Arthur Smith Falcons Oct 2, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith on the sidelines against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith is not a fan favorite at the moment.

The third-year head coach trended on X (formerly Twitter) Monday afternoon, never a good sign at a time of year when coaches often get the axe. And especially not a good sign for a coach whose team has lost five of seven games.

So why were X users so interested in Smith? As NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport noted, Smith shaved his mustache, but nobody logs onto social media to comment on facial hair.

Smith also announced that quarterback Taylor Heinicke will start Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Heinicke played reasonably well in the heartbreaking loss to the Minnesota Vikings, but that QB announcement would not be enough to move the X needle.

So what made Smith such a hot topic? His personnel decisions. The Falcons have picked talented offensive playmakers in the top 10 of the last three NFL Drafts. Tight end Kyle Pitts (No. 4 in 2021) represented the highest pick spent on a tight end in NFL history. Wide receiver Drake London (No. 8 in 2022) and running back Bijan Robinson (No. 8 in 2023) were the top picks at their position in those respective drafts.

And Smith has been accused of under-utilizing those picks. Robinson, a former star at Texas who’s been labeled a generational talent by some, has averaged 12 touches per game the last two weeks. Meanwhile, backup running back Tyler Allgeier, a former fifth-round pick who is not regarded as a generational talent, and is running for 3.2 yards per carry this season, has averaged 11 touches the past two weeks.

While London and Pitts have both seen increased targets, many fans still feel they’re being overlooked. Pitts, who is athletic and can stretch the field, is averaging six touches per game this season.

So NFL fans checked in on Twitter to make some snarky comments about Smith’s personnel decisions. They had plenty of company.

[Ian Rapoport]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.