A look into OC Matt LaFleur’s offensive staff
Name: Arthur Smith
Role: Tight Ends Coach
NFL Coaching Experience: Nine seasons
Positions Coached: Defensive Quality Control (Washington, 2007-2008), Defensive Assistant/Quality Control (Tennessee, 2011), Offensive Assistant/Quality Control (Tennessee, 2012-2014), Tight Ends Coach (Tennessee, 2015-Present)
Collegiate Coaching Experience: Graduate Assistant (North Carolina, 2006), Administrative Assistant/Defensive Intern (Ole Miss, 2010).
Coaching Track Record
Arthur Smith’s first professional coaching opportunity involved working under HOF HC Joe Gibbs in 2007. In what would be Gibbs’ final season with the team, Smith’s journey began with some tragic circumstances.
Washington started 5-3, but injuries caused the team to tumble. The murder of starting safety Sean Taylor occurred during the 2007 season. Gibbs somehow managed to rally the team in light of tragedy, putting together a win streak that helped propel Washington into the postseason.
During that season, Smith was directly exposed to how a team handles unimaginable circumstances. Understanding how to inspire players to perform in the wake of tragedy is a valuable tool to have.
Smith stayed on the Redskins staff the following season, working under HC Jim Zorn. Smith would not return to the team following a fourth place finish in the NFC East.
Smith withstood the coaching purge following the team’s decision to part ways with HC Mularkey. He secured his spot on the Titans sidelines for the 2018 in the inaugural season of the Mike Vrabel era.
He was brought into the Titans organization 2011 after one season of college coaching for Ole Miss as an Administrative Assistant and Defensive Intern.
In Mike Munchak’s first season as head coach following Jeff Fisher’s 15 year run, Smith was tasked as a Defensive Assistant/Quality Control Coach. Smith would be a member of DC Jerry Gray’s coaching staff and would work side by side with former players, some of which remain employed as NFL coaches to this day.
Smith would switch over to assisting on the offensive side of the ball, working with HOF’er and Offensive Line Coach Bruce Matthews and OC Chris Palmer - who would be unseated by Dowell Loggains - after failing to create a productive and respectable offense.
He assisted in the same capacity for a few more seasons. Following the dismissal of HC Ken Whisenhunt, Mularkey was promoted from TE Coach to interim - and eventually - Head Coach, Smith also received a promotion. He assumed duties as the positional coach for the tight ends. He’s worked with TE Delanie Walker and has been on the sidelines since Walker was added to the team in 2013.
OC Matt LaFleur will work closely in getting Smith acclimated to some of the new terminology. Smith’s job will be critical as he must expedite the development of second year TE Jonnu Smith.
With the amount of play-action plays expected to increase, the role of the tight end will be crucial. Walker shouldn’t need much coaching, but Jonnu’s progress and growth must be noticeable in order for the team to have a formidable dual-threat attack from either side of the offensive line.
Smith’s established rapport with Walker and committee should make for a smooth transition.