Falcons GM: Coach Smith ‘going nowhere’

ATLANTA — Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff made it clear that coach Mike Smith’s job remains secure despite the team’s 2-7 start.

A report by CBSSports.com linked Jon Gruden to the Falcons job, if it were to open. Gruden currently is ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” analyst.

Dimitroff was asked for his response to the report.

“Mike Smith is a hell of a football coach; he’s the leader of this team,” Dimitroff told ESPN.com. “Mike’s going nowhere.”

Smith entered this season with a 56-24 overall record and two NFC South titles since taking over the team in 2008. The Falcons finished 13-3 a year ago and made it the NFC Championship Game before losing to the San Francisco 49ers. Smith guided the Falcons to three straight playoff appearances prior to this season and was named the Associated Press’ Coach of the Year in 2008.

Dimitroff expanded on his thoughts regarding speculation about the future of the head coaching position.

“Any time there’s insinuation toward an organization that we believe in, it’s agitating, sure,” he said.

The Falcons signed Smith to a three-year contract extension in February 2011.

Veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez voiced support for the coach after Sunday’s 33-10 loss to Seattle Seahawks.

“I know the NFL is a performance-driven business, but it seems like people don’t look at your body of work,” Gonzalez said. “They always want to know, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ But if you look at what Coach Smith has done since he’s been here … obviously last year, we were in the NFC Championship Game.

“We have a lot of injuries this year — key injuries. And it’s hard to win like that. So I don’t think he deserves any type of blame.”

  • Covered Bears for seven seasons at Chicago Tribune
  • Also worked at Chicago Sun-Times, Fresno Bee
  • Honorable mention, Football Writers Association of America for enterprise writing, 2002

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