The Atlanta Falcons have unquestionably been one of the NFL's most disappointing teams this season, but head coach Mike Smith will reportedly be retained regardless of how poorly the team continues to perform.
According to Michael Silver of NFL.com, sources are reporting that Falcons owner Arthur Blank has personally told Smith that he will remain the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons in 2014.
Following Week 11's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Blank also said that he had confidence in Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, per Silver.
I do. I absolutely, do. They've earned it over the last five years. This is a tough business ... The guys are proven leaders and proven by success. Their records speak for themselves. They'll do the work that has to be done with my full support.
Smith getting fired was nowhere near the radar entering the season, especially after Atlanta fell just short of reaching the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 campaign. The Falcons narrowly lost to the San Francisco 49ers, and most considered them to be among the top contenders in the NFC once again this year.
Things clearly haven't gone as planned, though, with the Falcons currently mired in a four-game losing streak and sporting a 2-8 record overall.
It wouldn't be fair to blame all of that on Smith, however, especially since Atlanta has dealt with a number of significant injuries, particularly on offense.
Stud wide receiver Julio Jones was lost for the season in Week 5 after fracturing his foot, while wide receiver Roddy White and running back Steven Jackson have also missed games and been ineffective in others due to nagging injuries.
A great deal of pressure has fallen on the shoulders of quarterback Matt Ryan as well as the defense, and neither has delivered.
The defense has been especially porous in allowing the third-most rushing yards per game this season. Also, it hasn't allowed less than 23 points in a game this season, which is troubling considering Smith's defensive background.
With that said, the Falcons are vying for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, which means they could very well land an impact player on that side of the ball, such as South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
The talent is unquestionably in place, and if Smith's past success as Atlanta's head coach is any indication, he should be able to turn things around provided Blank lives up to his word.
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