. He struggled with quarterback play and his own blunders. The Falcons will ensure the next coach has a better strategy and doesn't repeat Smith's mistakes.
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