Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith will be fired at the end of the season, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.
That is, unless the Falcons can win the final two games of the regular season and then embark on a magical, unforeseen playoff run.
It’s a sad but appropriate end to Smith’s tenure in Atlanta. He won 56 of his first 80 games as head coach of the Falcons – something no Falcons coach before him had come close to doing. But the Falcons are a pitiful 9-21 since then, leading to an indifferent fan base that has called for changes to be made.
(Also read: Here’s why the Braves sent Justin Upton out of town)
The report says owner Arthur Blank has told some people – though it’s not clear if Smith is among those people – that he plans to remove Smith at the end of the season, but general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s job is safe for now. It’s not the kind of news some Falcons fans were hoping to hear, as many have been calling for Blank to clean house and start over completely with a new coach and general manager.
La Canfora also says the Falcons could be looking at the Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator, Adam Gase, or the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, as replacements for Smith. I would prefer a more revolutionary offensive mind if that’s the direction the Falcons are headed, but it’s clear that Blank is still looking to build his team around offense if those are his early favorites.
To earn a playoff spot, the Falcons must beat the New Orleans Saints on Sunday and the Carolina Panthers next week. The NFC South champion will be guaranteed the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, and if the Falcons win the division, they will enter the postseason with a 7-9 record and only one win outside the division. That was against the Arizona Cardinals, a team the Falcons could host in the first round of the playoffs.