Hours after the Jets completed their first in-person interview of their head coaching search, a second candidate is coming to town.
Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith will visit the Jets' brass on Wednesday night, discussing New York's head coaching vacancy over dinner according to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.
This comes after 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, another highly sought-after candidate, departed earlier in the day on Wednesday. Saleh arrived Tuesday night, becoming the first candidate to interview for the position in person. He then made another appearance on Wednesday morning before traveling to Philadelphia to interview for the Eagles' opening.
Rapoport called Smith a "red-hot head-coaching candidate" that has several interviews lined up beyond his dinner date with the Jets. The offensive coordinator met with Falcons for a second interview on Wednesday and is expected to visit the Eagles on Thursday and Lions on Friday, per Rapoport.
Smith has worked his way up within the Tennessee Titans organization over the last decade, serving as the offensive coordinator for the last two seasons. His first NFL coaching gig came back in 2007 when he worked as a defensive quality assistant for the Washington Football Team.
In other words, even if he's an offensive-minded candidate, there's defense in his blood as well. That's surely appealing for Jets general manager Joe Douglas and CEO Christopher Johnson who are in search of a coach that's capable of leading on both sides of the ball.
Considering what Smith has been able to accomplish running Tennessee's offense, it's no surprise several teams are interested in him as their next head coach. Before taking over in 2019, the Titans were one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Now, they're a perennial contender. In 2020, the Titans had the third-best offense in football, averaging 396.4 yards per game. They were fourth in the league in points per game (30.7) and won their first AFC South division title since 2008.
Smith has also been instrumental in helping quarterback Ryan Tannehill transform into an MVP candidate. Tannehill, who used to play under Adam Gase in Miami, was a top-five quarterback in both passer rating (106.5) and QBR (78.4) this season.
Expect more candidates to follow in the coming days and weeks as New York bides time for other potential head coaches—like Eric Bieniemy and Brian Daboll for instance—to be eligibl for their own in-person interviews. New York can't meet with a candidate in person until their team is eliminated from postseason contention.