The Atlanta Falcons officially entered the head coaching market this offseason following Dan Quinn’s midseason ouster after five and a half years. While they were not the first team to fill their vacancy this winter, Atlanta did eventually get its man, as the team announced on Friday afternoon that Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is going to move a little farther south.
We have agreed to terms with Arthur Smith to become our next head coach.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 15, 2021
The news comes less than a week after Smith’s Titans fell in the AFC Wild Card round to the Baltimore Ravens in a hotly-contested game. It also marks the first time that Smith, 38, will become a head coach. Prior to joining Atlanta, Smith spent the entirety of his NFL career with the Titans, joining the franchise as a quality control coach in 2011 after a stint in college ball and working his way up the ranks.
When the Green Bay Packers hired away Matt LaFleur prior to the 2019 season, Smith was promoted from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator, and under his tutelage, the Titans have boasted one of the league’s most fearsome rushing attacks behind a nasty offensive line and bruising tailback Derrick Henry. This past season, Tennessee was second in the league in rushing yards per game, tied for second in total offense, and fourth in scoring offense.
The Falcons went 4-12 this season, and while the offense was rather limp on the ground (27th in the league in rushing offense), they were able to find success through the air, as only four teams accrued more passing yards. They will need to figure out how they want to proceed on that side of the ball going forward, as starting signal caller Matt Ryan will be 36 at the start of next season with three years remaining on his contract.