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Falcons Name Arthur Smith New Head Coach

Bring on the play-action! Atlanta agreed to terms with Tennessee offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to be their new head coach. He's only 38 years old, another head coach to make me feel old. He'll bring his play action-heavy scheme to Atlanta with him, I assume for the last few years of Matt Ryan although the Falcons always could decide to start over at the quarterback position. Now we'll get to see how important Derrick Henry is to this scheme, because there's no back anything like Henry in Atlanta right now. It will also be interesting to see what happens to the Tennessee offense with a new coordinator who might not be as good as Smith.

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17 comments, Last at 17 Jan 2021, 9:31am

1 I wonder

how much of an importance they'll place on RB in the draft. Will be very telling.

2 When the Packers hired…

When the Packers hired Lafleur, I was baffled. Exactly what did the Titans do on offense with LaFleur that was worthy of a HC position. And then the Titans improved dramatically with a different coordinator. And yet, LaFleur is having a wildly successful career thus far. 

Not sure what that tells us about scouting good head coaches. 

9 I would agree.  I'd also say…

I would agree.  I'd also say that issue applies more generally when hiring for leadership positions, not just head coaches.

Which isn't helpful, I know, but what people tend to do, I believe, is picture someone who was successful in the position previously, and try to hire as close to that ideal as they can find.  Which begs the question of whether they've identified the correct factors that led that prior person to be successful, or are focused on on the wrong factors?

Who even do you try to emulate, right now?  Andy Reid - probably your best choice, but 3 years ago fewer people would have agreed.  Bill Belichick - good luck with that unicorn.  Doug Pederson - umm, maybe not?  Gary Kubiak, Pete Carroll, John Harbaugh?

Is there anything, objectively speaking, that is shared by all of them, contributed to their success, was not present in coaches who had failed careers, and can be accurately assessed in advance as being present or absent amongst coaching candidates? 

Every recruitment firm's going to have their checklist that they sell to ownership and measure candidates against.  But no one I know of has a track record of successful head coach hiring that suggests a methodology any better than throwing darts at a wall.

I don't know what I'd do, but I suspect I might look to someone outside of the coordinator ranks.  You get to hire an offensive and a defensive coordinator, so you don't need a head coach with those skills.  Plus everyone's fishing from that pond.  I'd probably look for someone with talent evaluation skills who also has experience in a leadership role and with managing people.  That tends to lead me towards the college ranks, but not necessarily towards guys whose success came from their recruitment efforts, so maybe lower tier schools?  But it likely has to be somebody with some pro experience, too, whether as a player or in a lower-ranked staff position.



12 "You get to hire an…

"You get to hire an offensive and a defensive coordinator, so you don't need a head coach with those skills."


The problem there is they can get hired away. Having a strong expertise on a side of the ball insulated you.

But I agree overall, probably better to zig while everyone zags. Cliff Kingsberry was seen as a reach hire and maybe he doesn't succeed, but at least he's trying something innovative and the Cards have improved since they hired him.

Lately, we have seen some old ways of thinking get debunked, like age of head coach and analytics savviness. I'd love to see if there's a creative defensive coordinator in college who deserves a shot. 

16 Selling

Lafleur may have been hired not by selling his Tennessee success but his Shanahan/McVay connections. Also, Lafleur didn't interview with a guy who made billions in business without a lick of football knowledge. He interviewed with Packer President Mark Murphy, who logged eight years in the league as a defensive player, a person who could understand game trends in the NFL.