NEW YORK — The New York Jets interviewed Tennessee Titans offensive co-ordinator Arthur Smith and New Orleans Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn on Monday for their head coaching vacancy.
Smith and Glenn make nine known candidates to meet remotely with the Jets, who have said they would “cast a very wide net” in their search.
New York, which fired Adam Gase after two seasons, spoke to Buffalo offensive co-ordinator Brian Daboll, Indianapolis defensive co-ordinator Matt Eberflus and Los Angeles Rams defensive co-ordinator Brandon Staley on Sunday. The Jets have also interviewed Kansas City offensive co-ordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis, San Francisco defensive co-ordinator Robert Saleh and Carolina offensive co-ordinator Joe Brady.
Doug Pederson, who was fired Monday by Philadelphia, could also emerge as a candidate. Pederson and Jets general manager Joe Douglas worked together with the Eagles for four years, including the Super Bowl-winning squad during the 2017 season.
The 38-year-old Smith has been a Titans assistant for 10 seasons, including the last two as Tennessee's offensive co-ordinator . He is expected to interview with several of the seven teams looking for a head coach.
Smith oversaw an offence that tied for second this season in total yards per game, led by 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Henry. He has also helped Ryan Tannehill, the AP Comeback Player of the Year last season, become one of the NFL's most efficient passers. Tannehill threw a career-high 33 touchdown passes this season.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel gave his endorsement to Smith being hired as an NFL head coach as someone he respects.
“Arthur’s always done the best job in the job that he’s had,” Vrabel said. "He hasn’t worked telephones and tried to undercut anybody. He’s always come to work, and I have a lot of trust in Arthur as a person first and foremost, so I know he’d do a fantastic job leading anybody’s team.”
The Titans went 11-5 to win the AFC South, but were eliminated from the playoffs Sunday with a 20-13 loss to Baltimore. Smith's offence struggled against the Ravens as Henry had his worst performance this season with 18 carries for 40 yards and the Titans were held to their fewest points.
Smith began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at North Carolina, his alma mater, in 2006. He spent two seasons as a defensive quality assistant for Washington before going to Mississippi as a defensive intern and administrative assistant in 2010.
Smith was hired in 2011 by Mike Munchak in Tennessee as a defensive quality control coach. He became the offensive quality control coach the next season, and was promoted to offensive line and tight ends assistant in 2013. New head coach Ken Whisenhunt kept him on his staff in 2014 as the assistant tight ends coach before he was promoted to tight ends coach by Mike Mularkey in 2016.
Smith was again retained in 2018 when Mike Vrabel took over as coach, and promoted to offensive co-ordinator in 2019.
The 48-year-old Glenn is considered an up-and-coming coaching talent despite his relatively short time on the sidelines. He has been on Sean Payton’s staff since 2016 and helped the Saints rank fifth in passing defence during the regular season. Glenn previously spent two years as Cleveland’s assistant defensive backs coach from 2014-15.
Glenn was the 12th overall pick by the Jets out of Texas A&M in 1994 and spent eight seasons in New York, a stint that included two Pro Bowl appearances.
He was acquired by Houston in the expansion draft in 2002 and made another Pro Bowl in the first of his three seasons with the Texans. Glenn was well respected in the locker room and was voted in 2003 by his teammates as the team’s Ed Block Courage Award winner, given to players who show inspiration, courage and good sportsmanship.
Glenn signed with Dallas as a free agent in 2005, reuniting with Bill Parcells, who coached him for three seasons with the Jets. The cornerback also played for Jacksonville (2007) and New Orleans (2008), and signed a one-day contract with Houston in 2010 to retire as a member of the Texans.
He was the general manager of the Houston Stallions of the indoor Lone Star Football League LSFL in 2012 before rejoining the Jets later that year for a two-season stint as a pro scout.
AP Pro Football Writer Teresa Walker contributed.
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Dennis Waszak Jr., The Associated Press