Arthur Smith's epic failures influenced Atlanta selecting Michael Penix Jr.

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

The more you dig into the Atlanta Falcons' reasoning for taking Michael Penix Jr. 8th overall with Kirk Cousins on the roster the more you see the influence of Arthur Smith. Raheem Morris was interviewed for the head coach position before the Falcons opted to go with the former Titans's coordinator.

Part of what won Morris the job this time around was referencing the first time around with Atlanta. Raheem Morris warned the Falcons of the danger of not having a plan behind Matt Ryan. This seemed far less attractive than Arthur Smith who offered success with Ryan Tannehill as evidence.

Give Arthur Smith any quarterback with an ounce of talent and the coach believed the results would be telling. This was true, only not in the way that Arthur Smith so firmly believed. After setting Matt Ryan up for failure the chase of Deshaun Watson pushed Ryan out the back door and left Smith choosing what to do at the quarterback position.

Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder were the answers the head coach and front office landed on. Mariota spent time with Smith and the Titans this influenced the decision-making that would follow and doom the next two seasons. Smith's signing of Mariota isn't what doomed his time with Atlanta.

It was drafting Desmond Ridder and refusing to start him when it was clear Mariota wasn't giving the team a chance. Starting Ridder only when the season was over and there wasn't enough time to fully evaluate the rookie. This wouldn't have been the end if Smith's ego had allowed fair and accurate evaluation.

Instead, the coach opted to put his full belief behind Ridder and fail to draft another option or add a relaible bridge quarterback who could play in Smith's system. The results were obvious and Ridder's time with Atlanta quickly came to an end with Smith doing exactly what he said he wouldn't playing musical chairs at the quarterback position.

This is the end of the reasoning behind Terry Fontenot, Arthur Blank, and Raheem Morris choosing to draft Penix Jr. 8th overall despite signing Cousins. The franchise is so scarred by the quarterback play under Smith they will accept being above average afraid of going back to the quarterback limbo Smith put them firmly into.

This mentality of being content with being good but failing to take swings to be great is why the move continues to catch heat. Michael Penix Jr. is an exciting prospect and seems to be a great leader. However, Atlanta drafted the quarterback with a pick that could have impacted winning right now.

Teams that have a Super Bowl or bust mentality aren't spending a top twenty pick on the quarterback position unless they believe they are going to need a starter. The move is a direct result of Arthur Smith's failure at the position in Atlanta.