The Atlanta Falcons have had the privilege of getting Mike Smith fired twice. The first time was a due to a only 10 wins total in 2013 to 2014 and countless confusing roster and scheme decisions. The second time was after walloping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their predictably weak defense. No turnovers and gobs of points.
It has felt good but weird to watch the Falcons face off with a Mike Smith defense. There are simply no limits. 3rd and 20? No problemo. Nearly any pass has a high chance at success.
Despite one of the league’s top defensive tackles in Gerald McCoy, costly new pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul, linebacker Lavonte David, and new faces like Vinny Curry, Vita Vea and Beau Allen, Tampa had one of the league’s worst defenses. Remember when they paid Brent Grimes $7 million? Yikes.
Similar to 2014, the free agency spending spree and early draft picks resulted in an awful defense. We knew Smith wouldn’t be able to make it, despite being the defensive coordinator of the Falcons’ satellite team in Tampa Bay. (Seriously, Freddie Martino is down there. Do you remember Freddie Martino?) As much as Smith tried to do the exact same thing that hasn’t worked in the better half of a decade, it was not enough.
While Smith’s time in Atlanta ended on a sour note, he was the architect of the team’s first back-to-back winning seasons. Ultimately he developed a consistently competitive team for a franchise that never had anything close. He was part of the brain trust that brought in Matt Ryan. Despite an awful 2013 and 2014, he finished his coaching career in Atlanta 66-46. Atlanta made the playoffs in four of his first five seasons. For that, we will always be thankful.
Good luck to Smitty in finding his next job.