After five-plus seasons with the defensive-minded Dan Quinn as head coach, the Atlanta Falcons have named an offensive-minded coordinator as their new head coach.
On Friday, the team announced that Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith would be their next head coach, replacing Quinn (who was fired earlier this year after five games, with Raheem Morris taking over on an interim basis).
We have agreed to terms with Arthur Smith to become our next head coach.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 15, 2021
Smith has been the offensive coordinator in Tennessee for the last two seasons, replacing Matt LeFleur when he left to take the Packers head coaching job. With Smith calling plays for the team, the Titans thrived, making the playoffs in both of his years as OC and ranking in the NFL’s top ten in points scored each season. In 2020, the team won the AFC South, finished fourth in the league in points, and second in yards powered by the trio of Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, Derrick Henry at running back, and AJ Brown at receiver.
In Atlanta, things will be a bit different. Smith’s Falcons have the #4 overall pick and can go in several different directions with the pick in an attempt to bolster a roster that is thin on talent past Matt Ryan and Calvin Ridley. Franchise receiver Julio Jones is also coming off an injury-laden year, which featured him scoring just three touchdowns in nine games.
The Falcons seemed destined to go into a rebuild sooner rather than later after three straight sub-.500 seasons. Ryan turns 36 and Jones turns 32 in 2021, and it makes sense for the franchise to move on to a new coach that could look into building a new core past those two. Whether that will be this year or further in the future is anyone’s best guess, but hiring Smith isn’t a move just for 2021 – he’s a hire for the long-term too.