Arthur Smith joined Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter to talk about his early days with the Atlanta Falcons. Van Pelt asked Smith about the different skills it takes to succeed as a head coach, the Falcons inability to win close games in 2020, and his overall philosophy.
Van Pelt began by acknowledging there have been several successful coordinators who struggled as head coaches. How would Smith manage the transition.
Smith replied by admitting that surrounding himself with experience was key.
“You’re responsible for the entire roster, the whole coaching staff,” said Smith. We feel really good about the guys we hired here, and we’ve got good experience. Guys that can help you in areas that you might not have experience in.”
“We’re really excited about we added Dean Pees and where we’re going to take this thing defensively and then Dave Ragone on offense and Marquis Williams on special teams.”
Falcons fans are familiar with Atlanta’s inability to hold on to leads, and losing a lot of close games in 2020. How close does Smith think the Falcons are to winning again?
“It’s a talented team. They’ve had good players and coaches here. Most of these games as you know, they come down to the end. If you look at us at Tennessee last year, the first five games we started 5-0, and all those games came down right to the wire. And you’ve got to be very good situationally.”
“I feel very good about some of the pieces that are here, and I’m excited to get to work with them.”
What’s the biggest picture challenge for Smith right now as a new coach
“There’s a lot of things that come with it. We try to structure it. We’re putting in new offensive, defensive and special teams systems. There’s a lot of meetings going over the roster; we’re unsure about the salary cap. So you’ve got to have plan after plan. It’s been fun.”
“You want a smart football team. You want a team that can adapt and play together in all three phases. You have to be able to do that because there are so many different challenges. Just look at this division. What they’re building at Carolina, obviously Tampa just won the Super Bowl, and New Orleans has been as good as anybody the last 17, 18 years.”