It is the polar opposite of a Where’s Waldo situation.
As more than half a dozen NFL teams search for their next head coach, it is obvious that Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith stands out among the crowd of candidates.
According to reports, Smith has drawn enough interest to warrant second interviews with at least two franchises, and all seven have requested permission to interview him, if they have not done so already.
The Atlanta Falcons conducted a second interview with Smith on Wednesday, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. The 38-year-old was the sixth of seven to meet with that franchise’s officials, and that initial conversation took place on Monday, a day after the Titans lost to the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC Wild Card playoff game.
The Detroit Lions also have planned a second interview with Smith. He reportedly was the last of at least half a dozen candidates to meet with Detroit officials – that happened Tuesday – but the first to schedule a return visit.
In between, he was scheduled to have dinner with New York Jets officials Wednesday evening and to meet with executives of the Philadelphia Eagles, the most recent team to fire its head coach, on Thursday. They cut loose Doug Pederson on Monday and submitted their request to talk to Smith the next day.
The Los Angeles Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans also are in the market for a head coach, and Smith has met with them as well.
The second interviews suggest he makes a good first impression, and it is possible he will have his choice from among multiple offers.
Wherever he ends up, he almost certainly will have work to do. Atlanta, Philadelphia and Detroit were the bottom three teams in the NFC, and Jacksonville, the Jets and Houston were the bottom three teams in the AFC. The Chargers, at 7-9, were the most competitive of the bunch in 2020.
“We'll see what happens with him here in the next few days or a week,” Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said Monday. “… He’s a great coach all the way around. Everything that you look for in a coach and a leader and a great offensive mind, he does a good job with. I'd love to have (Smith) back, but if he does get a job it's well deserved.”