Taking over as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Arthur Smith knows one person he can rely on for stability: quarterback Matt Ryan.
After sparking quarterback Ryan Tannehill's career as offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans the past two seasons, Smith now gets to work with a former NFL Most Valuable Player at QB.
"(Matt) is a great leader and obviously there's a lot of things he can do, but I don't get into comparisons because we did something with Ryan," Smith told AtlantaFalcons.com on Tuesday. "It doesn't mean we're going to do the same things with Matt.
"We're going to play to Matt's strengths just like we tried to play to Ryan's strengths."
Ryan, 35, is coming off a season in which he led the NFL in pass attempts (626) and completions (407) while throwing for 4,581 yards, which ranked fourth in the league. He fired 26 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.
As for how the rest of the roster will shake out, Smith said, "We're going to constantly look to innovate and adapt, regardless of who are personnel is," Smith said. "We're going to play to the strengths of the team, and we're going to be flexible. But we're going to do it in all three phases. And we're going to have guys that are great teammates and understand how to adapt week to week. ...
"We're going to look for guys that are great teammates and we're going to hold our best players accountable. And so whether that's Matt or Grady Jarrett, they are all going to be held to the same standard."
Smith will be part of a new power structure in Atlanta, teaming with newly hired general manager Terry Fontenot.
"We share the same vision," Smith said. "We have the same values. Certainly, it won't be groupthink, but Terry and I ... it will be an ultimate partnership. It will be a great collaboration, a good partnership as we look to build this team for the short term and the long term."
Fontenot, a former assistant GM with the New Orleans Saints, said his philosophy regarding the draft is to grab the best available player.
"It's never a bad thing to add to a strength," Fontenot said, according to AtlantaFalcons.com. "You want to get good football players, because it's a long season. There's a lot of injuries. A lot of things happen, there's a lot of challenges.
"At any position, you want to continue to add competition, and you want to get the best players that fit the makeup standard, that fit the physical talent, that fit the skill set and we have a clear vision for what they're going to be."
--Field Level Media