Continuity. Something that has plagued quarterback Marcus Mariota his entire career. Arthur Smith, the tight ends coach for the Tennessee Titans has been promoted to offensive coordinator by head coach Mike Vrabel. Smith replaces Matt LaFleur who recently became the new head coach of the Green Bay Packers.
Smith was hired by the former head coach Mike Munchak as a defensive quality control assistant in 2011. Before that, Smith served with the Washington Redskins. To speak to the quality of work that Smith provides, he has survived four head coach regimes. On top of surviving, Smith has also risen through the offensive ranks. Smith has worked with tight ends and the offensive line as well as an offensive quality assistant.
Smith helped lead the resurgence of Titans star tight end, Delanie Walker. In 2015, Smith’s first season on the job, Walker recorded a 1,000 yard season. Walker followed that up with consecutive 800 yard receiving seasons before injuring his leg early this season. Fellow Titans tight ends Jonnu Smith, and Luke Stocker made key contributions this season after Walker went down. Both made great strides compared to their previous seasons.
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When interviewed for the Official Titans Podcast, Mr. Dave McGinnis bragged about the quality of Smith’s work. Mr. McGinnis referenced how Smith was meticulous with his presentations, yet were easily able to capture and keep their players attention.
The biggest selling point for Smith is his familiarity with Mariota. This hire is likely a vote of confidence by the entire coaching staff in Mariota as the franchise quarterback going forward. Smith has been with Mariota on the Titans from day one. Mariota and Walker had a great connection in their first three seasons together. That connection appeared to be strong before Walker injured his leg week one.
The biggest detraction coming from the Smith hire is that he, like LaFleur before him, has no play calling experience. However, familiarity with the Titans players and coaching staff will likely lead to a smooth transition for Smith. This hire feels like a great hire for the Titans staff and has passed the early eye test. Smith is not the sexy, big-name hire some Titans fans were clamoring for. Smith clearly has the confidence of the front office and the coaching staff. In J Rob we trust.