January 24, 2008
It's usually all sunshine and puppy dogs when a team hires a brand new head coach. Past
transgressions are forgiven, excuses are made, it's a better fit this time, blah
blah blah ... optimism rules the day.
For a while, the reaction to the Mike Smith hire in Atlanta wasn't much of anything. If people noticed at all, the reaction was, "Who the hell is Mike Smith? Did they hire the ESPN personality? The FanHouse blogger? Oh, it's some other guy? Well, I'm sure he'll be great."
That is, until, Marcellus Wiley offered up his opinion. Wiley (who, incidentally, is far better than Emmitt Smith at his job) has been verbally kicking Mike Smith in the groin at every opportunity. It doesn't sound vindictive or personal ... he's just sort of matter-of-factly stating that yes, the Atlanta Falcons have crippled their franchise for years by hiring a guy who players won't respect, and who doesn't do any actual coaching.
Now there's a recipe for success: He isn't respected, and he doesn't coach anyone. By that standard, I'm waiting for my phone to ring at any second with a head coaching offer from an NFL team.
But that's as stinging as criticism gets of a coach through the media. I give Marcellus Wiley a lot of credit for that ... again, he's not being mean-spirited or vindictive, just offering up an honest opinion that doesn't necessarily fit the standards of what you'd usually hear. Marcellus Wiley is awesome. He didn't pull any punches with the Jacksonville Times-Union, either:
"It's not about your personality. You don't have to be a tough coach or a mean guy to be a great coach, but I saw guys disrespect him. I talked to some of the guys who were not supportive and had candid conversations. Everyone knows he's a great guy and has a great football mind, but some of the players tested him. ... I hope it works out great, but the chips are stacked against him."
You know, you wouldn't have guessed that '08 could've been any worse for the Falcons than '07, but man ... about the nicest thing I've heard anyone say about Mike Smith so far is that he's never had a quarterback who liked to murder dogs.
• Falcons' choice is Smith / Ultimate Jaguars
• Wiley: Mike Smith Didn't Lead Jags Defense / ESPN Video
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