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Rapsheet: Arthur Smith back in 2024 with a win over the Saints

An almost unthinkable standard which has now been applied to Atlanta’s last three head coaches.

Atlanta Falcons v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The rumors surrounding Arthur Smith have been rampant, yet consistent, ultimately concluding that team owner Arthur Blank has yet to make a decision on the team’s confounding head coach Smith. Also consistent is the standard that eventually develops, via these high-level rumors provided to the league’s top reporters: finish out the season strong and Atlanta’s head coach keeps his job. Fans saw the same rumors pop up with Mike Smith, who couldn’t beat the Panthers to snag the lowly NFC South. Dan Quinn saw the same yet finished very strong, before falling apart the following season.

Now it is Arthur Smith, who just weeks back was said to need to finish the season strong to return to Atlanta. A 7-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers and 17-37 ass-whooping by the Chicago Bears proved Smith was not going to finish the season strong. Now we fall clearly into the Mike Smith scenario: win the final game and keep your job. Falcons may even sneak into the playoffs with a win.

You can’t fire a coach in the playoffs, right? Rapsheet says a win makes Blank’s decision for him.

First, I want to point out the tweet has stronger language that Rapoport’s report itself. The article itself says a strong finish is important to Blank, not Smith returns with a win. The most important headline seems to be from Rapoport’s tweet, which really sums up what all the recent rumors have strongly suggested: Blank wants to beat the Saints, then add a quarterback in 2024.

Another consistent theme in the recent rumors: Blank is interested in adding Bill Belichick. As discussed recently, while it may not make a lot of football sense, it sounds precisely like something Blank would want to do. We’re quickly approaching Belichick to Atlanta having too much smoke for it to be real. Still, with Blank’s age, likely desire to not take another chance on an unproven coordinator, and hope to sell tickets with a big name, this has to stay on the table as a possibility.

Back to today’s game, it seems almost crazy that Smith’s future will be based on this one game. The team’s offense has still regressed despite an improved roster. The game plan seems to be wildly different yet predictable week in and week out. Is Arthur Smith progressing this team? We should know the answer to that question before Sunday’s game, but instead a whole lot will be riding on four quarters.