If the Falcons fire Smith, who’s Blank’s Big Name?

Who’s the short guy with Stoops? (AP photo)

Who's the short guy with Stoops? (AP photo)

Who’s the short guy with Stoops? (AP photo)

Let’s assume for a moment that Jason La Canfora’s report for CBS Sports is essentially true — that Arthur Blank has decided to fire Mike Smith and replace him with “a big-name head coach.” That wouldn’t conflict with anything I believe is apt to happen, nor would it clash with Blank’s make-a-splash nature.

Question is, which big-name head coach might come here? Jon Gruden is always the top name on such lists, but he shoved Rich McKay aside in Tampa Bay, and McKay isn’t just the Falcons’ president — he’s one of Blank’s closest friends. Bill Cowher hasn’t coached since the 2006 season, which was so long ago that Blank was firing Jim Mora. Tony Dungy hasn’t coached since 2008. Brian Billick might be a possibility, except for the detail that he happens to be Mike Smith’s brother-in-law.

A really Big Name would be Jim Harbaugh, who’s expected by many to bolt San Francisco, but then we have to ask: Why is a coach who has taken the 49ers to three consecutive NFC title tilts so eager to get out of town?

Obviously everyone considers Nick Saban the gold standard of football coaching, although he wasn’t very good with the Miami Dolphins (he lasted two seasons) and he already has a better job. Still, he’d constitute a Major Splash. But so, I’d argue, would Bob Stooops.

The Falcons kicked the tires, as it were, regarding Stoops when they wound up hiring Mora to replace Dan Reeves in January 2004. Back then, the Falcons were led to believe that Stoops wasn’t interested in leaving Oklahoma then — but that he might be in time. The Falcons came away with the impression that what they were hearing from Stoops’ camp was “not now, but maybe someday.” Could this be that day?

Stoops would not, however, be my first choice. Mine would be Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M. For what that’s worth.

From myajc: If Smith is fired, where do Blank’s Falcons turn?

Reader Comments 1

451 comments
Smitty99
Smitty99

wow! lots of armchair GMs and owners in this thread..lots of would've, could've and should'ves hoping for change. 

6 games left, Falcons are in 1st place and we just have to see how this pathetic division turns out  and who wins it at end of season, the way it's going..every team in this division has a shot..Arthur Blank is super loyal to TD and Smitty and if Mike Smith is fired, who will replace him..many falcon fans want Jim Harbaugh, newsflash!! that's not happening because Jim's wife doesn't want to leave the Bay Area..Oakland is the most likely destination for his family.

BobsUrUncle
BobsUrUncle

@MarkBradley I believe the question should be "When Mr. Blank fires Mike Smith, who should replace him?" if you saw the game yesterday it's clearly that he doesn't coach to win,the falcons were up 16-3 I think and some how squandered that lead away...... Mike Smith and the offense always vanish in big games when we have a huge lead ,we lost to the 49ers 2yrs ago & we lost to the Packers the year before that b/c for some strange reason he came out with the exact same game plan in the playoffs as the regular season game 2 weeks prior to that, is it the coaches lack of adjustments made during the game or Coach Smith scared to lose coaching style, either way its horrible and we need a new coach!!!! 

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

Falcons need both new coach and new QB -- if they lose this game Ryan needs too be benched. 


TJ Yates could have done as well as Ryan has done in the second half vs Detroit and this team


I would rather bring Vick back than have this POS Matty Melt QB another play


And this Jake Matthews is one big clod who cannot get out of his way

notPlanB
notPlanB

@DisgustedFan  I think, with a fair shake, Renfree would be the QB of choice. Very consistent. I was very disappointed on the long pass to JJ falling about 5 yards short. (was that Bucs or Panthers game?) JJ had about 3 steps on the defender as he got to the end zone and had to slow up. Realistically tho, MR will be the QB for years to come. No one will want him for $20 mill/yr.

TjIrish
TjIrish

Forget this big name coach talk. The def coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals is considered the best job candidate from the NFL assistant coaches pool. Arizona has been hit hard by injuries with the defense. Yet Arizona is still putting up a pretty good defense this year. Todd Bowles is is name. What dos Atlanta need to improve on to win? DEFENSE! What wins championships? DEFENSE!! Replace the front office too. If you improve the O line the passing game should be fine. The RB by committee.. Atlanta tries to brag about all these RB's but none are that great. Signing Jackson after he was clearly showing signs of age was unwise money spent. Bowles would come in and cleanup the D.

Jabmc
Jabmc

Blank need to fire Blank! He is to the Falcons, as he was to Home Deport.

BIG PROFIT!!!

notPlanB
notPlanB

I say, fire MS & TD. Especially TD but if a HC doesn't force his way into helping with the drafting and FA decisions, he is too weak to be a HC.

GWJ0525
GWJ0525

I love how firing the coach is the first thing everyone always wants to do. Please no more college coaches if we do change. Bobby Petrino still leaves a bad taste. In my opinion Smith has done a decent job. The man deserves another year or two. 5 good years and 2 bad is still a better record than what we have had in the past.

PeterNapa
PeterNapa

@GWJ0525 Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh were college coaches. Comparing Smith to what we had in "the past" is going back to the days that we were wretched which we are now and will continue to be in a third straight season if he returns.

honestjohnny
honestjohnny

@GWJ0525 Mike Smith is way too conservative!! And we all know you can't win at this level with that kind of coaching 

turftoe
turftoe

I say fire the GM,keep the Coach!

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

If the Falcons win their god awful division, will they actually follow through and fire Smith?

notPlanB
notPlanB

@NajehDavenpoop  Winning a division with a losing record is still a losing team. My thoughts are that it makes no difference. TD needs to go and we need new blood in the HC dept.

How's it going N D?

3rdbaseman
3rdbaseman

Fire TD first given his sorry personnel decisions:to wit:passing on Clay Matthews and BJ Raji for PeriabJerry , also the more reent failure to sign Julius Peppers or find a pass rusher in FA or via the draft during an entire off season when it was obvious to the entire world, with the exception of some Himilayan monk, that the pass rush was non existent and that at east one , and persons several pass rush specialists were essential.TD needs to go. What say you A town. I'm all the way out in central Arkansas and still feel the pain of these incompetent miscues

MotocrossSurvivor
MotocrossSurvivor

Blank's best bet might be looking at the staff of Valdosta or Lowndes.

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

A good coach would run like the wind to get away from Atlanta...a cursed sports city...as Sheriff Buford T. Justice would say, "theyah is noow way, noow way that I would coach yo footbawl team"...even IF you could get any of the coaches named, it wouldn't matter, they would morph into Marion Campbell...Atlanta, the graveyard of NFL coaches...go dogs


PS: Smitty will never get another head coaching opportunity.

topdog34
topdog34

Fire the coach who led the franchise to the first consecutive winning seasons? We've lost  4 starting offensive lineman. Blame the coach!

BirdBeak
BirdBeak

@topdog34 You are correct to a point. But what about all the draft busts and what about all the second half collapses, and what about not developing talent? All Smith deserves is to coach out the rest of the season then do something else. He is not a head coach material.

PR1ME
PR1ME

Why is everyone hollering for these college coaches.  We aren't rebuilding.  We need a punch in the mouth coach thats NFL ready.

PR1ME
PR1ME

All in all, Mike Smith has the final say of personnel.  When Dimitroff tried to put that crap on the field, it should have been vetoed.  STOP GETTING THESE NICE COACHES!!!  Atlanta has a big problem with attitude.  Any personnel (player or coach) that is available and have a blemish on their record is not even considered.  Even the sinners cast their stone here.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Then, if Polian feels we need a new coach, we get Brian Billick - both guys have won Super Bowls and know the NFL cold!

And neither one wears pink shirts and slicks his hair back with hair gel...

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

I did earlier - Arthur opens his fat checkbook and hires Bill Polian! And fires the other 3 useless GM's we currently have on staff.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Fire the dumpster fire Dimitroff - then decide what you should do regarding a coach. Not the other way around.

MoreySims
MoreySims

The falcons psyche is damaged--they need comforting and counsel to succeed. How about Dr. Phil as a coach or consultant!

JLTee
JLTee

The more appropriate question, in my view, is who replaces Dimitroff? I believe he is the main culprit behind the ineptitude of the Falcons. While Smith deserves his share of the blame, he won when he had a healthy mix of Dimitroff's and McKay's talent. However, once guys like Abraham were jettisoned off and the Magoodqoui Triad(Maponga, Goodman, Massaquoi) were tagged as "replacements", we hit the bricks real fast.

The loser in this whole equation is Mike Nolan. He was known as a stout DC everywhere he went, until Dimitroff gave him peanuts to play with. He'll be fired because his GM didn't give him jack to play with on defense.

Where is the uproar against Dimitroff?

notPlanB
notPlanB

@JLTee  Probably a little late but you are exactly correct. Especially on Nolan. I would get rid of TD & MS today and put Mike Nolan as interim HC. Look at the guys he left Harbaugh with in SF.

etherdome
etherdome

Mike Smith is a nice guy and a pretty good coach.  He stabilized an organization that was spinning out of orbit. The problem is that he was not well-connected in the NFL and he was not able to hire excellent coaches to help him.  


Hopefully, the next regime will be able to attract top quality assistants.

etherdome
etherdome

Fire Smitty and Tommy.  Then, build the team with an excellent personnel guy.  


1.  Eric DeCosta.  It will take a lot to pry him away from the Ravens, but he is ready to take over right now.  He has worked under Ozzie Newsome.  You can't find a better mentor than Ozzie Newsome. 


2.  Eliot Wolf.  This guy was literally raised to be a personnel guru.  He is the son of legendary Ron Wolf, one of the best GM's in NFL history.  Eliot started evaluating talent at a very young age.  He even interned with the Falcons years ago.  EW may not have the business chops to run the whole show, but paired with McKay, he would stock the shelves with great football talent.  


3.  Marc Ross.  He has a great deal of experience in all facets of the job.  He has grown up in the NY Giants' organization, so he is a steady manager and is not prone to bone-headed trades or acquisitions.  



The point here is to hire a better front office.  

Fierce
Fierce

If you're getting a new stadium, new coach, and perhaps a new regime in place soon, might as well be the perfect timing to change your uniforms as well. Those duds are getting old, and eliminating the black alternates didn't help. Something like what Oregon has might suffice. Wings on the shoulders, glossy numbers. At least we'll lose in style. 

zuzu331
zuzu331

The Uniforms aren't very sharp or intimidating,at all. Seattle updated their Unis,their philosophy,started winning games. It can happen...

MoreySims
MoreySims

how many thousands will arthur be charging for personal seat licenses in his new taxpayer paid for palace!!! his young girlfriend has expensive tastes---he needs to make millions more when the stadium is built

FightingFalcons
FightingFalcons

Get Jimmy Johnson in as GM or Head of player ops and get rid of Dimitrof and hire a head coach from there!! AND THEN WE RISE UP

FightingFalcons
FightingFalcons

Kevin Sumlin???!!! WHAT??!! Kevin Sumlin is struggling NOW without Manziel and wasn't doing to much of anything BEFORE Manziel.!!! No way

Fierce
Fierce

Jim Harbaugh might be a good hire. Look at what he did with the 49ers. If they had a quality QB, they would have won a few super bowls by now. Alex Smith was too game managerial, and Colin Kaepernick is still a project.

BlawgDawg
BlawgDawg

@Snoclaf  No way should the Falcons hire Jim Harbaugh.  He's a first-rate jerk, and the players will tire of his schtick... then Arthur will be seeking another replacement.   

Fierce
Fierce

@BlawgDawg that is one of the downsides. All in all, you do have to wonder why such a successful head coach would want out, or how the franchise would let him leave. Success in the NFL isn't easy, and sustaining it is even harder. Obviously, whatever is happening off the field is enough to warrant his departure. 

notPlanB
notPlanB

@Snoclaf  You might be right about harbaugh's difficulty to get along with.

Normd
Normd

It's been proven time and time again that the majority of college coaches who "go pro", are miserable failures.

JFKDawg
JFKDawg

@Normd Seems to have worked out for Philly just fine.

MoreySims
MoreySims

atl--some of the worst assistant coaches in the league, incompetent GM and mediocre head coach.  

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

If the Falcons fire Smith, they better fire Dimitroff too. Can't win with below average personnel no matter how big name the coach is. There are only a small handful of players on the current roster that can be considered above average at their position.

reckingball
reckingball

I don't like Smith's conservation game plans, especially the way he likes to nurse a lead. But, the biggest problem is the player personnel that Dimitrof has assembled. He should be the one getting canned.

If the OLine had not amassed so many IR injuries, I think that the Falcons would at least have a winning record as of this date.

patriotdog
patriotdog

Again, with McKay's roster, Smith did a very nice job. The more of Dimitroff's players the roster has, the worse the teams have gotten. It's a talent issue, not a coaching issue. Dimitroff built the nice, pretty penthouse suite, the offensive skill guys, without first constructing a solid foundation to the building, the O and D lines. You can fire TD and keep Smith, you cannot possibly justify firing Smith and keeping TD. He built the roster, after all.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

I agree with Slydog...hire the GM first and let him pick the coach!

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

Arthur Blank is trying to be like Jerry Jones, with no football experience.



TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Yes, Arthur Blank is kind of a poor man's Jerry Jones. Kind of a Jerry Jones wannabe. Sad!

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  1. […] Jr., Arthur Blank made a hard run at Bob Stoops to be the next Atlanta head coach. The Falcons were led to believe that Stoops was interested in coaching in the NFL one day, but just not at that time. Could 10 […]