Aug 8, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith shown on the field during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half at the Georgia Dome. The Bengals defeated the Falcons 34-10. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Smith is the winningest coach in Falcons history. That is a pretty solid point when defending him as Head Coach of our beloved football team. Through Coach Smith, Atlanta has had 2 first round byes, 2 division crowns, 5 consecutive winning seasons, and a total of 1 playoff victory. The Falcons are currently 1-4, and 4 games behind the rival New Orleans Saints. This is especially disappointing since such high hopes existed at the beginning of the season.
With the awful start, critics have been calling for Smith’s head. And rightfully so. Injuries have plagued the team, but is that a viable excuse? Or is it just a way to divert the attention from the lack of talent found the offensive and defensive lines? Either way, 1-4 is absolutely unacceptable and will more than likely push Atlanta out of playoff contention. Smitty could possibly be fired at the conclusion of the season. This draws the question of who would replace him, and there could be a few solid options out there (Jon Gruden, Brian Billick), but with the injury bug I don’t see Smith going anywhere.
As for the draft, if the offensive line isn’t addressed in Round 1 it will be a huge mistake. Talent must be added for Atlanta to have any sort of chance at a Super Bowl. Pass protection, run blocking, the whole package needs to be revamped. Sam Baker is back to being… well… Sam Baker, Garrett Reynolds is not living up to his 2012 play, and Konz is experiencing a sophomore slump. As odd as it sounds, the only bright spot on the O-Line is Lamar Holmes. Yes, Lamar Holmes. So it’s safe to assume Atlanta’s first pick will be spent on a lineman of some sort. Antonio “Tiny” Richardson (6’6″ 332 lbs) out of Tennessee is an intriguing LT prospect currently in his junior year, and is the only Tackle in college football to completely man-handle South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney. Keep an eye on Tiny, because I feel Atlanta has one on him as well.
I haven’t completely lost hope for a Championship this year, but I simply cannot see us getting there without Julio Jones. There is trade rumor however, so we may be seeing someone new in red and black by the end of the week. Until then, RISE UP.