Arthur Smith’s job security has been surrounded by a flurry of rumors, reports and wild speculation, especially in light of Arthur Blank’s public refusal to guarantee Smith’s return in 2024. To be fair to Blank, Smith has put him into a very tough spot.
In year three of his time in Atlanta, the Falcons go a mere 7-10 and end the season. 7-10 is a bit of a problem, as Smith started his time as head coach dealing with substantial cap issues. After a hefty number of tough roster decisions and losses, the Falcons went 7-10 in 2021. After the sudden trade of Matt Ryan, the Falcons were in clear rebuild mode then went 7-10 in 2022. With Atlanta’s new draft classes developing, adding a sudden-impact position like running back, then dropping $100 million into the defense, the team can’t again go 7-10.
That’s just not enough winning. Smith needs to show the Falcons are heading in the right direction. After three years, it looks like the Falcons are regressing despite some clear roster improvements.
Either way, Smith came up short at the end of the season. National reporter Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report reported that multiple sources believe Smith is “likely” out.
Sources to @BleacherReport: There has been a growing belief in the last two weeks that #Falcons HC Arthur Smith was in trouble if the team collapsed.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) January 7, 2024
Owner Arthur Blank has not been happy with the performance. After last week’s performance and the way today ended, sources… https://t.co/uwwptGvbqz pic.twitter.com/3Kk5gjz70x
I’ll place this in the “rumor” bucket, as we don’t have a good read on who the sources are, or if those sources have information from those close to the Falcons. At worst, this could be simply reading the tea leaves. Still, Schultz has been a national reporter for some time while nabbing some Falcons news first in the past.
Still, if earlier reports are to be believed, Blank went into Sunday unsure if he would retain Smith. Maybe it was clear that with a bad loss, Smith would certainly be out. Well we do have a very bad loss.
There’s nothing official but Arthur Smith seems to face long odds to return to Atlanta next season.