FLOWERY BRANCH — The oldish-looking coach who has been accused of putting his quarterback in leg shackles and handcuffs insists that his reputation is undeserved.
“Everybody may have this vision that coach Smith is a 50-plus-year-old, gray-haired conservative guy,” Mike Smith said Tuesday. “But that’s not the case. By nature, I am not a conservative person. We are going to be aggressive and we are going to be physical.”
With Smith as their head coach and Matt Ryan as their quarterback, the Falcons have gone 33-15, easily the best three-year run in franchise history. So criticism obviously is in short supply. But with two quick playoff exits and Ryan fizzling in both postseason games — four interceptions, two fumbles, two turnovers returned for touchdowns – shortcomings tend to get magnified by the populace.
Some of the postseason problems obviously fall on Ryan. But general