Despite his team's disastrous 2013 performance in the face of championship expectations, Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith reportedly won't have to worry about his job security heading into the offseason. Team owner Arthur Blank has privately assured the sixth-year coach that he will be returning for the 2014 season, according to a report from the NFL Network.
Eleven weeks into a season many in Atlanta expected to end with confetti falling in New Jersey, the Falcons are 2-8 and in the middle of a four-game losing streak. At best, they can finish 8-8 this season -- though there are certainly no signs of a turnaround occurring any time soon -- and are currently last place in the NFC South.
Blank apparently doesn't see Smith as the problem, and defended him and general manager Thomas Dimitroff publicly following the team's 41-28 loss to the previously one-win Bucs last Sunday.
We love our head coach and we love our general manager. It's up to them to candidly look at everybody -- candidly, honestly, critically -- and see what we have to do. There should be nobody that escapes that critique. That's their job, and I have confidence they'll do it. And they are doing it. And they will do it.
The implication seems to be that major changes will be in store for the Falcons after the season, but that Smith and Dimitroff won't be among them.
Smith led the Falcons to a 13-3 regular season and a trip to the NFC championship last year and was expected to improve on that performance in 2013, but a myriad of injuries and execution issues have kept the Falcons grounded.
The 54-year-old Smith, whom Blank hired in 2008, was 56-24 in Atlanta coming into this season and has reached the playoffs in four of his five years. His worst finish was a 9-7 mark in 2009.