The New York Giants will interview former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith on Monday as their search to replace Tom Coughlin continues. Here is a look at the pros and cons of hiring the 56-year-old Smith.
Smith has seven years of experience as an NFL head coach. He took the Falcons to the playoffs four times in those seven seasons, compiling a 66-46 record along the way. Smith took an Atlanta team that had gone 4-12 in 2007 to an 11-5 2008 record and a playoff berth. The Falcons had a winning record in each of Smith's first five seasons after having had only two winning records in the previous nine seasons. Smith's Atlanta teams won 13 games twice. Dan Graziano of ESPN accurately writes that Smith "may look a lot like Coughlin looked to the Giants when they hired him in 2004."
Smith has to answer two questions. First, why things fell apart during his last two season in Atlanta when the team went 4-12 and 6-10. Second, why the Falcons went 1-4 in Smith's five playoff games. SB Nation's Falcons website, The Falcoholic, wrote that over time "there appeared to be a greater disconnect between Smith and everyone else." That would include players, assistant coaches and the front office. Smith, like Coughlin had to explain why his tenure in Jacksonville soured at the end, will have to adequately explain what went wrong and how he can avoid a similar circumstance this time.