Two months may not seem like a long time but in the NFL it can be an eternity - especially if your team is losing when it should be winning.
That best defines the state and condition of the Atlanta Falcons and head coach Mike Smith.
At the beginning of the season, Smith appeared poised and ready to help one of the best teams in the NFC and the NFL as well, take the next step to get to the Super Bowl.
Injuries, coaching and improved play from the other teams in the conference have made the leap of success a lot harder.
Smith was under no pressure at the beginning of the season other than improving on the NFC Championship game loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Now, Smith is under fire as the team continues to tumble. Not everything is his fault, but when you have to blame someone, the person in charge sometimes has to fall on the sword.
And if you are checking at home, the heat lamp is on under Smith’s chair.
Injuries to major offensive weapons like Julio Jones, Roddy White and Steven Jackson have done this team in and now changes may be made. If the Falcons' brass decide to make a change on the sideline, here are a few candidates who may get a call.
Mike Zimmer, Defensive Coordinator, Cincinnati
He has helped make it hit to play in Ohio. Zimmer’s defense is a huge reason the Bengals are 6-2 this season. While the offense is explosive, the 11 starters on the other side of the ball are pretty darn good. Zimmer may also bring Jay Gruden along as offensive coordinator.
Greg Roman, Offensive Coordinator, San Francisco
As long as the 49ers are in the playoffs, Roman’s chances of landing a head coaching gig are short. That is the good and bad of being good at what you do. It may have also een the reason why Jacksonville took a chance on Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and did not wait on Roman. This year, even if the 49ers take a long trip into the playoffs, he may be too good to pass up.
Ray Horton, Defensive Coordinator, Cleveland
The Browns will not make the playoffs, but they are much better than in years past. Horton and is defensive coaches are a reason for that. Horton should have been a head coach years ago. Now, he gets his chance. Horton has been a great assistant coach for years.
Rob Ryan, Defensive Coordinator, New Orleans
If there is a coach in the NFL who deserves to be a head coach based on his work this season, Ryan is the guy. Ryan has changed the Saints to a team to be feared without the ball. And although he has only been in New Orleans for a season, he has certainly changed the culture and dynamic of the team.