The Falcons are searching for their next head coach, but their former head coach, Arthur Smith, is beginning to make headlines as well.
Recently, reports surfaced that Smith has garnered interest from more than seven teams in an offensive coordinator capacity since being fired, according to the Athletic’s Dianna Russini.
Former Falcons head coach Arthur Smith has received serious interest from more than 7 teams about joining their offensive staff as the offensive coordinator, per sources.
He will have options.
— Dianna Russini (@DMRussini) January 23, 2024
Despite his struggles in Atlanta, Smith has proven the ability to coordinate a successful offense. He revived Ryan Tannehill’s career and helped Derrick Henry to a rushing title en route to a top seed in the AFC.
With the Falcons, he formulated two different offenses for two different quarterbacks in Matt Ryan and Marcus Mariota. Both were successful in different ways, and 2022 was actually a more effective unit, based on advanced metrics.
2023 was marred by inconsistent quarterback play. Desmond Ridder proved incapable of being a starter in this league, eventually resulting in Smith’s termination. He deserves a portion of the blame, but Smith never had above average quarterback play during his time in Atlanta.
Again, some of that is his own fault. He was the one parading Ridder around like the second coming of Christ himself, but Ridder’s play would’ve held any offense back, so it’s not surprising that teams around the league, who can compartmentalize Arthur Smith’s resume, are interested.
But where might he land? Jeremy Fowler of ESPN just reported that many people expect him to reunite with his former head coach Mike Vrabel.
“Many expect Arthur Smith to follow Vrabel and be his offensive coordinator, should Vrabel get a head coaching job. The two had success together in Tennessee.”
Vrabel’s most successful seasons as the Titans head coach came with Arthur Smith as his offensive coordinator. It’s no surprise that he would follow Vrabel wherever he goes. He’s been interviewed by the Chargers, who just hired Jim Harbaugh, the Falcons and Panthers.
The Falcons met with Vrabel last night, and he’s an interesting candidate, but the Arthur Smith aspect makes things wonky. I’m not sure there’s a precedent for a team firing a head coach to later bring him back as the offensive coordinator under a new head coach. Then again, the Falcons are all about breaking obscure, embarrassing records.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire