The Atlanta Falcons are on a (potentially) lengthy search for a future general manager and head coach. Arthur Blank and Rich McKay spoke to the media, in place of Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff, for a different type of post-season press conference. Their focus appears to be a deliberate and expansive search.
While deliberate and expansive, a few names have continually popped up in nearly ever rumor about the new Falcons brain trust. Among the general managers, Terry Fontenot and Rick Smith are mentioned in nearly every rumor. Among the head coaches, it is Arthur Smith.
Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Falcons have either requested, or plan to request, to interview Smith. Along with literally every other team looking for a head coach.
All six teams with HC openings - Chargers, Jets, Jaguars, Lions, Falcons, Texans - have either requested permission to interview Titans’ OC Arthur Smith or plan to ask permission, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 4, 2021
Smith joins only Eric Bieniemy, Robert Saleh, and Raheem Morris as confirmed interviewees. Bieniemy, Saleh, and Smith have all gotten amazing performances on their respective sides of the ball. Most certainly know about Bieniemy, the offensive coordinator for the league’s best offense the last few years, and Saleh, the defensive coordinator for the occasionally great but often injured 49ers defense.
Smith, however, is a particularly intriguing prospect for the current roster. Smith took over for Matt LaFleur in Tennessee, graduating from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator. LaFleur has turned the Packers back into one of the greatest offenses in the league. Smith, on the other hand, turned a mediocre Titans offense into among the best in the league.
He got the very best out of Derrick Henry, and even more notably, Ryan Tannehill. The Titans have not been slowed by multiple injuries to their tackles. Smith has developed a stout run game to match with a quarterback-friendly scheme that has gotten the very best out of a thrower with an uneven career.
If McKay and Blank hope to keep Matt Ryan for at least a few more seasons, Smith may be the very best choice. Ryan has plenty of juice left but will need some help as he moves into his mid- to late 30s. The Falcons do not have Henry, but they have a lot of talent along the offensive line and among the pass catchers.
If Smith is any bit as talented as the Titans’ performances the last two seasons, he can do a lot with what the Falcons already have.