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Report: Falcons owner Arthur Blank says Mike Smith will return in 2014

By John Breech | CBSSports.com

It looks like Mike Smith and Falcons owner Arthur Blank will be fist bumping in 2014. (USATSI)
It looks like Mike Smith and Falcons owner Arthur Blank will be fist bumping in 2014. (USATSI)

Coming off an NFC Championship game appearance in 2012, the Atlanta Falcons had pretty high expectations going into 2013. At 2-8 through 10 games though, it's probably safe to say that the Falcons won't be meeting those expectations.

Despite the team's struggles this season, owner Arthur Blank has no plans to fire coach Mike Smith. Blank has already assured Smith that he'll be back for the 2014 season, according to NFL.com.

The low point of the Falcons 2013 so far was probably their 41-28 loss to Tampa Bay in Week 11. After that game, Blank gave Smith a vote of confidence.

Here was Blank's response when he was asked after the loss to the Buccaneers if he still had confidence in Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff (via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

"I absolutely, do. They've earned it over the last five years. This is a tough business. We've had a lot of injuries and there have been a lot of issues on top of the injuries and that is pretty obvious. The guys are proven leaders and proven by success. Their records speak for themselves. They'll do the work that has to be done with my full support. We'll get back to what we have to do. Right now, we have six more games that we have to play this year and we plan on competing hard in those games, winning if not all, as many as we can."

Smith's track record most likely has a lot to do with why Blank plans to keep him. Smith was hired in 2008 to take over a team that went 4-12 in 2007. With rookie quarterback Matt Ryan running the offense, the Falcons went 11-5 in 2008 and made the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Under Smith, the Falcons have made the playoffs four of the past five seasons, including three years in a row from 2010-12. Before Smith was hired, the Falcons had never made consecutive playoff appearances at any point in franchise history.

It's been a busy week as far as owners giving their head coaches a vote of confidence. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also gave his coach a vote of confidence on Thursday, telling the media that Jason Garrett would definitely be returning for the 2014 season.

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