Falcons: Putting Arthur Smith's offensive failures into perspective

Arthur Smith has not gotten the job done as the playcaller for the Atlanta Falcons and these stats and facts prove it

Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons
Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

Arthur Smith needs to go, simple as that. He is in his third year as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and he has yet to prove anything.

His offensive scheme has been severely lacking. He has struggled to lead his offense to points while other coaches around the league have been able to overcome a lot more and score many more points. Let's give Smith's failure as the offensive playcaller some context.

Falcons HC Arthur Smith's offense has been atrocious

The Atlanta Falcons were supposed to be led by a great offense these past three years; instead, we have been led by an inconsistent offense and bad defense in 2021, an offense that faded as the season progressed and an inconsistent defense in 2022, and a bad offense and a great defense in 2023.

All of that has added up to 20 wins with three games to go in year three. It has not been good enough and there are plenty of stats and facts that prove that.

Arthur Smith's offense since he took over:

The Atlanta Falcons only scored more than 30 points once since 2021, and that was against the Panthers in the 2022 overtime thriller where they put up 37 points.

The Falcons were able to score an Arthur Smith-high 34 points in four quarters during that game in week eight of 2022. Since then, only three teams—the Steelers, Cardinals, and Patriots—haven't scored more than 30 points in a game. For context, the Falcons did it four times in 2020 alone.

Here are some stats on how many points the Falcons have been held to or under in the 48 games (as of week 15) under Arthur Smith:

  • ≤ 5 pts: 2 games
  • ≤ 10 pts: 7 games
  • ≤ 15 pts: 14 games
  • ≤ 20 pts: 25 games
  • ≤ 25 pts: 35 games
  • ≤ 30 pts: 47 games

That means that the Falcons have scored 20 or fewer points in 52% and 25 or fewer in 73% of games. Do you need me to tell you that that is not good enough from an offensive-minded head coach?

Arthur Smith's offense this season:

This season, the Falcons' highest-scoring game was in week nine when they put up 28 points. Only three other teams haven't gone over 28 points this season—the Titans (scored 28 three times), the Steelers (season high of 26 points), and the Panthers (season high of 24 points).

Now think about it, the Titans have put up 28 points three times, which is better than the Falcons, but those two other teams have both made dramatic changes to their coaching staff. The Panthers switched playcalling duties twice before outright firing Frank Reich and the Steelers fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

The Falcons? They have done nothing. Specifically, Arthur Smith has done nothing and remains defiant in handing over playcalling duties.

Sure, the quarterback situation is not good, but that can be said about a boatload of other teams.

Other teams have had to overcome huge quarterback injuries or quarterback problems. The Bengals continue to score despite not having Joe Burrow, the Vikings have had some decent games without Kirk Cousins, the Colts have put up points without rookie Anthony Richardson, and the Giants have had some alright games without any good quarterbacks. The list is expansive.

It proves that good coaching and a good scheme can overcome a lot. And the opposite is true too. We have seen what a bad scheme can do to a team.

This Falcons team has Bijan Robinson, Drake London, Kyle Pitts, Jonnu Smith, Tyler Allgeier, Cordarrelle Patterson, and one of the league's best offensive lines, yet, they are coming off of a game where they could only muster seven points.

Arthur Smith has struggled to score points all year with some of the best weapons in the NFL. Meanwhile, the following things have happened:

  • The Raiders scored 30 points and 63 points in games started by UDFA QB Aidan O'Connell and an interim head coach
  • The Vikings scored 27 and 31 points in games without Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson
  • The Bengals scored 27 points and 34 points twice with UDFA QB Jake Browning
  • The Cardinals scored 28 points twice without Kyler Murray
  • The Giants scored 31 points twice with Daniel Jones and Tommy DeVito
  • The Jets scored 30 points with Zach Wilson
  • The Browns scored 39, 33, and 31 points with Deshaun Watson, Phillip Walker, and Joe Flacco
  • The Colts have scored 38, 31 (twice), and 30 points with Gardner Minshew
  • The Bears have scored 30 points with Tyson Bagent and 40 and 28 points twice with Justin Fields

The crazy part is that some of those teams have had not-so-good coaching.

When you look at how he runs his offense, the route combinations and spacing are atrocious. His sequencing is way too predictable and he does nothing to help his players perform to their highest level.

In 14 games this season, the big three (Bijan Robinson, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts) have combined to be the rusher or target on over 50% of the offensive snaps in just three games. That number has been as low as 20%.

Those are the three players you have invested top-ten picks in over the past three years and they aren't even combining to be 50% of your offense. The scheme is simply broken.

And for a team that supposedly likes to run the ball, the offense has only played more snaps than the defense in five games. This defense is also one of the best in getting off the field on third down.

There is little, if anything, this offense is doing right. They have not improved through Smith's three years. We have scored ten or fewer points this season the same number of times we did in his first season.

I don't think there is any question about what Arthur Blank's decision should be—Arthur Smith should be fired. He should be fired even if the Falcons win their final three games because the improvement has not been there. He has not shown he can lead consistency or a good offense. He is a good guy and his players love him, but that does not make him a good head coach.

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