In the midst of a long analysis of just how ugly the 2013 season has been for the Atlanta Falcons (which isn’t a revelation to anyone who consistently reads this space, Michael Silver of NFL.com dropped a very interesting nugget regarding the future of head coach Mike Smith.
Here is the juicy text:
According to several sources familiar with the situation, Smith, who won more games over the previous five years than any coach except the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick, has been told personally by Blank he’ll return for the 2014 season, regardless of how miserable this one turns out. Not surprisingly, general manager Thomas Dimitroff — a two-time NFL Executive of the Year who hired the previously unheralded Smith shortly after taking over in 2008 — is also safe.
First, we should say that this hasn’t been confirmed by anyone inside the Falcons organization (that we’re aware of), but secondly, this isn’t terribly surprising. I’ve openly campaigned for Smith to get another chance after this injury-riddled year, and Dimitroff falls into that category.
It’s easy to forget just how good the Mike Smith-Matt Ryan-Thomas Dimitroff combination has been for the Falcons. Smith entered this season with a .700 winning percentage, and is already the franchise record holder for most wins at 58-32 over a 90-game period. In short, Mike Smith has been the best coach in Falcons history (by record, anyway), and it would be a knee-jerk reaction to can him after a wretched 10-game sample.
With all of that said, the 2013 season has been an absolute catastrophe, and Smith isn’t immune. His leash will be much shorter if he is indeed kept on for 2014, and if the wheels turn in a negative direction, expect that leash to flatly snap.