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I tend to believe that even if they had gotten into the playoffs by beating the Carolina Panthers yesterday he may very well have gotten fired. What's crazy is that I think there's a very real possibility that had he won his first round game that he STILL may have gotten fired. That's how bad these last two seasons have been for the Atlanta Falcons. None of those hypotheticals mattered though as the Falcons were completely beaten in every phase of the game by the Carolina Panthers yesterday.
To his credit, Coach Smith stood up there in front of the reporters yesterday and took responsibility and took it like an adult. I find no joy in his firing although I believe it's in the best interests of my NFL team. What does concern me though is that Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff will be retained.
In my view, and I believe it's one shared by many Falcons fans, Thomas Dimitroff is far more responsible for the failings of this team than the head coach is. He built a flawed team by not drafting better talent along both lines. Compounding that is that his free agency fixes failed him spectacularly. The defense got not pass rush and never even met that standard of "adequate" that may have allowed the offense to win some games. The offensive line let their QB Matt Ryan spend entirely too much time on his back and/or running for his life. This is all made worse by something I posted on when I first started SAW. That is the trade that landed the Falcons Julio Jones and it was a gamble at the time and one that has ultimately hurt this team in the long run. Thomas went for a flashy new toy for Matt, but sacrificed depth and picks to get it done. Julio's here and I'm glad we have him, but it appears the initial concerns were absolutely correct. Perhaps if Dimitroff had a better eye for talent he could've still won that gamble. It hasn't played out that way though and I feel the GM has gotten his coach fired because of it.
There are several reasons being floated to explain how GM Thomas Dimitroff still has a job. A couple I've seen are that most GMs get two coaches before they are shown the door. Another is that the heading coach gig here in Atlanta is the most attractive of those on the market. The GM deserves some credit for that apparently or he's part of the draw I suppose. I don't find these arguments to be without merit, but as an Atlanta Falcons fan I'd feel a heck of a lot better today if I knew a new head coach and GM were on their way.
As it stands only Mike Smith has paid the price for the Falcons' failings. I think that's a mistake.