Former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith will find himself on an NFL sideline in the not-so-distant future. Smith was fired almost a year ago after the Falcons failed to make the playoffs in consecutive years. Stepping away for a year was the right thing to do. He was rumored to be a candidate for at least one assistant job, but that didn't pan out. Whether that was Smith's decision is debatable. What's foolish is to think that he's done in the NFL.
Jason La Canfora took a detailed look at some potential coaching candidates ahead of the looming off-season. Per La Canfora, Smith is looking for another shot, and he'll likely get it.
He's the third-fastest NFL coach to ever reach 50 wins, and he is ready to get back in, according to those close to him. He feels good and eager to get another shot after a successful stint turning around the Falcons. Atlanta's struggles this season don't exactly hurt Smith's chances. The issues there ran beyond just coaching.
Smith is a talented coach, even with his faults. He orchestrated and successfully navigated an enormous transition at Flowery Branch. Moving on from Michael Vick and recovering from the shocking departure of head coach turned escape artist Bobby Petrino was a difficult task. Blessed with a reliable, gritty quarterback named Matt Ryan, Smith fielded several solid teams. He fielded one team that came about 10 yards from a Super Bowl birth.
But then everything fell apart. It's hard to pinpoint what went wrong. Some of the blame undoubtedly falls on Smith himself. But as La Canfora points out, given Dan Quinn's struggles this season, it's clear that personnel played a role as well.
I say good for him. I wish his nothing but success wherever he lands. Unless he's facing the Falcons. If that happens, I hope he fails miserably.