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Should Titans pursue reunion with Arthur Smith?

Should the Tennessee Titans make a significant addition to their 2024 staff?

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons fired former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith on Sunday evening. Smith compiled a record of 21-30 through three seasons in charge. Cue the rumors linking Smith back to the Titans.

I don’t expect the Titans to fire offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. Kelly is a good coordinator and play-caller that was limited by Tennessee’s personnel. Head coach Mike Vrabel may be willing to employ Smith in an advisor role, however. That’s how Kelly initially joined the Titans, as a passing game coordinator.

Vrabel also employed Jim Schwartz as a senior defensive assistant. It’s clear that Vrabel reserves room on his staff for such roles. Smith could install red-zone packages, work on the third down offense, etc.

As the Titans’ offensive coordinator in 2020, Smith oversaw an offense that finished third in total yards gained per game (396.4), second in rushing yards per contest (168.1), and fourth in points scored per outing (30.7). Smith parlayed that performance into the head coaching job in Atlanta, and the Titans haven’t sniffed that sort of offensive success since.

But Smith wasn’t perfect in Atlanta. He failed to win a weak NFC South division while hitching his wagon to three bad quarterbacks in Marcus Mariota, Taylor Heinicke, and Desmond Ridder (perhaps through no fault of his own). Smith also stubbornly refused to maximize the talents of Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson, two top-10 picks he signed off on. Instead, Smith seemed to get more creative when calling plays for Jonnu Smith and Tyler Allgeier.

Vrabel’s future must first be defined before the Titans make any sweeping changes to their coaching staff. Jordan Schultz is reporting that Vrabel may possess interest in the New England Patriots job, should it become available. Sorting through Vrabel’s future is priority No. 1 for the Titans this offseason. Only then could they consider adding Smith, who may receive interest as an offensive coordinator elsewhere.