Falcons: Is this a make-or-break year for Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot?
In the NFL, third-year head coaches—and occasionally general managers—are usually scrutinized the most. The NFL is a harsh business and if you don't produce, you oftentimes don't get a mulligan. This is seemingly the situation the Atlanta Falcons find themselves in as they are going into their third year under the regime that succeeded Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff.
That begs the question, are head coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot on the hot seat in 2023?
Could the Atlanta Falcons hire a new regime next year or are they committed to their current one?
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has been pretty public recently and has made some very telling comments, many of which have been centered around the general manager and head coach he hired just over two years ago—Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith.
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Arthur Smith is going into his third season as the lead man, yet he still hasn't had a record over .500. This has led many people in the media to tie the head coach to the 'hot seat.'
However, they should really slow down, because Blank seems pretty dedicated to his current combo of head coach and general manager. Blank has routinely brought up the salary cap situation that Fontenot inherited and how he was forced to make dramatic changes these past two offseason, which resulted in a less-than-ideal team for Arthur Smith to work with.
It feels as though Arthur Blank has voided the past two years from his evaluation. It also seems like this year will be when the clock starts ticking for the GM and HC. Week one of the 2023 season is presumably when Blank will really start the on-the-field evaluation
So, to answer the question, no, I would be shocked if this is a make-or-break season for either Terry Fontenot or Arthur Smith. Arthur Blank has been realistic in his evaluation of the team over the past couple of years—he knows there hasn't been enough talent to win a Super Bowl.
It would take an Urban Meyer-type collapse for either of them to get fired prior to the 2024 season.
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