Arthur Smith Warrants NFL Coach of the Year Consideration

The Atlanta Falcons new head coach, Arthur Smith, has done a commendable job in his first year with the team.
The Atlanta Falcons new head coach, Arthur Smith, has done a commendable job in his first year with the team. / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Not many people are talking about him, but the new head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Arthur Smith, has done a commendable job with the team in his first year.

Sure, the Falcons aren't serious contenders. WynnBET has their odds to win the Super Bowl set at +100000 (bet $1 to profit $1,000), but they still have a shot at the playoffs at 6-7, which is more than anyone could have expected from them this season. They clearly are in the beginning of a rebuild, cleaning house at the end of the last season and trading away star wide receiver Julio Jones.

A head coach is never going to be a big enough difference maker to turn an un-skilled and un-talented team into a Super Bowl winning club, but they should be able to make the most of what they have, and that's exactly what Smith has done.

Falcons Continue to Win Games They're Supposed to Win

In my opinion, the sign of a good coach is one that is able to win games that they're supposed to win.

The Falcons have played nine games this season against teams that currently have a losing record, and they're 6-3 in those games. Atlanta's only losses against sub-.500 teams so far in 2021 have come against Washington, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons avenged their loss against Carolina in Week 14, beating the Panthers 29-21, they only lost to Washington on a last second touchdown, and the loss to the Eagles came in the opening week of the season.

Arthur Smith deserves credit for those wins. They aren't all pretty, but being able to beat bad teams is the sign of a coach who knows what they're doing.

The Falcons issues this season have come against teams that out-match them on a skill and talent level. They've played four teams so far who have winning records, and they've been destroyed in all four of those matchups. The Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (twice) beat them by a combined score of 146-45.

I won't completely excuse those losses, but the Falcons don't have near enough talent or depth to be able to keep pace with those juggernauts.

The season likely won't be viewed as a successful one, but credit where credit is due. Arthur Smith has led the Falcons to more wins than they probably deserve in his first year at the helm.

If he is able to lead this roster to the playoffs, he would be deserving of being named NFL Coach of the Year.