Is Mike Smith on the hot seat? It is a fair question. He deserves the job now, but this next season will decide his future.
Smith has been a central part of the brain trust since he arrived as the head coach. The organization has always preached the idea of a process. A process rooted in patience and trust. But these are wearing thin at the moment.
I don’t think it was Smith’s fault that the team didn’t win the super bowl last season, or even make the playoffs for that matter. Injuries to your best players are impossible to overcome. With that being said, he should get the fair share of blame for team finishing eight games under .500. The players quit in the middle of last season. Even without Julio Jones, Sean Weatherspoon, Steven Jackson, or other injured Falcons, the team was still capable of having a decent season.
Mike Smith has led the charge to change the Falcons franchise. He arrived in 2008 when the organization was possibly at an all time low. Since then he has coached the team to 4 playoff appearances and a record of 59-33 (even with the 12-loss season of 2013). Smith is very integral in the process, but some questions still remain. Questions which will determine his fate. Can he get the team back to where it was? Is he a coach who can win a championship? Does he have the support of the players and management? Time will tell with all of these. Even before the disastrous 2013 season, Smith was starting to feel the heat. There was a constant stream of criticism around the team’s 1-4 playoff record under the Smith regime. In addition to “not being able to win the big one,” many of his coaching decisions were under close scrutiny, such as multiple failed conversions or bad play calls. These examples don’t really tell the whole story though. Again, Smith was as paramount as anyone in the turnaround of the franchise. Many of the failures were not particularly his.