Arthur Smith becomes the fourth offensive coordinator that quarterback Marcus Mariota has had. The Titans quarterback now has had five play-callers heading into his fifth seasons.
That’s enough change for anyone, so Smith said Tuesday he will stick with Matt LaFleur’s offense to give Mariota and some continuity.
“He’s already changed enough,” Smith said, via Paul Kuharsky of paulkuharsky.com. “So, when he comes in here, he’ll know exactly how we’re reading plays; he’ll know exactly how we’re calling plays. It just allows him to take another step. I think as the whole offense improves in Year Two, it will help the quarterback.”
The key thing is keeping Mariota healthy. He has yet to play a full 16-game season. He played 14 games, starting 13, in 2018, missing a win-or-go-home season finale against the Colts.
Smith said play calling can help Mariota in trying to keep him out of harm’s way.
“You make sure you keep changing the launch points for him, that helps,” Smith said. “The way the game is going, you’re able to run the ball or you’re able to move people off the line of scrimmage, it opens up a lot of things for him. So yeah, there’s certain areas of play-calling that go into it, and understand what your matchups may be week-to-week.
“Whether they’re inside or outside, the percentage these guys are going to blitz you in certain situations. That all factors into it. But play-calling definitely can help. It’s not the end-all be-all, but there definitely will be a conscious effort to keep him healthy.”