Mike Smith: Blame falls on me

ATLANTA -- Falcons coach Mike Smith, who appears destined to be fired following a 6-10 season, said there were plenty of mistakes he made throughout the season.

The implosion culminated with Sunday's 34-3 blowout loss to the Carolina Panthers in a game that decided the NFC South title. The Falcons failed to make the playoffs the last two seasons. Smith posted a 10-22 over that time span.

During this season, the Falcons had a five-game losing streak and blew a 21-point lead in a 22-21 loss to Detroit in London. Smith also took the blame for poor clock management in a 26-24 loss to Cleveland.

"I wish I would have done a whole lot of things better," Smith said. "Ultimately, I'm the one that's held responsible. This is a 6-10 football team, and there's one person that the record is attributed to. That's the head football coach, and we were 6-10 in 2014. There's a whole lot of things I could have done differently and better. They're all learning experiences, and I will take those and in the future, make sure that I don't make the same mistakes that I made this season."

ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen reported Sunday morning the Falcons had already hired a search firm to assist in a coaching search. When approached in a hallway after the game, team owner Arthur Blank said, "I'm with my family. Please respect that."

Smith was asked whether the report about the search firm was a distraction.

"Look guys, I'm not going to comment about what you guys talk about and what you guys have," Smith said. "There are distractions every day you go to work. When you go to work, you have distractions at your work. When I go to work, I have distractions at my work. And I'm not going to comment about some report that probably has no validity to it."

Smith, who has compiled a 66-46 record in seven seasons and gone 1-4 in postseason play, was asked again how concern he is about his job security.

"I've answered this many times, and I'm here as the head football coach until Arthur Blank tells me anything different," Smith said.

The overall tone in the locker room was solemn regarding Smith's status. Wide receiver Roddy White said it would be tough to lose his right-hand man. Quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones praised Smith as well.

"He's a great coach," Jones said. "But it's not my decision to keep him here or let him go. That's Mr. Blank's decision."