Arthur Smith on 'Kings of Spring,' fear of unknown and Derrick Henry's workload

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- My three biggest takeaways from Arthur Smith’s conversation with the media Wednesday…

1) The Titans won’t have a have a chance to overrate an offseason performance, something that doesn’t carry that much weight once more significant things begin to unfold.

But the media, and then the fans, get caught up in those offseason performances annually and so I am all for the side benefit of not having those to shoot down-slah-put in context.SmithFlame

“You kind of joke that there’s always the ‘King of Spring,’ sort to speak,” Smith said. “Then when the actual real football is played and guys are pressing you and jamming you, or there’s pads on, you’ve got to take on blocks or break tackles, it just looks different. It’s kind of a buildup. [Unlocked.]

“A lot of times you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt. There’s things that guys can clearly improve on in technique or fundamentals. Some of the team concepts can get overblown with the evaluation, that’s just my personal feeling about the spring. Certainly, is valuable but we’re not out there so there’s nothing we can do about it. You just try not to let it get overblown with the expectations, hyping guys up one way or the other.”

2) He's more comfortable heading into his second go-round as offensive coordinator, which is only natural, though he said he’s got a long way to go.

“The fear of the unknown is gone,” he said.

He took a lot from his review of his first season as the Titans’ play-caller, where things looked awfully good most of the time once Ryan Tannehill was put in place in Week 7.

"You’ve got to be objective," Smith said. "The thing at the end of the day is even on some of the stuff that looks successful, you look at it and we’re like, ‘Well, we’ve got to improve that, we may have caught a break here.’ You look back at some things, I think you’ve got to be honest with yourself. If someone came up here and said, ‘I don’t regret anything,’ that to me would be a very stubborn approach. So yeah, you go back and you learn, and I learned.

“You go back and watch it and watch it as the season evolves. I said, ‘Well, I know why I called that there. Would I do it again? No.’ I think you’ve got to be honest with yourself and objective. Again, you don’t want to get stale as an offense. We feel like we want to enhance our strengths and try to push it. You’ve got to be objective, and this is just my personal opinion in this job for me to go forward. I want to continue to improve as a play-caller and as an offensive coordinator.”

3) Do the Titans need to work to cut down Derrick Henry’s touches? He wound up with 386 carries after the huge postseason.

“It depends how the game goes,” was his initial response.

That fits with my feelings about their feelings. Ride Henry until you can’t and use him in a way that helps you win this week’s game to get in position to worry about next week’s game and proceed from there.apple icon 144x144 precomposed

“We’ve got a lot of explosive guys on our offense, and I’ve got to do a good job of finding ways to make sure different guys get touches, and that will naturally spread out,” Smith said. “To me, that’s what helped us in the red zone. We had multiple people score touchdowns which kind of (helped) to spread it out. We’ll just see how it goes game to game.

“But if we’ve got a lot of guys doing it and we can win games and more guys are touching the ball, it’ll be better off for us as a team and as an offense. I think it’ll naturally work itself out as we build up. We want to be improving and peaking as the season goes along.”

Ideally, the get explosive plays and play from ahead. And then what? Work for Henry, not some pitch count though Darrynton Evans should be more reliable third-down relief.

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