Arthur Smith will be the new head coach of the Atlanta Falcons after the team named him to the role Friday:
The 38-year-old spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans, molding the unit into one of the best in the NFL. The Titans finished 2020 ranked fourth in points scored and second in yards from scrimmage, mostly behind one of the top rushing attacks in football.
Smith has spent the past 10 years in Tennessee, working his way up from a defensive quality control coach to one of the top coordinators in the game.
He will now take on a new challenge as a first-time head coach.
The Falcons are coming off a disappointing 2020 season, with their 4-12 record representing the organization's worst mark since 2013.
It was the third straight losing season for Atlanta, which is a sharp decline after reaching the Super Bowl following the 2016 season.
Things continued to get worse in 2020, beginning with a 0-5 record before Dan Quinn was fired in October. Raheem Morris took over and helped make the team respectable, but he still couldn't produce a winning record.
The defense was one of the worst in the NFL, especially defending the pass, while the squad suffered some brutal losses in winnable games.
There is still a lot of upside on the roster, including a reliable quarterback in place with Matt Ryan. Weapons such as Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley could make this offense one of the best in the NFL if it can find some balance.
Defensively, there are quality pieces led by defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and rookie first-round pick A.J. Terrell at cornerback. Some more additions could have the team reaching expectations and returning to contention in the NFC South.
If Smith can improve the culture and get the most out of the talent on the roster, the Falcons could be in for a quick turnaround in 2021.