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Potential In-Season Mike Smith Replacements

We take a quick look at who on this coaching staff could replace Mike Smith... just in case Mike Smith does not make it until the early morning of Monday, December 29.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Editor's note: Due to an error, the original photo for this story featured Falcons running back coach Gerald Brown and a quote attributed to Bryan Cox. It should be noted that Gerald Brown is busy working with tactical nuclear weapon Antone Smith, not the defensive line. We regret the mistake.

Mike Smith may currently be the most hated man in Atlanta. It is feeling more and more like Smith put up a fantastic record more through Mr. Magoo-type lucky bumbling than quality coaching. As of the publish date, Smith is still, for some unknown reason why do you torment us Arthur Blank we have been through a lot as Falcons fans, the head coach for the team.

But who would replace him? I list some of my favorites, as well as Mike Nolan.

Mike Nolan

Nolan gets the mention if only because he has pro head coaching experience.

Terrible head coaching experience.

Nolan, an expert in being fired mid-season, won almost a third of his games as head coach. He was remembered most for wearing suits on the sideline and sticking by this peculiar base nickel defense formation that was never effective in any level of the game. That sounds oddly familiar.

If Nolan ends up the head coach, I think I will get into rugby or cricket or family or something because I will be done with football.

Dirk Koetter

Koetter slogged his way up the totem pole, coordinating offenses for San Francisco State (the same year Matt Ryan was born), UTEP, Missouri and Boston College, before being the head coach for Boise State and Arizona State, finally ending up in the Mike Smith-favorite Jaguars organization.

I still do not know how to place Koetter. At times this offense has been unstoppable, moving down the field at will. At other times they make the Mike Glennon-lead Tampa Bay Buccaneers look competent.

Koetter has head coaching experience in college, but got fired from ASU after consistently failing against ranked teams. Playing poorly against good teams sounds a bit too familiar for me to support Koetter here.

Keith Armstrong

With the Falcons since 2008, Armstrong was mostly famously interviewed for the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles head coaching vacancies in 2012.

More importantly, Armstrong is actually good at his job. He has spent more than 15 years coaching special teams, with the Falcons rarely struggling in this department.

After Bryan Cox, he may be the only memorable coach on Hard Knocks.

I feel like the team has been lacking a fiery coach who really cares about the product that is put on the field, and Armstrong does not have that problem. He could legitimately take some of this team to task for their play, a common criticism many see with our current head coach.

Tim Lewis

Lewis has been a defensive backs coach since the late 1980s, with six years as defensive coordinator between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants. In fact, after the removal of Thomas DeCoud, the secondary has looked pretty well-coached. He has coached William Moore, Brent Grimes and Desmond Trufant into some pretty great play.

Lewis seems to be more along the lines of a player-friendly coach, but after the Smitty era, I still can not tell if that is a good thing or a bad thing. At the very least, Lewis has plenty of experience and has gotten really good production out of his players.

Bryan Cox

Cox is easily the most quotable man in the existence of the human race. Cox was an insane player, who appears to have only grown crazier as a coach. I want to include a Hard Knocks quote, but I can not narrow down from my favorite 100 quotes.

Cox is the type of guy who can fire up this team. It is hard to know how he breaks down as decision maker, but I can guarantee you Cox would never say the team has to execute for four quarters more than once. I doubt he can even say the word "process". We would likely see some pretty significant fluctuations in snap counts.

If anything, Cox would be a drastic change from Smitty. I doubt any fans would complain about that.

Who Else?

The Falcons need to replace Smith with someone from the staff. I am clearly a pretty big fan of Armstrong and Cox for their ability to get on underperforming players. Or at least give some pretty quality answers in press conferences.

Who do you think could be an improvement over Smitty? Funny jokes and quotes from Armstrong and Cox get auto-recs.