Arthur Smith: How much of his success is simply Derrick Henry
Arthur Smith’s stock took a hit over Wild Card Weekend. The Tennessee Titans scored 10 early points against the Baltimore Ravens and played ugly football thereafter, scoring just three points the entire rest of the game.
Our own Alex Insdorf already explained why we should not give up on Smith because of this one game, but it is important to recognize what happened and potentially why.
The Titans were unable to get going offensively as the Ravens were able to crowd the running lanes and get to Derrick Henry behind the line of scrimmage. Henry is the motor of this offense and could not get going.
The Titans were unable to adjust from this gameplan, which worries me about Arthur. Good coaches can develop good gameplans to beat other teams, great coaches can alternate from said gameplan when it is not working. Smith did not do that in this game.
Henry has been the best running back in the league the last two years and that absolutely makes it easier to run an offense. While Smith does deserve some credit for Henry’s last two years, I also would be wary of giving him too much credit. Running backs typically peak at this point in their career.
As with most of these coaches, these concerns should not totally keep the Chargers away from Smith but they are worth exploring to ensure that the perfect hire is made. It is absolutely fair to be concerned that Smith, who has no coordinator experience prior, has simply benefitted from Derrick Henry’s dominance.