Update (3:46 p.m., CST): The Atlanta Falcons announced Friday afternoon that Smith has accepted an offer to become their next head coach.
The Atlanta Falcons have offered Arthur Smith the chance to become their next head coach, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
The Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator has received some level of interest from all five franchises currently searching for new head coaches. He also had interviews with the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars, who filled their vacancies on Thursday.
But the Falcons have been among the most interested in Smith.
They interviewed the 38-year-year-old for a second time Wednesday after the initial conversation took place on Monday, a day after the Titans’ season-ending loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The second interview presumably suggests he made a good first impression on franchises officials.
If Smith takes the Falcons job, it will be his first head coaching opportunity in the NFL. And a good one at that.
The Falcons, who finished the 2020 season 4-12, present Smith with plenty of talent to work with on the offensive side of the football.
They have a four-time Pro Bowl and one-time All-Pro quarterback in Matt Ryan, who has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in each of the last 10 seasons. He has thrown 347 career touchdown passes to 158 interceptions. While he is 35 years old, Ryan completed 407 of 626 pass attempts this past season for 4,581 yards and 26 touchdowns.
The Falcons also have a handful of talented pass catchers, most notably wide receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Jones has been in the league for 10 seasons, and he’s made the Pro Bowl seven times and earned All-Pro honors twice. He has caught 848 career passes for 12, 896 yards and 60 touchdowns. He played in just nine games in 2020, hauling in 51 receptions for 751 yards and three touchdowns.
Ridley is a third-year pro, who will enter next season coming off a career season. He caught 90 passes for 1,374 yards and 90 touchdowns. He had at least 800 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons.
At running back, the Falcons have Todd Gurley. A three-time Pro Bowler, Gurley has three 1,000-yard seasons since he entered the league with the Los Angeles Rams in 2015. He has slowed down in recent years, but at 26 years old, there is still plenty to like about him.
The Falcons' cap space situation isn’t the most desirable, but they do own the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Smith spent 10 years in Tennessee, the last two as coordinator, and the Titans offense thrived under him.
This season, Tennessee finished second in the NFL in yards per game, fourth in points scored, fourth in yards per play, first in red zone efficiency and fifth in third-down success during the regular season. Running back Derrick Henry became the eighth running back in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw a career-high 33 touchdown passes and had a passer rating of better than 100 (106.5) for the second consecutive year, and wide receiver A.J. Brown has topped 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons.