Tennessee Titans: So far, Arthur Smith’s absence is very telling

The goal here is to avoid overreaction. It truly is. Often, we’ll see NFL fans make bold black and white statements after games that they may not have made had they taken a few more minutes to think about what they were saying. Tennessee Titans enthusiasts are no different.

If a guy has a great game, there can, at times, be this unfounded desire to begin looking at him as the next big thing. If a guy has an off-game, he ‘sucks’ or he’s a ‘bust’.

Now, don’t read what isn’t being written. Is there cause for concern in Nashville? Oh, it absolutely is! Week 1’s performance by this Titans team was abhorrent.

We’ve gone from asking about how fun this team might be to watch on both offense and defense to asking whether or not the issues that have come up can be fixed in less than a week when Tennessee travels to the Pacific Northwest to see the Seattle Seahawks. That isn’t the position that we were expecting to be in by Week 2, but here we are.

Still, regardless of where you are in this argument. Here’s what can’t be denied. This offense, one that we’ve grown fond of over the past two seasons with Ryan Tannehill at the helm, looked a lot different now that their former offensive coordinator, Arthur Smith, is now the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

So far, the Tennessee Titans have some buyer’s remorse with Todd Downing.

Newly-promoted offensive coordinator Todd Downing isn’t a stranger to Tennessee Titans fans, so maybe the term ‘buyer’s remorse’ doesn’t apply, but you get the idea. That feeling of purchasing something and feeling you spent to much money on it or don’t need it is what Titans fans are still feeling days after their first loss of the season.

Downing, a man that’s been coaching in the NFL since 2005 actually won Pro Football Focus’ Quarterbacks Coach of the Year Award in 2015 before spending the 2019 and 2020 NFL seasons as Tennessee’s tight ends coach. There he got to learn from Smith and watched as the Titans replaced Marcus Mariota with Ryan Tannehill en route to a nice run over the course of the past two seasons.

Smith landed a head-coaching job. Downing was promoted, and after trading for a future Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee at wide receiver (Julio Jones), many thought a weekly fireworks show on offense would be the result.

Those hopes are paused now, for a week at least. In his debut as the OC, Downing seemed unprepared, unable to adjust, and confused as Ryan Tannehill was pummeled, Derrick Henry couldn’t get going, and Julio Jones and A.J. Brown weren’t even thought about until the second quarter.

Might Titans fans begin to point a few fingers if this doesn’t turn around (and now)? Are we missing Arthur Smith more than we thought we might?

Then again, Atlanta didn’t exactly set the world on fire in Week 1 either. They scored six total points in Week 1 and layed a goose egg in the second half during Smith’s debut in Atlanta versus the Philadelphia Eagles. That happened with Matt Ryan as his quarterback, so who knows? Maybe we’re overstating some of this?

Let’s refocus. Let’s reassess, and we’ll revisit some of this as we make our way towards the middle of the regular season.