Under head coach Mike Smith, the Atlanta Falcons have finished above .500 for four consecutive seasons, an unprecedented run of regular season success for an organization that had never posted back-to-back winning records in its history.
The Falcons are 43-21 under Smith and won an NFC South title, the latter of which resulted in multi-year extensions for Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. One thing that still eludes Smith and the Falcons, though, is a playoff win.
The Falcons lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the 2008 playoffs, won their division and received a first round bye only to be shellacked at home by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers in 2010 and scored just two points in their loss to another Super Bowl Champion, the New York Giants, in January.
With an 0-3 playoff mark, Smith tells David Archer and Mike Bell of WQXI-AM in Atlanta that he's considering changing how he and his coaching staff approach the playoffs.
"Well obviously we have to do it different than what we've done in the past," Smith said via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "We've been there, we just havenât been very successful. So it starts with me in evaluating how I prepare our football team, or we as a coaching staff prepare our football team. And believe me, we've done some soul searching. When you go to the places that we've been and not have the success that you want in those situations, it's tough. And I know everybody's disappointed, but nobody's more disappointed than I am -- I can assure you that."
Perhaps some new blood on his coaching staff will help Smith and the Falcons prepare for their next playoff appearance. Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey left the team to become the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder took the same position at Auburn University. Dirk Koetter was hired to replace Mularkey, while former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan was hired to coordinate the defense.