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Despite 4-12 Campaign, Falcons Still a Very Disciplined Team in 2013

Fact: Mike Smith has a rare, incurable form of disco fever

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

The Falcons' 2013 season was highly forgettable. To be honest, Dave's drank a small fortune in Boone's Farm since week 17. We're all a little worried about him (except Caleb - he's too busy organizing his Pokemon cards), but I'm personally thrilled about this! Yes folks, the Falcons did something right in 2013. Mind. Blown.

The Falcons were penalized 91 times in 2013, the second-highest mark under Smith. In 2011, they were flagged 96 times, still good enough for tenth in the NFL. This season’s penalty total was No. 9 among the least-penalized teams. Those tenth- and ninth-place finishes are the lowest the Falcons have ever been under Smith, a pretty impressive feat considering they still rank the Falcons among the top third in the league.

If anything, this shows that Smith still has the team playing disciplined football. Sure, it's not particularly efficient football, but it's relatively penalty-free.

Don't be surprised if the Falcons are penalized at a higher clip in 2014. But that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. Mike Tice has already declared his expectations. He wants an offensive line with a mean streak. Truth be told, that could mean more holding penalties, and if luck has it, a personal foul or two. Meanwhile, if the Falcons do expect to ramp up their pass rush, they might have to push limits. While I certainly like the Falcons' relatively conflict-free reputation, mixing it up a bit could be just what they need.