Arthur Smith was hired by the Atlanta Falcons in 2021 hoping to turn the fortunes around for the franchise. In the two seasons that he has been at the helm, the team is a combined 14-20 and has yet to be over .500 at any point during his tenure.
So naturally people are asking whether or not Arthur Smith is in a do-or-die situation in 2023. Let's evaluate and tell whether or not the third-year head coach is in danger of losing his job if his team does not produce.
Is Arthur Smith on the hot seat for the 2023 NFL Season?
To determine whether or not Arthur Smith is on the hot seat, we have to go back to when the Atlanta Falcons hired the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator.
Arthur Blank hired both Smith and Terry Fontenot with his binoculars on. He realized what these two guys were taking over—a lacking roster that had major salary cap issues. I guarantee that Blank had the discussion with those two during the interview process and, specifically, Fontenot laid out a plan to fix the cap situation.
Obviously, Arthur Smith focuses on coaching the players he has during the season, nevertheless, it would be unfair to expect Smith to win the Super Bowl with Marcus Mariota guiding the offense and Grady Jarrett rushing the passer by himself.
After clearing so much money off of the books throughout the past two years, the Falcons have finally been able to build a roster with flexibility. We can all agree that this roster is finally starting to look like something.
This is why I believe that the clock starts now for Arthur Smith. As much as the organization didn't want to admit it, the past two years were essentially throwaway years and/or development years for the younger players, thus it would be unfair to expect Smith to make the playoffs—much less the Super Bowl.
If Smith doesn't make the playoffs this season it will be strike one on his resumé. Unless absolute disaster strikes (which would require fundamental issues from his coaching style, á la Urban Meyer), I don't see a situation where he is fired this season.
Now, if he has two straight years of failure with this roster then we might be able to talk about his seat being hot.