Just how good is Arthur Smith?
In whatever metric you want to throw out, this Tennessee Titans offense is better than they’ve ever been since being relocated to Tennessee. The surface-level numbers are all strongly in Tennessee’s favor. With just one game left to play in the regular season, this Titans offense ranks in the top five in both scoring and total yards, the first time that’s happened since the days of Warren Moon and Jack Pardee.
The advanced numbers love Arthur’s offense just as much, maybe even more than the superficial ones. The Titans are a team ranked third in offensive DVOA, while quarterback Ryan Tannehill ranks fifth in QBR and eighth in EPA.
Suddenly, this completely broken offense, one that had suffered through sleepless days of Jake Locker, Matt Hasselbeck, Kerry Collins, and a host of other missed potential snap-takers over the last decade-plus, has flipped on its head. An offense that had finished in the top half of the NFL in yards and scoring just once since 2005 before Arthur’s arrival has transformed, practically overnight, into one of the strongest groups in the league.
A team that had only managed two 1,000-yard pass-catchers in that time is now on pace to have two on the same roster, with Corey Davis and AJ Brown both sitting within 76 yards of that mark. This, despite both players missing a handful of games, and despite the team also possessing one of the most potent rushing attacks in the league, with star running back Derrick Henry having a puncher’s chance to be the first running back to reach 2,000 yards on the ground since Adrian Peterson in his 2012 MVP season.
Playmakers on playmakers, all sitting within the comfy walls of Arthur’s potent offensive playcalling. The Titans have not seen an offense anywhere near this level in the 21st century, but it’s finally here, and it came at the perfect time.
Because while the Tennessee Titans have struggled on offense for decades past, the defense has not. The Tennessee Titans defense, while rarely ever an elite group through an entire 16-game schedule, has been strong enough to elevate a lagging team around them. Three consecutive years of winning seasons and playoff contention before Arthur’s arrival, all while trotting out average offensive groups at best, stand as a testament to the defense’s consistency.
In 2018, while the Titans offense struggled as a group bottoming out in most offensive categories, the team still managed a 9-7 finish with a Week 17 ‘Win and We’re In’ situation, thanks in large part to the effort of a defense ranked third in points allowed per game. The year before, while starting a quarterback who threw 13 touchdowns to 15 interceptions, a defense that allowed no more than 20 points in six of their final nine games helped propel the Titans to an AFC Wild Card appearance, and even an upset win over the Chiefs.
But now, that offense, a group that has always lagged behind, has finally caught up when they need to most. For someone like Arthur, someone who was able to pull off the impossible and reinvent a basement-dwelling offense into a top-tier group, the next step is coming. Arthur, realistically, will not be with the Titans for much longer. A head coaching offer is bound to come knocking sooner rather than later, and realistically, it will come by the end of this season.
So, with the strong possibility of one more season of Arthur running the offense, the Titans are bound to be a Super Bowl contender. The offense is elite, and the defense is bound to be just as good, seeing as how they’ve always been the strongest part of the Titans roster. With those two forces working in tandem, this has to be one of the best team’s in the league, right?