What would a "late-season collapse" look like for Arthur Smith's Falcons?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons / Alex Slitz/GettyImages

We learned this week that the Atlanta Falcons are continuing to support Arthur Smith. It was made clear that unless there was a "Late-season collapse" Smith's job was going to be safe moving into next year. This begs the obvious question what does a late-season collapse look like for the Falcons?

Would losing to the one-win Panthers qualify? Missing the playoffs? Finishing the season under .500 yet again? There are plenty of ways to interpret a question that in truth Arthur Blank only knows the answer to.

The answer should be that anything short of making the playoffs is a late season collapse. The Falcons had a historically easy schedule in the worst division in the league. You are in year three with a talented roster and a quarterback that you picked after refusing to start him until the end of last season.

Arthur Smith has created each of his own problems and if the head coach cannot make the playoffs it should be viewed as a collapse. Arthur will have games against the Panthers, Colts, Bears, and Saints to determine Atlanta's fate.

Of those teams, only the Colts are anything close to resembling a contending team. The Falcons should win at least three of those games if not all four. If Smith fails to do that and the Falcons don't win the NFC South that is a collapse.

Whether or not Blank sees it as such is unknown but by definition with how the season started and the games Atlanta has lost, failing to make the playoffs would be a collapse. A collapse that should demand both Smith's job and a new starting quarterback.

To save his job Smith should have to make the playoffs and put together a capable game plan in round one. This doesn't mean Smith must win but at least show the ability to adjust something that the head coach has rarely done and ultimately what will chase him out of Atlanta.