It has become clear that the Tennessee Titans made a good choice in hiring former tight ends coach Arthur Smith to be their new offensive coordinator. Smith spoke to the media on Tuesday for the first time since being hired, and he did very well for himself at the podium.

Smith spoke with confidence, knowledge, and personability. His personality is a very likable one, and he seems to have a good ability to convey concepts on a level that is easy to digest.

But what makes Smith a good fit for the Titans is more than just his personality. It’s more than just the fact that his hiring means the offense won’t have to learn an entirely new offensive scheme.

Defining Smith as someone whose biggest notch in the belt is the fact that he was with the team last season is unfair to him. He has a lot more to offer than just that.

Smith has been a member of the Titans coaching staff since the team hired Mike Munchak as their head coach back in 2011. He has since survived three staff changes following the firings of former head coaches Munchak, Ken Whisenhunt, and Mike Mularkey.

Surviving three staff changes in the NFL is an extraordinary achievement. It means that Smith is certainly doing something right.

It also means that Smith has studied and learned under a very diverse group of head coaches and offensive coordinators. Such a wide range of experiences will be invaluable to him.

Instead of entering his career as a play-caller with a narrowly-defined “philosophy,” Smith will be able to pick and choose the best of what he’s seen. Having four play-callers over the last four seasons has likely worked to the detriment of quarterback Marcus Mariota, but it certainly will benefit Smith.

“I think it just depends on your attitude about things,” Smith said when asked how his diverse experience will help him as a play-caller. “Some people—you can get so focused on, ‘This is the only way to do it.’ I think it’s given me a good perspective to say, ‘There’s a lot of ways to do it.’

“There’s a lot of good things that you’ve learned from people; I always try to learn. That’s a big part, is listening. I’ve been around a lot of good coaches. Then, you also try to say, ‘I didn’t really like what they’re doing, so if I get a shot, I’m not going to do that.’ It just gives you a broader perspective.”

Smith isn’t coming from anyone’s “coaching tree.” He wasn’t hired because he’s a disciple of anyone, or because he was the “hot, new” candidate.

The Titans’ decision to hire Smith certainly had a lot to do with the continuity he’ll bring, but fans shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that he is, in his own regard, a very good football coach. He has worked his way to the top, and he has earned the role he has now because of his abilities as a coach.

“Well, I mean, it’s exciting,” Smith said of the opportunity. “Like I said, you go back, you have goals for yourself when you get in this profession. You hope to have a chance to do this. This is a place you want to be, with the players you’ve been around, that you really want to coach.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity. I understand that this thing is not an earned right or whatever, these things can be fleeting. You just hope to just do a good enough job so you can continue to have success, and to be a very good coordinator. But, I’m ecstatic about the opportunity.”

Just because Smith doesn’t have “cheekbones” or has nothing on his resume that says he worked directly with quarterbacks doesn’t mean that the Titans settled in hiring him, or that he was hired to serve as a carbon copy of Matt LaFleur.

The players love him, and he is a smart coach with a unique background. In this case, uniqueness is a good thing.

Cover image via 247Sports.
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