The Atlanta Falcons went from preseason Super Bowl contenders to one of the worst teams in the NFL this season. People want to place blame somewhere, and they are pointing at Coach Mike Smith. Despite the 2-9 start to the season, Smith should not be held accountable for the rash of injuries faced this season.
Since taking over the Falcons in 2008, Smith has led them to a 58-32 record, including taking them to the NFC Championship game after having a 13-3 record in the regular season.
It has been a brutal season for the Falcons, but general manager Thomas Dimitroff has no plans of firing coach Smith. “Mike Smith is a hell of a football coach; he’s the leader of this team. Mike’s going nowhere.”
It would be a difficult task for any coach to lead a team that has been as devastated by injures as the Falcons have been.
His players still have his back after what has been an incredibly disappointing season.
“We have a lot of injuries this year–key injuries. And it’s hard to win like that. So I don’t think he deserves any type of blame,” veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez said about Smith and the Falcons after the loss to the Seahawks.
The Falcons injuries are to blame for their horrible year. Their two star wide receivers have been injured most of the year. Julio Jones is out for the season and Roddy White has been hobbled all year when he has been able to play. Steven Jackson, their prized free agent signing, has missed half of the team’s games. Kroy Bierman and Sean Weatherspoon, arguably their best two defensive players, have played in just five games combined.
Smith has been very successful in the past when he does not have a roster completely depleted by injuries. He had a 56-24 record with the Falcons coming into this year and never finished with a record below .500. He is under contract for one more season, and it would be in the Falcons best interest to give him next year to try and turn things around with a healthy roster.