Titans find themselves rebooting the leadership within the franchise. Let’s look at both the well-known options and lesser known up and comers.
Texans OC Bobby Slowik – The fan favorite and for good reason. He was on my offensive coordinator list last January and was a hire that I thought would start the in-house succession plan for the Titans, but he opted to join forces with DeMeco Ryans’ Texans. Slowik has proved to be well worth the buzz. He would extend the Shanahan coaching tree coming from the 49ers just a year ago. He’s been able to work wonders for C.J. Stroud and Titans would be hoping he does the same for Will Levis. The Shanahan system is traditionally QB friendly and efficient. It’s an offense that the Titans have been trying to emulate for years. I have no complaints about Slowik schematically because I know there’s only so many iterations you can run in this league that are from that tree of thought. Decision making and creativity is what sets you apart. I’m a firm believer in any given Sunday anything can occur. Slowik could look like a wizard one week and then a defense can get the best of you the next. But what should remain a constant is a coach’s leadership and ability to run a program. Slowik is young but he seems stern and mature. A lot of these candidates will be first timers, but I believe whoever the Titans choose they have no other option than to be patient while this person learns the ropes of being a Head Coach in the NFL.
Ravens OC Todd Monken – Monken was on my offensive coordinator list last year as well. I thought he may want to return to college, but he had impeccable timing knowing it was time to leave. Monken has expanded that Ravens offense substantially. He’s created throwing opportunities that Lamar Jackson hasn’t seen in his entire career. Wide receivers in that offense are running open. Monken is incredibly open and adaptable. You don’t always see that with older coaches, but he’s embraced all ideas to improve his ability to coordinate his offense. He has a humor to him that makes it easy to talk to him and he explains the game in simple terms. He’d be a good fit for whoever the Titans see fit as the QB of their future.
Lions OC Ben Johnson – Here’s a cool tidbit. Ben Johnson coached QB Malik Willis at the 2022 Senior Bowl. Johnson also has history with the Dolphins and was there when Ryan Tannehill was quarterback so I’m sure RT will give Johnson insight on Nashville and how this organization does things. Ben Johnson is much like Slowik in the sense that he’s the young up and coming offensive savant that teams want so desperately to have these days. His front office gifted him quite the talent to work with and he’s using it extremely well. Creativity and spacing is his calling card.
Commanders OC Eric Bieniemy – Bieniemy has been interviewed several times for head coaching positions only to not be hired. But getting away from Kansas City was a good case study on his value as Kansas hasn’t been as creative as year’s past. He has a history coordinating a quarterback with amazing arm talent. Bieniemy had Sam Howell playing good football in stretches. I think he’s a type A personality and holds his players to a high standard. He brings an energy to a lockeroom that can withstand tough times and dog days.
Bengals OC Brian Callahan – Callahan understands the importance of having loaded receiver rooms more than any coach if you pair the fact that he’s been coaching a team with that very dynamic for five seasons. I share that same ideology and have been trying to get this team to understand you need multiple skillset types at that position and you should invest the proper draft capital to do so. Callahan has been around some significant quarterback names over his coaching career, including Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr and Joe Burrow. He’d bring an impressive staff with him offensively that may even include his father Bill, who is the offensive line coach for the Browns.
Browns OC Alex Van Pelt – Van Pelt is name that is not being mentioned right now and it may be contractually forbidden but he should absolutely be in talks with teams to either see his vision if he were to be a head coach or have him be your offensive coordinator calling plays. The Browns have gone through several different quarterbacks and offensive line combinations, and they had very little drop-off. They’ve been one of the better teams in the league at not only developing offensive line talent but collecting it. The Titans have been somewhat allergic to at least collecting high-end players at this position group. He’s had experience in a few offenses that are successful currently, Mike McCarthy’s Cowboys, Zac Taylor’s Bengals, and of course Kevin Stefanski’s Browns. He’s got the infinity stones of NFL offense and isn’t even talked about.
Packers OC Adam Stenavich – The Packers’ offensive development throughout this season has been one of the more impressive happenings across all of the NFL. Jordan Love’s growth should be a clear indication of how the Packers place the utmost importance on offensive mastery.
Buccaneers OC Dave Canales – Another member of BU’s 2023 offensive coordinator list. He may not be ready this hiring cycle, but I wouldn’t mind interviewing him to see where he’s at in his presentation and preparation. He’s taken an offense that had quite the transition over the off-season and made them formidable. He’s an optimistic and high energy coach that mimics his former co-worker, Pete Carroll.
Cardinals OC Drew Petzing – This may be early interest, but I am certain he’ll be in head coach discussions next hiring cycle. Petzing is a smart and well-prepared coach that made the most of the QB shuffling situation in Arizona and has offensive answers for defensive problems.
Packers Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia – Every player you talk to about Coach Bisaccia explains how much he means to them. He goes above and beyond to connect, not only as players but as human beings. As one of the best at his job in the NFL and countless connections he’d be an exceptional interview.
Browns DC Jim Schwartz – Schwartz is not being talked about enough. In fact, when the first rumblings of Vrabel possibly being relieved of his duties were going on, he’s the first name that came to mind that seriously would want this job for reasons that go beyond getting a promotion. He knows Tennessee Titans football. You could argue that he’s one of the founding fathers of it. I know fans want an offensive minded head coach. You don’t want a revolving door at offensive coordinator. That’s IF contractually it would be allowed by the way, but you’d hope your OC would be good enough to garner head coach jobs anyway. But listen, the Browns have one of the best defenses in the league and Schwartz was just on the Titans coaching staff that put up some impressive numbers against the run when he was here. He’ll have allegiance from several Browns players when they become free agents and is well respected around the league. The only con would be adaption and possibly personality because he can come with edge but I’m apprehensive that the Titans may stray too far away from people that have spunk. They may find that polarizing personalities are the usually a trait of high-end competitors and football is incredibly competitive.
Rams DC Raheem Morris – Morris is a pro’s pro. Extremely well-spoken. His defenses have always been well prepared and have played hard. He has connections that cross many of the best defensive and offensive minds, including Monte Kiffin, Jon Gruden, Kyle Shannahan and Sean McVay.
Bengals DC Lou Anarumo – Coach Anarumo should eventually get a chance to be head coach. Despite his age I think he’s modern enough to adapt to the ever-changing NFL. He’s been around some of the offensive minds that are coveted in this league and I’m sure he’d find a competent offensive staff.
Ravens DC Mike Macdonald – What Macdonald is doing in Baltimore is amazing. He clearly has superior talent to work with, but his adaptable defensive scheme is aggressive and violent.
Cowboys DC Dan Quinn – Quinn is a coach that suffers from media pollution. I think he’s an unbelievable coach. He uses the talent around him in progressive ways based on how offenses are evolving and he gets the most out of his players. He’d also have a great chance at bringing the best staff with him wherever he may go.
49ers DC Steve Wilks – Wilks probably should’ve been the Carolina Panthers’ Head Coach. There’s a theme with solid interim head coaches leading teams to wins and momentum shifts only to not be retained. Much like Quinn, he’s an incredible teacher and coach and I’m expecting him to impress in interviews because of his relationships with players.
Panthers DC Ejiro Evero – Coach Evero is a very underrated coaching candidate. I think his defensive coaching staff is one of the tops of this hiring cycle, there’s a ton of NFL experience and versatility. I’d be interested in seeing what kind of offensive staff he’d want.
Raiders IHC Antonio Pierce – A lot of people want to move away from the “leader of men” types after having Vrabel as coach for 6 seasons. But don’t let groupthink and wave riding make you lose sight of what coaching an entire locker-room is. It’s teaching. It’s managing. It’s I.Q. and it’s leadership. Not only do players have to relate to you and feel as though you have their best interest at heart there’s a certain level of edge and competitive nature that has to remain in a violent sport like football. In a changing football landscape and many are trying to get more finesse and modern, it’s important not to forget football is a physical game. Pierce is going to bring a team to the field that is prepared and relentless.
Jets DC Jeff Ulbrich – Coach Ulbrich is high energy and detail oriented. The Former Falcons coordinator helped run one of the top defenses in the league this season. He will be an emerging candidate to pay attention to in the coming years.
Texans DC Matt Burke – Burke is another name that should be getting more attention. He’s been around some awesome defensive minds, including Jim Schwartz. Burke started his coaching career in Tennessee as an administrative assistant and defensive quality control coach.
Offensive Coordinator Options
Browns OC Alex Van Pelt
Bengals OC Brian Callahan
Dolphins OC Frank Smith – As of right now, I’d like to see Smith get either play-calling duty somewhere first or be sitting in on one of his interviews to see how he envisions leading a franchise because I don’t think he’d be a candidate for head coach for me, in THIS 2024 hiring cycle. Hopefully Miami gives him more chances to prove himself. He seems pleasant and competent to do his current job I just have to see more to sign off on head coach duty. A flier to see how he calls plays are in play, but I’d need more information.
Colts Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter
Rams Pass Game Coordinator Jake Peetz
Rams QB Coach/PGC Zac Robinson
49ers PGC Klint Kubiak
Panthers OC Thomas Brown
Former Texans OC (’22) Pep Hamilton, Former Bears QB Coach Andrew Janocko, Former Falcons HC Art Smith, Patriots OC Bill O’Brien, Alabama OC Ryan Grubb, Kentucky OC Liam Coen
Defensive Coordinator Options
Falcons DC Ryan Nielsen, Former Giants DC Wink Martindale, DC Shane Bowen, Michigan DC Jesse Minter, Illinois Senior Football Analyst Jim Leonhard
Ideal Pairing from both trains of thought.
Offensive HC/DC Match
Todd Monken/Wink Martindale
Defensive HC/OC Match
Jim Schwartz/Alex Van Pelt
New Age Favorites HC-OC/DC
Ben Johnson (or Bobby Slowik)/Jesse Minter
Filling Out The Coaching Staff (In General) Some of these coaches (above) will bring their own guys and they’ll be tremendous additions. Examples: Dan Pitcher (Bengals QB Coach), Tanner Engstrand (Lions PGC). Would love to interview Raiders Patrick Graham for DC and Panther Chris Tabor for Special Teams Coach as well.
QB Coach – Charles London
Asst QB/WR Coach Andrew Janocko (Bears)
Offensive Pass/Run Game Analyst Brian Johnson (Eagles)
Associate HC Bill Lazor (Texans)
Offensive Consultant Ken Zampese (Commanders)
Running Back Coach Tony Dews (Titans)
Tight End Coach Thomas Brown (Panthers)
Offensive Line Coach Scott Peters (Browns)
Wide Receivers Coach Rob Moore (Titans)
Coaching Assistant Deuce Schwartz
Defensive Line Coach Terrell Williams (Titans)
Asst. Defensive Line Coach Jurrell Casey
Defensive Quality Analyst Jason Brooks (Steelers)
Outside Linebackers Coach Ryan Crow (Titans)
Linebackers Coach Bobby King (Titans)
Defensive Analyst Luke Kuechly (Panthers Scout ’20-21)
Cornerbacks Coach Al Harris (Cowboys)
Defensive Backs Coach Steve Ellis (Louisville)
Safeties Coach Jim Leonhard (Illinois)
Special Teams Coach Phil Galiano (Saints)