Look, your argument is apt in this light:
The Falcons have struggled throughout this year, and yes over the course of Smitty's tenure in the 3rd quarter. That's likely because they don't make great halftime adjustments. But part of that is also because they typically are up at halftime, and thus don't have to make major adjustments at halftime like their opponent. What Smitty & Co. have done well at however is after quarter 3, they usually adapt and adjust for the 4th quarter, which is why this team is typically so good in the 4th quarter.
These are coaching issues. It's safe to say that Mike Smith is not a great in-game adjuster. Is he a bad game manager? I don't think so. Sure, he makes some mistakes from time to time, and probably has made more in the past month than he has done at any point. But what typically happens, over the course of the entire 5 years, is that there are 3, 4, or 5 instances per year where he makes a bad game management call, and we blow them out of proportion because of how few they are. If you're telling me that on average, once a month Smitty is going to have the message boards/twitter blowing up with a bad decision, that's something I'm able to live with because I think relative to most teams that is fairly few instances. And IMO that's an area that is able to grow and develop and get better with time. It's no different than having a young QB.
And what you deem as a coaching issue is really a lack of execution issue. The Falcons were shut out in the 2nd half because of:
1. On their first drive, Ryan threw a pick. Bad execution.
2. On their 2nd drive, Ryan fumbled. Bad execution.
THose were their only 2 possessions of the third quarter.
3. Their next drive to open the 4th, they ran the right play, the problem was that Gonzo couldn't break the tackle on the out pattern and was a yard shy of the sticks on 3rd down. Bad execution.
4. Their next drive was the big drive at the end where they got the ball with 8 minutes to go. In your eyes, you think they should have scored quickly even if it meant settling for 3 points. Let's say that scenario plays out, and the Falcons had gotten a quick FG with about 5-6 minutes left. If you're down 28-27 and its the 49ers ball with that much time out, where you are WRONG is that by taking the quick 3 points, you have not increased your chances of winning the game by any degree
. The FACT is that the D has not stopped the 49ers once since the 1st quarter besides a missed chip shot FG by Akers, and a flukey goalline fumble. At that point in the game, the 49ers had marched up and down the field on your defense at will for 40 straight minutes. The last stop you got was at the 2-minute mark in the 1st quarter.
If you're at the point with 8 minutes in the game, and considering how the game has been played up until that point, if you're Mike Smith or any competent NFL coach, you should realize that if you give the 49ers the ball back, they are going to score and you will lose
. So when you get the ball with 8 minutes to go, your plan is to score 7 to put the game up 31-28. Anything less
and you've screwed yourself over. You need 7 and hopefully leave as little time as possible for the 49ers to have in order to force them to march the length of the field in less than a minute, and have to kick a FG just to tie
and send it into OT.
So one of your key arguments for why Smitty is a bad coach and deserves to be fired, is not an example of bad coaching, it's an example of GREAT coaching. And due to good coaching and execution the Falcons were able to bleed 7 minutes off the clock, and be in prime posiiton to score that TD. But then they didn't execute on those last 2 plays. Besides the ref for the no call on the PI/holding against Roddy, if I'm going to blame anyone it would be Ryan for not dialing Tony's number in either sitch.
If, you're looking for a scapegoat for last week's loss as far as coaches go, then the clear culprit is Mike Nolan, as his schemes put Stephen Nicholas and Thomas DeCoud among others on islands against Vernon Davis, a TE they couldn't cover.
If you're looking for a scapegoat for why Seattle came back, then you need to blame Koetter for his
conservative play-calling. Mike Smith doesn't call plays. But to sit there and be upset because the Falcons decided to run the ball in that game is silly because that forgets that the Falcons ran for 130 yards in the 1st half. And the fact that their play-calling only got "too conservative" after Ryan threw a bad INT because he was too aggressive.
But let me reiterate, I'm not blaming Ryan, Nolan, or Koetter. Unlike some, I'm not looking for a scapegoat as to why the Falcons aren't in the Super Bowl. The flaws of this team have been known for months, and nothing that has occurred in the past 2 weeks has changed that.
fun gus wrote:
well let me ask you this: if it's Sean Payton on the sideline overseeing this team with all of it's flaws and weapons, do you honestly think he makes the same decisions Smitty made? I mean, the Saint D was the worst in the league.
Would it be different? Of course it would. They are different coaches. Payton has been accused over the years of being too aggressive, while Smitty too conservative. But is one better than the other? No, I can't say that. My personal preference is aggressive coaches. But I'm not going to say that's better
. It's like political preference. I am a liberal, but is that better than conservatism? I like brunettes, but are they better than blondes?
But if you're suggesting that Sean Payton would have been better in that situation, I don't know if I agree. But even if I did, what's your point? If the argument is that Payton is a better coach than Mike Smith, I'm not going to really disagree with you there. The proof is in the pudding, just look at their head to head records. But again what is the point?
How is the any different than the arguments I've heard over the years about Ryan? When compared to Brees, Brady, Manning, Rodgers, etc. is Ryan inferior yes? But compared to Chandler, Fitzpatrick, Josh Freeman, Newton, Jeff Garcia, Rich Gannon, Culpepper, Vick, Romo, Kaepernick, Flacco, is he superior? Yes.
It's the same with Smitty. Is Belichick, Payton, the Harbaughs better? Sure. But Smitty IMO is on par with Mike Tomlin, Mike McCarthy, maybe a notch below Coughlin. Those are guys htat have won rings. Smith hasn't yet, but if you're asking me to rank the best coaches in the league sans-hardware, Smitty would be in the Top 5 if not Top 3.
The way I see it, if you have the 7th best guy out of 32, then you have no room to complain. If you have the 11th best guy out of 32, then you have no room to complain. It's not until you get down 17th, or 21st or whatever when you really now have room to complain.