2. Atlanta Falcons are facing far higher expectations in 2023
There are now reasonable expectations in place for Smith and the Falcons. The Atlanta Falcons are now expected to contend for the NFC South title with Tom Brady retiring and the question marks at quarterback for both the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers. Despite a 14-20 record in his first two seasons as head coach, Arthur Smith has improved this Falcons team.
In the 2022, season the Falcons become one of the best running teams in the NFL as they embodied the phrase “pounding the rock.” Rookie running back Tyler Allgeier rushed for over 1,000 yards and the team finished near the top of the league in rushing yards per game. Desmond Ridder showed that he very well could be the next franchise quarterback if given time to develop. Fans already know about the abilities of Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and Avery Williams.
The postseason must be the goal for this upcoming season. There is plenty of young talent to work with along with money to spend in free agency as well as acquiring talent via the NFL draft. The Falcons have also been competitive under Smith, especially in 2022 as they were in many one-score games. The offense improved to scoring 22 points per game in 2022, which was a jump from 18 points per game in 2021. The defense saw improvement as well, as they allowed 22 points per game in 2022 and 27 points per game in 2021.
If the Atlanta Falcons fail to make the playoffs, Arthur Smith could very well be on the hot seat. Owner Arthur Blank has endured two straight losing seasons and will be expecting to watch his team win much more this upcoming season. On the other hand, Terry Fontenot will more than likely not be on the hot seat if this upcoming season does not go to plan considering how well he’s done given the limited cap space available at the start.