New Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith is one of seven head coaches getting their first opportunity in 2021 to be an NFL head coach. He is joined by Brandon Staley (Chargers), Robert Saleh (Jets), Nick Sirianni (Eagles), Dan Campbell (Lions), Urban Meyer (Jaguars), and David Culley (Texans).
It’s been a little more than four months since the Atlanta Falcons announced Smith as their head coach and so far, he has passed the few minor tests that have come his way – most importantly, he does not hit us with dumb coaching clichés to make anyone feel better.
His success in Atlanta will depend greatly on his ability to hire the right assistants and allow them to do the jobs they were hired to do. Since he is also doubling down as the offensive coordinator, he won’t have time to put his hand in everything, making his first assistant hires critical.
Of course, his opinions will be expressed and his staff will have to listen, but the most important thing he can do heading into 2021 is trust the guys he hired to put his team in the best position to win.
The Atlanta Falcons head coach landed favorably on a recent ranking by Pro Football Focus
Dalton Miller of Pro Football Focus recently released an article ranking all 32 NFL head coaches. While he is simply giving a subjective opinion on where he thinks each head coach is, we should appreciate that he didn’t list Arthur Smith last.
He did create 10 different tiers for the 32 head coaches, including a “Rookie head coach tier”. The other nine tiers –
- Probably not the guy
- Still early, but there’s been ups and downs
- Long time decent coaches
- Young coaches that look promising
- Established and good
- Impossible to ignore despite inexperience
- Certified winners but older
- Still somewhat new but appear to be a great
- The offensive wizards that win
- Possible Hall of Fame coaches
Among the rookie head coaches, Miller has Smith ranked third out of the seven, which is good enough for 28th overall. Miller says this about Arthur Smith –
"Arthur Smith is going to a team transitioning from contender to full rebuild, but he still has Matt Ryan at the helm. He also happens to have Calvin Ridley and now Kyle Pitts to play with. Smith had the Tennessee Titans’ offense playing incredibly efficiently in his two seasons as their offensive coordinator."
He believes that Chargers head coach Brandon Staley and Jets head coach Robert Saleh is better in this rookie class. Interestingly, he has Urban Meyer ranked sixth of the seven and 31st overall. He also ranks Sean Payton at 5, Bruce Arians at 9, and Matt Rhule at 16.