Is Mike Smith on the hot seat?

Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith signed a contract extension through 2016 this offseason. (John Bazemore / AP)

Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith signed a contract extension through 2016 this offseason. (John Bazemore / AP)

A season after reaching the NFC Championship game, the Atlanta Falcons went 4-12 under head coach Mike Smith.

The offensive line struggled. The wide receivers corps limped (no pun intended) through with injuries to Julio Jones and Roddy White.

Which NFL coach is most likely to be out of a job this season?

  • Jason Garrett, Cowboys (43%, 347 Votes)
  • Rex Ryan, N.Y. Jets (18%, 144 Votes)
  • Mike Smith, Falcons (18%, 144 Votes)
  • Dennis Allen, Raiders (9%, 72 Votes)
  • Joe Philbin, Dolphins (7%, 55 Votes)
  • Gus Bradley, Jaguars (5%, 42 Votes)

Total Voters: 804

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Yeah, yeah, yeah. Blah, blah, blah. Lived it, don’t need to be reminded, right?

This history lesson is brought to you by USA Today in their list of NFL coaches who will start the season under pressure to win.

Smith, who was signed to a contract extension through 2016, makes the list with the likes of the Raiders’ Dennis Allen, the Jaguars’ Gus Bradley, Dallas’ Jason Garrett, the Dolphins’ Joe Philbin and Rex Ryan of the New York Jets.

Do you believe Smith will be in trouble if the Falcons don’t have a winning season? Who else would you add to the list?

35 comments Add your comment

seminole

June 2nd, 2014
10:21 am

whats intriguing about smith is this: being a defensive coach, you wouldve THOUGHT he would have kept a philosophy of running the ball and good defense. early on, they had a decent offensive line that would make holes for michael turner, but no defense. now they have no offensive line ( last year) and no defense. i think the problem is him being a new coach and feeling like he has to let dimitroff make the philosophical decisions about how to build the team. its not working. the REASON a coach like dan reeves, parcells, etc. were good coaches is they controlled the draft and free agency process, insuring they got players that fit their schemes and philosophies…

Falcon's perspective

June 2nd, 2014
10:23 am

Absolutely, Coach M. Smith is on the hot seat! From an Executive Business standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. However, he is the best coach the Falcons has ever had. Do you remember the Falcons in the 80s? Smith cultivated a winning culture within the organization & patience is the key, but who wants to hear that. Though Bill Cowher will go down as one NFL’s best, he had more down than up seasons & finally won a championship! I hope we keep Coach Smith. but the truth of the matter is he might be terminated at the end of the season if the Falcons fail to show significant progress especially in the playoffs!

McGilder (Mckey) Whitehrst

June 2nd, 2014
10:28 am

Yes. The Smith era is definitely coming to an end. Nothing is.guarantee., even with a winning record or making it to the playoffs. A playoff loss would signal the end of the Smith/Domitoff ear. However. Let’s keep in mind. A new coach may not be much better, consideroing the Falcons will need to fill the seats in the new Falcon Stadium.

Bob in SF

June 2nd, 2014
10:31 am

If they go 4-12 again, Smitty is gone. Probably has to get to playoffs or at least very close to keep Mr. Blank happy.

THEBuckeye

June 2nd, 2014
10:32 am

He should be.

We Will Get Fooled Again

June 2nd, 2014
10:34 am

Blank fired Jim Mora two years after an NFC championship game appearance, so this wouldn’t be unprecedented. Of course Smitty has built up a lot more goodwill than Mora did, but last year was an unmitigated disaster given the expectations. Another dumpster-fire season would almost certainly get Smitty canned, but if the Falcons go, say, 8-8 and look generally competitive, my guess is he’ll keep his job. Blank talked at length in his post-season press conference about the importance of continuity.

Paddy

June 2nd, 2014
10:34 am

I believe if he makes the playoffs he is safe. The next year he needs to make a splash to be retained.

seminole

June 2nd, 2014
10:51 am

dan reeves was the BEST coach the falcons ever had. old school coach who can coach up ANYBODY………got the falcons into a superbowl, something mike smith hasnt done………

Insider

June 2nd, 2014
11:46 am

Reeves was the best! Smitty will be gone unless the Birds make the playoffs!

MH18

June 2nd, 2014
12:12 pm

Enter your comments here

MH18

June 2nd, 2014
12:23 pm

He goes 8-8, maybe 7-9, if there better at the end than the beginning, he will survive. Next year is his make or break year because Arthur has to PSL`s at a minimum of $4,000 a piece at the new “Birds Nest” just south of the Dome. I think the GM, should be feeling the heat, this yr, we don’t know but 2012 & 2013 he had mediocre C- drafts and I think this years Free agency was awful, there was some ballers out there and the Falcons had money. Last yrs defense couldn’t cover in the flats, their tackling was awful, the OL was abysmal. I don’t know if we made enough moves? Tampa Bay got better. If they get production at QB, they contend for a Super Bowl this yr?

MH18

June 2nd, 2014
12:38 pm

Posted last comment too soon; If he goes 8-8 he’s ok, maybe 7-9. Next year’s his make or break year because Arthur has PSL`s to sale for $4,000 apiece in his new Birds nest. Free agency was disappointing, considering their needs and because they had money but that’s on the GM. I don’t know if we did enough though? Tampa Bay got better, New Orleans is NO. If Lovie Smith finds production at QB, they contend this year for the Super Bowl this year.

CClub

June 2nd, 2014
12:43 pm

arthur wants a title very soon—atl better win big in the next season, or mike and thomas will be shoved out the door

MH18

June 2nd, 2014
12:43 pm

I hear Mr. Blank said that the team would be wearing the black pants this year? Anyone know the status on that?

ATLien

June 2nd, 2014
12:46 pm

Keep things in perspective! A missed Minnedosa field goal put the Falcons in the 1998 Super Bowl only to have their buts handed to them by Denver. Mike Smith’s ATLANTA coaching career has garnered 5 consecutive winning seasons out of 6 (totaling a record of 61-40; 1-4 in the playoffs). Dan Reeve’s ATLANTA coaching career had only 2 winning seasons out of 7 (totaling a record of 52-61; 3-2 in the playoffs) {2 of the 3 playoff wins came in the 1998 Super Bowl appearance year}. To date, I’d argue that Mike Smith is the best coach we’ve ever had. Too often fans want to fire a coach without putting things in perspective. Winning the big one is everyone’s goal in sports. But what people need to understand is that you can be great at what you do, but you also need a few things to go your way to become a champion.

MH18

June 2nd, 2014
12:54 pm

Anyone miss the “Swamp Fox” Marion Campbell? He was a great Defensive coordinator but he proved the “Peter principal” as a Head coach. In 1976 he led a Falcons team to a 59-0 loss to the L.A. Rams and the team finished 4-10-0. He was the Head Coach that drafted Deion Sanders though on his second stint at the helm in 1989.

Samuel

June 2nd, 2014
1:42 pm

If it’s about what Mr. Blank stated, that the Falcons goal is to win Super bowls. Then a losing season coupled with one playoff win, would probably put the nail in the coffin.

BT

June 2nd, 2014
2:14 pm

The NFL stands for NOT FOR LONG for any coach today. It is what have you done for me lately…money drives the train.

GTJim70

June 2nd, 2014
2:17 pm

Stupid. Only Atlanta coach to have back to back winning seasons. Yes, if he goes 4-12 again, then talk about hot seat, but give him a break.

MeloR

June 2nd, 2014
2:24 pm

Win 9 games or more, gets into the playoffs—keeps his job
win 8 or less — fired
in 2015—he better get to the superbowl or get very close — enough of these playoff failures–blank has had enough

gfw

June 2nd, 2014
2:47 pm

Is Mike Smith on the hot seat? Is this a rhetorical question? OF COURSE he’s on the hot seat. One more sub-500 season and he’s out.

dean

June 2nd, 2014
3:32 pm

Heck no. There are bad seasons and there are UGLY BAD seasons. Last season was a bad season but not an ugly bad season. Without verifying, I recall hearing they lost 8 games by 7 or less points last season. Yeah, they’re losses, but not all were Tampa Ugly

Tom Landry didn’t even have a winning season in Dallas until his 7th year. Granted he eventually won 2 Super Bowls, but in today’s “I WANT IT NOW!” society, he would have never made it past year 3, if not 2 years.

To anyone tempted to bring up the word “plateau”, remember what happened when Leeman Bennett was fired–>the death spiral began that took more than 15 years to somewhat recover from. And even that recovery was short-lived.

Hot seat my ass. If the players don’t get him fired, I think he stays for quite some time.

@MH18. In that 59-0 loss to the Rams, Ron Jaworski attempted one pass and completed it for 25 yards. The Falcons had a total of 22 passing yards the entire game.

birdrow

June 2nd, 2014
6:37 pm

DawgNole

June 2nd, 2014
7:18 pm

Falcon’s perspective
June 2nd, 2014
. . . Smith cultivated a winning culture within the organization & patience is the key, but who wants to hear that . . . .
________________________

NOBODY should want to hear it–considering the team’s NEVER won a championship in almost a half-century of competition.

hank 59

June 2nd, 2014
7:24 pm

I am serious falcons fan and I can tell you that coach Smith lacks the ability to finish a game and hold on to his teams lead. He also lacks play calling skills. Steven Jackson was a good addition, but running up the middle is wrong, show you have moves. We need Gruden as head coach.

UGA76

June 2nd, 2014
7:28 pm

Dimitroff is the one that needs to be evaluated very closely at the end of the season. The simple fact is the talent provided by fantasy football Dimitroff has been terrible on the lines. NO head coach could have done better with such horrible talent.

DawgNole

June 2nd, 2014
7:29 pm

ATLien
June 2nd, 2014
12:46 pm

. . . Winning the big one is everyone’s goal in sports. But what people need to understand is that you can be great at what you do, but you also need a few things to go your way to become a champion . . . .
________________________

Do you also “need a few things to go your way” to post a playoff record of 1-4?

DawgNole

June 2nd, 2014
7:31 pm

UGA76
June 2nd, 2014
7:28 pm
Dimitroff is the one that needs to be evaluated very closely at the end of the season. The simple fact is the talent provided by fantasy football Dimitroff has been terrible on the lines. NO head coach could have done better with such horrible talent.
_______________________

CO-SIGN–except that he should’ve been evaluated long before the end of this season.

RangeRover

June 2nd, 2014
8:12 pm

What a bunch of Goobers! If Roddy White isn’t blatantly held on the 4th and goal of of which the spines officials completely ignored it’s the Falcons, not the 49ers, inn the Super Bowl on 2012.

Lest year was an aberration; it happens. Look for a solid improvement this season and a team that is both once again competitive in every game and one that will return to what they were the previous five consecutive seasons…in playoff contention in December.

How soon some of you forget….

RangeRover

June 2nd, 2014
8:12 pm

“…spineless officials…”

tmc

June 2nd, 2014
9:47 pm

Smith should be on the hot seat.
His growing problem is cultivating a team that is good at many things without being great at anything.
When you do that and have injuries… you are in trouble. The other problem with the Falcons is the over spending where there shouldn’t be big money spent. (re: sam baker, justin blaylock, Devin hester 3 mil a year/3 years? are your kidding me)
I also believe Coach Smith is too soft in the media. He doesn’t want to say anything controversial or throw any players under the bus… great coaches use that as motivation… Smith is WAAAAAAAY too soft in all of the media interviews = hurts his perception.

Good lord no

June 2nd, 2014
10:20 pm

Wasn’t it the GM who put style over substance and built an offense long on skill players and short on the guys who give those skill players time to operate, i.e. the O line? Went cheap and lost Harvey Dahl, Tyson Clabo and didn’t attempt to sign Todd McClure, who has since stated he would’ve played another year had he been offered, as reported in this very rag.
I know, Clabo, Dahl have been less effective since, but when they were here together, they complemented each other well.
Smitty? No way. Sir Thomas Dimitroff? Most assuredly.

Falcon's perspective

June 2nd, 2014
10:24 pm

Mr. DawgNole,
I definitely understand your frustration and instant gratification is the era we are truly living in; however, we’re not there yet! Do I believe we will get there? Absolutely! Please, take into consideration the missed opportunities, the costly celebrations (we are so notorious for), & that desperation / determination you see in championship teams (we need big picture perspective.) Not to criticize our Falcons because I believe that they want it as desperately as the next team, but we don’t act like we’re champions. It’s an attitude developed in the locker room, on the practice field, “after business hours,” and translated into spectacular performance in big games. I will never forget the fire I saw in Matt Ryan’s eyes as Green Bay slaughtered us 48-21, but behind him on the bench players did not represent themselves as “lesson learned” and “you got us today but tomorrow is another day!” My point is, it takes time to develop a winning organization and management is definitely doing their due diligence to make this aspiration a reality but to bring another coach in might not give us the resolution anticipated. Just be patient my friend! It may happen this year, because they have tasted success or it might take some more years! That’s all I am saying….

Michael

June 3rd, 2014
7:50 am

Coach Mike Smith is my hero and I’d be very sad if he got fired. Mike has a great personality and excellent morals. Smith may have a 1-4 playoff record but he has an excellent record of 60-37.

DaVoice

June 3rd, 2014
7:51 am

All winning franchises have one thing in common….stability. Losing programs have the reverse in common. You can not achieve a CONSISTENT winning program by constantly changing jockies. Mr. Blanks is a very successful business man who is aware of that. You change directions, not leadership, as the Falcons have done this year. And if there is adequate progress, in the eyes of Mr. Blanks, then the Birds will stay the course.
If there is a change in leadership, that is no guarantee of success since you will be changing offenses and defenses. Best guess is that there will be no changes this year regardless unless there is a repeat of last year. Only if and when Mr. Blanks is convinced that the current leadership can not succeed even with course changes, will a change will be made, not before.