Jul
18
2014
mikesmithfacepalm
By
626 views
16 comments

Vanilla.

Perfectly acceptable as an ice cream flavor, horrific when applied to a football team. Most of the fans I know seem to feel the Falcons have become a vanilla team—predictable, boring, lacking imagination. I asked a friend of mine if he was excited about the Falcons the other day and he replied, “Well, I mean, it is the Falcons.”

While rabid fans of Atlanta’s team are probably jumping up and down on the couch after reading those words, there’s something to be said about perception. It may not be reality, but it certainly helps shape it, and the perception of the fan base this year might have a lot to do with shaping the future of head coach Mike Smith.

True, no one’s called for Coach Smith’s job, but if the Falcons don’t perform to expectations this year—and good luck determining who’s expectations will be the standard for measurement—there’s a chance Smitty might become a target for change.

After all, the Falcons are married to Matt Ryan thanks to his $100 million contract. Coordinators Mike Nolan and Dirk Koetter are headed into their third seasons, and while you could make an argument that both of their units have under performed, they’re still pretty recent on the job. Some folks interpreted the hiring of Scott Pioli as assistant GM to be a shot across the bow of Thomas Dimitroff, but the GM has had more hits than misses in terms of talent acquisition (roster building might be another matter).

That leaves Coach Smith.

Personally, I think Smitty has earned the right to stick around. As the numbers bear out, he’s been the best coach the Falcons have had in my 38 years of watching them, and his commitment to integrity, character and fundamentals is spot on. In a Twitter-fied world of lightning fast change, there’s something to be said for letting a coach build something through the ups and downs.

Perception, however, might dictate something else, however. 60 wins in the regular season is great, and so is having a team full of stand up guys, but a 1-4 won/loss record in the playoffs and some highly questionable crunch time calls tend to overshadow the nice things—something Curt Chaffin covered well in his post this past March. Should the Falcons fail in 2014, right or wrong, the fall guy will be the man with the white hair.

For Coach Smith’s sake, here’s hoping the Hard Knocks curse is a myth.

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Comments
  1. Demosthenes

    Whenever something goes wrong with a football team in Atlanta, the default excuse is to blame Chan Gailey.

  2. BrooksBrother925

    Smitty and Dimitroff better be looking over their shoulders to make sure the target on their backs is less visible to those gunning for them. We’re like a Cleveland franchise except the only difference is we win well enough to get us in the dance and crap the bed in the playoffs.

    • Jason Brooks

      BrooksBrother – Isn’t it fascinating that the only title Atlanta has won in the past 20 years came at the expense of a Cleveland team?

      • BrooksBrother925

        Yeah, from one crappy fan based town with good teams to a crappy teams town with a good fan base. Funny…

    • you are too right my man, they make the play-off’s and get a #1 seed and play at home and it get’s away from them all the time, we have never had team’s that just put team’s away and step on that throat and don’t let off but when they get whipped they get whipped and i am just tired of this joking around being undissaplend, talk a lot of crap and don’t back it up, i would leave the talk in the locker room and save the strength for the game,,, it’s like this organization is cursed to me anyway, now everyone can talk but they have talented teams and can bring the bacon home and i don’t mean for just one season i mean for season’s running.

    • i blame coaching and the front office also, they just don’t have the hard knock coaching that build’s championship team’s,,, maybe if this team brought home a few championships then the heat would be off of them for a while, and they need to always compete, i’m this type of man,,, now i have seen the falcons get there behinds destroyed, and i would love to see them do teams back cause you take a chance when you give the ball to the other team trying to depend on a defence to stop them that can’t stop fly’s from buzzing,,, rebuild the whole thang is what i say, starting with the front office down to the coach’s.

  3. Jason Brooks

    Demosthenes – Actually, I prefer to blame Bobby Petrino. At least Chan Gailey was a good man.

    • Jason Brooks

      Thanks, Nealie. As a fan, I’m hoping the Falcons return to 2012 form, but there’s a part of me that’s just got a feeling we might be bidding Smitty farewell come December.

  4. Pam Brooks

    I have watched the Falcons all my life, good and bad. Loved Dan Reeves, love Mike Smith. He will go down if they have a bad year but who really needs to go is Dimitroff. You can only play with who you’re given. This year HAS to be better!

    • Jason Brooks

      Pam – I agree: this year should be far better than last year, but I’m still concerned with some personnel issues. Like you said, Smitty can only coach the guys TD provides, so this year will be telling on many fronts.

  5. Don’t forget what happened to the Falcons after firing Leeman Bennett, and Jim Mora It takes time to build a great franchise. Rise Up!

    • Jason Brooks

      Rob – I think a lot of folks are on the fence with the idea of firing Smitty if things go bad, mainly because Atlanta fans (perhaps more than many other fanbases) understand the grass isn’t always greener.

      But it’s unlikely TD gets blown out and Smitty stays. They might go together if the season goes REALLY bad, but if it’s seen as another underachieving year, Smitty will become the sacrificial lamb.

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  7. i’m here to say that all the while i have been a falcon fan i have always been disappointed, it all started for me back in the 1980 season when the falcons where in the playoff’s against the Dallas team and the falcons had the game won but decided to use the prevent defence and it blowed up in there face, every since they have been a flop to me and i hate that cause they have talented teams, they just don’t have the coach’s to get into the players face when they do wrong and plus there is no disaplend on the team if u ask me, instead of the coach’s babying the player’s they need to be getting on them more for the play’s they are not making, you win as a unit not individually, so take my advice,,, if this team doesn’t find an identity then you can kiss this season goodbye also.

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