In an hour spent meeting with the local Atlanta media for the first time Tuesday, Arthur Smith made it very clear he's not in the business of making projections or comparisons. The Atlanta Falcons' new head coach made his expectations and vision very clear.
Two things stand out above all in terms of what to expect from Smith: Accountability and toughness.
And the accountability factor isn't just geared towards the players in the locker room, he believes it starts with himself first.
"I have to earn my job every day," Smith said of his approach.
Smith has clearly engrained that in his mind, and it has paid off. One of the things that stood out most to Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank about Smith was that he was retained by three different head coaches during his 10-year stint in Tennessee.
The Falcons have missed the playoffs the last three seasons and Blank has made it clear he wants his team to get back to be consistently in the mix for the postseason each season.
Smith has his own plan in how he thinks he can get his team there and it starts with instilling his core principles.
"We want to be great up front," Smith said. "We want to have a fast team; we certainly want to be physical on both sides of the ball. We want to have guys who are great teammates. We want to hold our best players accountable. We're going to drop the entitlement, not to say there was here, that will be a big message in the locker room."
Calling the shots
Smith was one, if not the most, popular prospect in the head coaching circuit this year. All seven teams with openings requested to interview with Smith for a reason. Smith had a tremendous amount of success calling the plays for the Titans over the last two seasons.
In his first year as offensive coordinator in 2019, Smith's offense led the league red zone touchdown percentage (75.2), ranked fifth in points per game (27.9) and ranked fifth in total offense (379.6).
He's also created one of the best rushing schemes during that time span. In 2019, his offense averaged 153.5 yards per game on the ground, the second-most in the NFL.
The past season, the Titans offense finished the regular season ranked No. 3 in the league in total yards per game (396.4) and No. 2 in rushing yards per game (168.1) with All-Pro running back Derrick Henry rushing for 2,027 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns. Tennessee was also fourth in the league in scoring, putting up 30.7 points per game.
He'll continue to call the plays for Atlanta's offense but understands his first and most important job is to coach the entire team.
"My No. 1 job is to be the head coach of the team, that includes all three phases and every player on the roster," Smith said. "I understand what my job is, my job is to coach the entire team. Also to do that to call plays and there's precedence there that it's been done and done at a high level. So very confident if you hire the right people, it will be a collaborative effort. I will coach the entire team."
Head coach Arthur Smith takes his first tour of Atlanta Falcons facilities in Flowery Branch with Rich McKay.