Falcons’ Arthur Smith not worried about criticism amid slide

Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith said Monday that he’s not worried about the outside attention being placed on his job security, and it is something he’s always understood comes with the position.

The Falcons (4-6) fell to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday — the team’s third loss in a row and sixth in eight games.

Smith said he can’t concern himself with things he can’t control, instead leaning on a phrase he learned from four years of Latin to explain it.

“Don’t get into professional sports if you’re worried about that. I mean, that’s just the truth,” Smith said. “I mean, that’s kind of your life philosophy. That’s why I think this game is so awesome. It’s kind of like the old Latin phrase ‘amor fati,’ you know what I mean — like ‘the love of your fate.’ Because if you look at life like that, you step into these things.

“That’s really the gist of it and it’s kind of how I look at life, how you approach life. And I love this game and I love the opportunity that I get to do this and I get to work with the guys we got. And if you think, if you lose that perspective, shame on you. You embrace it — the good, the bad, the pressure. That’s what you want. That’s what you sign up for.”

Smith, 41, is 18-26 in his two-plus seasons with the Falcons. He went 7-10 in 2021 and 2022 as the Falcons tried to work through significant salary cap issues and were moving on from longtime stars such as Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.

This season, Atlanta has been expected to be more competitive with high-level free agent signings in safety Jessie Bates III, defensive linemen David Onyemata and Calais Campbell and linebackers Bud Dupree and Kaden Elliss. Atlanta also traded for cornerback Jeff Okudah and tight end Jonnu Smith.

All have had significant roles on this year’s team. The Falcons also used three top-10 draft picks on skill position players — tight end Kyle Pitts in 2021, receiver Drake London in 2022 and offensive option Bijan Robinson in 2023.

Smith has faced criticism over his usage of some of his young offensive players, particularly Robinson, in recent weeks.

Robinson was featured in the backfield Sunday, getting 22 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown.

Smith said Monday they are going to use this week to evaluate how to make improvements throughout their operation — including deciding on a quarterback between Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke.

The Falcons are still in the midst of a divisional race in the NFC South, just one game behind the division-leading New Orleans Saints (5-5). Both Atlanta and New Orleans are on a bye this week before facing each other on Nov. 26.

“Good news is not dead, and we have a chance to … salvage the season or do something about it,” Smith said. “Whatever the odds are, we know we can use this time to get away, try to find solutions and come back in here and go do everything to beat New Orleans.”

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