Smith takes the blame for another bad season

Mike Smith is likely finished after seven years as Atlanta's head coach.


It is inevitable. Mike Smith won’t survive this.

Perhaps he could have, if the Falcons had played hard Sunday against the Panthers. Instead, Carolina embarrassed Atlanta at the Georgia Dome 34-3.

Perhaps he could have, if the Falcons had won Sunday and then were respectable in the playoffs. But that didn’t happen, either.

The Falcons choked. They literally had a golden opportunity at their doorstep and they choked. Someone has to take the blame for this, and that someone is almost always is the head coach.

“When you don’t win, it’s not fun,” Smith said. “We know what the expectations are. We set the bar very high here from the very first day. We’ve won a lot of football games and in the last two years we haven’t been able to do that. This is a business about what have you done for me lately. Obviously the season this year was not up to the expectations of me or anybody in the organization or our fans.”

Smith should be given tremendous credit. He answered every question posed to him after the game, with team owner Arthur Blank sitting four chairs over to his right on the front row. And in what should not be surprising at all, Smith was honest and forthright and very matter of fact. He takes the blame for what has happened.

“This is a business about winning football games,” Smith said. “That’s how you’re judged. I understand that.”

I’m here as the head football coach until Arthur Blank tells me anything different.”

Smith was asked if he would have done anything different in this most trying season.

“I wish I would have done a whole lot of things better,” he admitted. “Ultimately, I’m the one that’s held responsible. This is a 6-10 football team. There is one person that the record is attributed to. That’s the head football coach. We were 6-10 in 2014. There are a whole lot of things I could have done differently and better. They are all learning experiences. I will take those in the future and make sure I don’t make the same mistakes that I’ve made this season.”

Quarterback Matt Ryan did not hesitate to run to Smith’s defense after the game.

“Mike’s done a great job.” Ryan said. “For the seven years that I’ve been here, he’s been first class. He shows up every day and works extremely hard. He’s incredibly consistent. You know where you stand with him as a player. I think guys respect that. I have nothing but a lot of respect for Mike.”

Atlanta is now 10-22 since appearing in the NFC title game two years ago. That puts Smith right on the chopping block and he knows it more than anyone.

“It sends signals to me that I didn’t get the job done,” he admitted. “I’m the one that is held responsible for it. No one else in the building is. It’s my responsibilities for the seasons that we’ve had the entire time that we’ve been here.”

Smith faced the music after the game when he met with the media. Monday he’ll likely meet with Blank and learn his fate. We all know it already, even if the announcement hasn’t been made yet.

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