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Falcons Hire Mike Smith

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The Falcons hired Jacksonville defensive coordinator Mike Smith as their new head coach. Smith becomes the fourth Falcons head coach in two seasons and the sixth head coach since December 2003.  Wow.

The big impact from Smith's hiring is taken straight from NFL.com

The Falcons were mostly woeful in their 4-12 season, but most of the few bright spots were on defense, where Smith will find several established or rising stars: John Abraham, Rod Coleman, Keith Brooking, DeAngelo Hall, Lawyer Milloy and Michael Boley.

That's the key to the Falcons' fantasy prospects right there.  Atlanta has a nucleus of good defensive players and will be following the "Defense First" model that Baltimore used to win a Super Bowl, and more recently that Tampa Bay used to make the playoffs this season.  That's great news if you're in an IDP league, but it's important for all leagues.

If the Falcons build a decent defense, it will give the young offense some time to develop.  There probably won't be many fantasy options on the Falcons next year -- White, Norwood, maybe a healthy Alge Crumpler -- but they could set the building blocks for 2010.  

Consider the Smith hiring an upgrade for 2008 fantasy.  I can't believe Smith could be more of a disaster than Petrino.  Then again, these are the Falcons.