Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank spoke to the media briefly outside the locker room shortly after the 41-28 loss to Tampa Bay, the Falcons’ third straight to move the team to 2-8 on the year. He took a moment to emphatically state his support of head coach Mike Smith, his staff and general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
“I do, yeah,” Blank said when asked if he had confidence in his team leaders, “and they’ve earned it in the last five years. This is a tough business. We’ve had a lot of injuries and there have been a lot of other issues on top of the injuries, and that’s pretty obvious, but these guys are proven leaders and proven by success and proven by their records. They speak for themselves.
“They’ll do the work that has to be done with my full support.”
Coming into 2013, head coach Mike Smith led the Falcons to the first stretch of five straight winning seasons, earned two NFC South titles, a trip to the NFC Championship Game and four playoff appearances.
His 56 wins since 2008 to the start of 2013 were the second most during that span only to the New England Patriots and most in the NFC. Blank said he understands the disappointment felt across the Falcons fanbase this year.
“What’s disheartening is this year when you’re sitting 2-8 with the expectations that were reasonable coming into this year,” Blank said. “It’s very disappointing for our fans and everybody connected with our franchise — certainly the players and coaches, and certainly for our fans.”