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Blank Says Smitty Not On Hot Seat


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Blank: Mike Smith not on hot seat

March, 16, 2012

Mar 16

12:30

PM ET

By Pat Yasinskas

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has given a ringing endorsement of coach Mike Smith.

There’s been some talk in league circles that Smith could be on the hot seat because he’s failed to win a playoff game despite having a winning record in each of his first four seasons. Blank strongly shot down that talk in a conversation with Pete Prisco.

"I think if you tell me Mike Smith is on the hot seat, then find a hot seat on the North Pole," Blank said. "That's as hot a seat as he's on. That perception is about as far from the truth as you can get."

Some of the speculation out there has included suggestions that Smith could be out of a job if he doesn’t win a playoff game in the 2012 season. But Blank told Prisco that Smith is safe, no matter what happens next season.

"Absolutely," Blank said. "He will be fine. He will be here for a very long time."

I think Blank sincerely believes that and he should because Smith is the best coach in franchise history. In a position where many have mercurial personalities, Smith is an exception. He’s a steady hand and I think that’s why his team has been a consistent winner in the regular season. But I also think part of the reason Blank believes Smith will be around is because the owner firmly believes the coach and the Falcons are gong to take the next step next season. Right after their playoff loss to the Giants last season, Blank publicly said that simply getting to the postseason isn’t acceptable.

Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff know that and I’m pretty sure they feel the same way. They’re both competitive guys and they don’t like coming up short in the postseason any more than Blank does.

There’s a good foundation in Atlanta and Blank doesn’t need to put pressure on Smith and Dimitroff to take the next step. They’ve put that pressure on themselves. The Falcons already have changed offensive and defensive coordinators and made other switches on the coaching staff. They’ve been quiet in free agency so far, but I expect Smith and Dimitroff to make a couple of calculated strikes at some point.

Despite the ugly loss to the Giants and some inconsistency in the regular season, I still view the Falcons as a team with the arrow pointing up. There will be some tweaks -- for the better -- in the offensive and defensive schemes. There will be some personnel added in free agency and the draft.

There also have been lessons learned in each of the four seasons that came up short of the ultimate goal. Smith and Dimitroff are sharp guys. They’re also very analytical. Fans can say the Falcons haven’t done anything this offseason and that’s true from a personnel standpoint. But Smith and Dimitroff haven’t been sitting still.

I’m sure they’ve used the past few months figuring out how they can take the next step.

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I gotta disagree if we don't make the play-offs or get embarrassed again like we did last year trust me this statement AB is making could well change and in hurry at that.

Nah, I seriously doubt he'll be on the hot seat, even if he has another early playoff exit.No need to tear ish up and rebuild with another head coach.
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Consistantcy is the key, ask the Rooneys and the Bill Cowher era. He was the coach forever before they won a Super Bowl, but they were competetive most of the time he was there, as we have been with Smitty. I hope the new coordinators provide a nice spark, and be all the change this team needed.

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Consistantcy is the key, ask the Rooneys and the Bill Cowher era. He was the coach forever before they won a Super Bowl, but they were competetive most of the time he was there, as we have been with Smitty. I hope the new coordinators provide a nice spark, and be all the change this team needed.

I couldn't agree more!

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Nah, I seriously doubt he'll be on the hot seat, even if he has another early playoff exit.No need to tear ish up and rebuild with another head coach.

I'm not sure about that.

I mean how much more can AB take he looked pretty pi**ed in that presser with MS and TD and basically they off loaded there coordinators people will say no they left but really they were on the edge of the cliff and basically if they didn't get jobs elsewhere I believe they would have got pushed outta here.I think MS to be honest is in the hotseat AB may say something else but everyone knows what the NFL means Not For Long.

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As a CEO of a company myself no employee should ever think he or she is safe from termination. Even though I like Smithy and he shouldn't be on the hot seat as owner you never let him know that.

Seems to me that's a matter of personal leadership style not a "never" kind of statement. I'm interested to know if your company has a 75B+ market cap.

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Like I said before, it is a long way from here to another first round playoff loss or possibly not making the playoffs. No need to have Smith and the team worrying about this all season. How many times have we seen owners defending their coach to the end days before they are let go. If I were Smith and most fans, I wouldn't take to much from this.

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I gotta disagree if we don't make the play-offs or get embarrassed again like we did last year trust me this statement AB is making could well change and in hurry at that.

About 3 weeks ago, John Elway said that Tim Tebow was "his guy". Yes, things change quickly.

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If anyone wants Mike Smith fired, please take a long walk off a short cliff. I'm not happy about the early playoff exits, but considering the track record for the Falcons in their history, and where we are now, I could do this every year. Consistently in the playoffs, winning records; I would take this all day over #1 draft picks.

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If anyone wants Mike Smith fired, please take a long walk off a short cliff. I'm not happy about the early playoff exits, but considering the track record for the Falcons in their history, and where we are now, I could do this every year. Consistently in the playoffs, winning records; I would take this all day over #1 draft picks.

Please be a little understanding if your opinions aren't shared by everyone.

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We always want a quick fix. Most "coaches of the year" are someone who took their team from nowhere to somewhere the next year, and it's funny cause our coach did that. The "hot seat" naw, I'm sure Mr. Blank want's to win a playoff game just as bad as we do, but he also realizes that we have reached a level of consistentcy that many teams don't achieve. Why risk returning to the days of JIm Mora, and Bobby Quitrino? I think at least at this moment he is gonna ride with Smitty all day long. We will get that playoff win, then what will it be? I'm sure someone will find something, so i'll take at least getting there with the chance to play for it all then 5-6 years of top 5 picks.

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I'll never forget Rankin Smith firing Leeman Bennett cause we reached a "plateau".

Within two years Dan Henning had absolutely WRECKED what was once a Super Bowl caliber team. That plateau sure looked pretty darn nice from the depths of he11 to which we descended.

Even recently we've goofed. Blank listened to the fans in '03 and pulled a quick trigger on Dan Reeves because he didn't have a "back-up plan" for Mike Vick's broken leg. (Like really???...how many 4.3 QBs with 75 yard rocket arms are roaming around as backups?)

Arthur learns from his mistakes and studies the success stories like Pittsburgh and New England. He won't make that mistake again. In fact, I think if you asked him his biggest mistake of his tenure in confidence, he'd say it was firing Reeves.

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I'll never forget Rankin Smith firing Leeman Bennett cause we reached a "plateau".

Within two years Dan Henning had absolutely WRECKED what was once a Super Bowl caliber team. That plateau sure looked pretty darn nice from the depths of he11 to which we descended.

Even recently we've goofed. Blank listened to the fans in '03 and pulled a quick trigger on Dan Reeves because he didn't have a "back-up plan" for Mike Vick's broken leg. (Like really???...how many 4.3 QBs with 75 yard rocket arms are roaming around as backups?)

Arthur learns from his mistakes and studies the success stories like Pittsburgh and New England. He won't make that mistake again. In fact, I think if you asked him his biggest mistake of his tenure in confidence, he'd say it was firing Reeves.

I totally agree. Michael Vick never came close to reaching the same level of success with the Falcons that he had under that one year with Reeves.

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There were disputing stories about Elway conspiring with Shanahan to get rid of Dan Reeves many years back. Alot of that hit the press during our Super Bowl (un)appearance. I think now we're seeing how some of that developed.

I'd bet that at some point before he completely retires, Elway will regret the way he dumped Tebow like a cheap date when the homecoming queen showed up. We haven't seen the last of Tim Tebow as an NFL QB. Mark it.

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