Mike Smith is inarguably the best coach the Atlanta Falcons have ever had. Still, there's a sense of urgency going into this, his fifth year as head coach.
Smith has led the Falcons to a winning record for four straight seasons, a feat the franchise never accomplished even two years in a row in its 40-plus-year history prior to the former longtime assistant took over a team in turmoil. Yet the team hasn't won a playoff in the Smith-Matt Ryan era, something that has to happen this year to avoid any questions about Smith's job security.
Improving on a 10-6 season that ended in the Wild Card round is important, Smith told the media Wednesday.
"I think that we have one goal and that’s to be better than we were last year," Smith said. "I think all 31 teams beside us have the same goal. We want to be better than we were last year. We’re a year older. We’re a year more mature. It’s a different makeup of the roster, and I like how the guys have worked. I think this is a team that loves to play the game. They play hard and when you do that you have a chance to win."
The Falcons begin that quest Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs.