2. Arthur Smith
The job that head coach Arthur Smith has done this season with what is objectively a bad Atlanta roster is impressive. It is a season that should cement him as the Atlanta head coach and proves the Falcons chose correctly after parting ways with Dan Quinn.
However, this doesn’t mean Smith has been perfect in his first two seasons late game decisions and his continued loyalty to veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota have both been frustrating. This is an Atlanta team and fanbase that is well aware Mariota is not their quarterback of the future.
If Smith is going to continue to start him there will be increased pressure on the head coach to come up with a game plan that no longer has the benefit of Kyle Pitts. At least when Pitt is on the field the defense is made to respect Atlanta’s deep ball and ability to make a play down the field.
Now opposing defenses can simply put their best cover man on Drake London and focus on stopping the run forcing Mariota to put the ball in the air. Arthur Smith is obviously going to be well aware of this and forced to come up with a game plan to either keep the running game going or find ways to make Mariota a consistent passer that keeps the defense honest.