The New York Jets are on the hunt for their next head coach. Could Arthur Smith, the man who fixed Ryan Tannehill, fix the Jets?
Adam Gase has left things broken before. When he was with the Miami Dolphins he notably broke Ryan Tannehill. His franchise quarterback regressed under Gase. It got to the point he was seen as a backup around the league. Arthur Smith took Tannehill and brought him to greater heights than ever before. If the New York Jets hire Smith they’d hope that he could do the same with their franchise.
Whether or not that would mean fixing Sam Darnold is a discussion for down the road.
So who is the man best known for fixing Adam Gase’s messes?
Arthur Smith’s football career began as a Guard at North Carolina. The former offensive lineman got his first coaching job immediately after graduating as a graduate assistant with the Tar Heels.
He landed his first NFL job the next year with the Washington Football Team. They brought him as their defensive quality control coach. He held that position for two years.
After a year without coaching work, Smith joined on with the staff at Ole Miss as their defensive intern and administrative assistant.
The Tennessee Titans came calling just one year later. He took a job as a defensive quality control coach. After a year, the Titans flipped him to the offensive side of the ball, making him the offensive quality control coach.
After another year he was named the assistant offensive line and tight ends coach. That only lasted a year, as he would shift his focus strictly to tight ends.
In 2016, Smith was named the Titans tight ends coach. He held that position for three seasons. Once Matt LaFleur took the head coach job with the Green Bay Packers Smith got his shot as a coordinator. He didn’t waste it.
The year before Smith became coordinator the Titans were 27th in scoring. Smith had them 10th in 2019, and fourth in 2020.
Smith has garnered interest from every single team in the NFL this head coach cycle. He’s slated to interview with the New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, and Detroit Lions. The Houston Texans requested Smith, but he won’t interview with them. It’s not clear if Smith declined to interview or if the Texans rescinded their request after hiring Nick Caserio.
Arthur Smith’s offensive scheme is all about bringing old-school ideals and new-school ideas together. Smith very much believes in establishing the run and the short passing game.
He also believes that deep shots are essential for any offense and that there are ways to make those throws easier. Specifically, Smith uses a ton of play-action and motion to make throws easier on his quarterback.
When throws are easier then the offense will thrive. That’s how Smith was able to create a dynamic offense in Tennessee with Tannehill.
Would that work with the New York Jets? It’s hard to say. The Jets do have a strong YAC receiver in Denzel Mims. They certainly have the speed to make the system work.
The big issue is that the Jets offensive line isn’t built for longer players like the ones Smith draws up. The Jets also don’t have a strong enough run game for the run to set up the pass as things are set up.
So, it would seem Smith would need to figure out how to get the best out of his new unit. That could mean a completely new scheme or it could mean adding in new talent. Either way, it doesn’t seem like he’d be able to just transfer his scheme from Tennessee.
Is he the next New York Jets head coach?
Arthur Smith is a strong candidate to be the next head coach of the New York Jets. He’s young and doesn’t have much experience, but the experience he does have is strong.
Smith also gets a boost for having an extensive coaching history on both sides of the ball. That’ll help sell the idea that he can be the CEO-style head coach the Jets are looking for.
Smith is among the favorites to land the job. Even if he doesn’t, he’s almost certain to find a head coaching job this cycle.