The Atlanta Falcons announced they have hired Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith as the team’s next head coach. Smith has spent the past 10 seasons in Tennessee working his way up from offensive and defensive quality control coach to his current role.
Smith was a hot head coaching candidate this offseason after the work he has done with Ryan Tannehill since he became the Titans quarterback in Week 7 of the 2019 season. Tannehill is first in the league in yards per attempt (8.5), third in touchdowns (550) and third in passer rating (111.3) among NFL quarterbacks since becoming the Titans starter — some of the best numbers in the NFL at the position. Derrick Henry has led the NFL with 3,565 yards rushing over the past two seasons (875 more than the second on the list, Dalvin Cook). The Titans offense was tied for second in total yards per game (396.4) and fourth in points per game (30.7) in 2020 under Smith’s guidance.
The North Carolina native is the son of FedEx founder Frederick W. Smith. Teams in search of a CEO-type leader would have found a natural fit in the Titans’ play caller. He is likely moving to Atlanta to work for Home Depot founder Arthur Blank.
Tennessee’s season ended in the Super Wild-Card Round against the Ravens so Smith has been free to explore other opportunities.
Atlanta made the decision to move on from head coach Dan Quinn in October after the team’s first 0-5 start since 1997. Raheem Morris accepted the interim role and led the team to a 4-12 finish. They are also amidst a general manager search.
The NFL has seen a slew of moves this week as the Jets tagged 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to be their next head coach and the Jaguars hired Urban Meyer to be their next head coach. The Eagles, Chargers, Texans and Lions all still have vacant head coaching spots.