The Falcons’ most recent blown lead has fans once again calling for Matt Ryan‘s head. The upcoming GM/HC combo has to decide to continue to build around him or totally retool around another QB. I am a fan of the former because I believe the 2016 MVP can still win a Super Bowl (and getting rid of him would create a salary cap nightmare). The incoming GM and HC would have a much easier time building around Ryan and other key players than completely rebuilding. One coach in particular that I think would thrive with Ryan behind center is Arthur Smith.
Smith may not be a household name, but he has done some impressive things in Tennessee. After playing for the Tarheels, he began his coaching career as a Defensive Quality Control Coach with the Washington Redskins in 2007. He remained there through 2008 before becoming a defensive intern at Ole Miss in 2010. Smith was then hired as a Defensive QC for the Tennessee Titans under Head Coach Mike Munchak a year later. Working his way up the totem pole, he became Offensive QC and eventually Assistant Tight Ends Coach in 2013. During the next five seasons, Smith retained his position through three coaching regimes and ultimately achieved promotion to Offensive Coordinator under Head Coach Mike Vrabel.
Smith’s first season as OC showcased the highest-scoring offense in Tennessee in 16 years. His offensive scheme relies on a strong run game to unlock the receivers, freeing the QB to pick apart defenses with play-action passes. Smith utilizes creative motions and player spacing to confuse opposing teams. The Titans’ run-heavy offense, powered by bruising RB Derrick Henry and QB Ryan Tannehill, is a system that may work well for Matt Ryan. I know what you are thinking, “Ito Smith and Todd Gurley aren’t capable of producing that kind of run game.”
Picture for me this, instead of drafting a new QB, the Falcons select Najee Harris, rid of Gurley, and focus on defense the remainder of the draft. While Harris is not the bruiser that Henry is, he is most definitely an elite weapon that could do it all in Atlanta. Smith’s extensive ground scheme features a plethora of outside zone plays that would be ideal for a back like Harris. The creative motions and formations would benefit the Falcons here too. While showing an apparent run, Smith likes to create pre-snap motion to create defensive mismatches. These mismatches cause chaos in the backfield and set Ryan up for unlimited run-pass options.
- Matt Ryan is not the problem.
- Smith’s creativity would be a refreshing, successful change from Dirk Koetter’s offense.
- The Falcons should consider seeking Najee Harris in the draft.