What Rams, Jets and Patriots hires say about Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator search
Some major names have come off the coaching market this week, but the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator position remains unfilled.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel and new general manager Ran Carthon are staying patient in their search to replace Todd Downing, even as some big would-be targets have been hired elsewhere. This week alone, the New England Patriots hired former Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien, the New York Jets hired former Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett and the Los Angeles Rams reportedly hired former Jets coordinator Mike LaFleur.
On top of those hires, the Carolina Panthers hired former Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich as their head coach, taking another premier coordinator out of the running.
Any of those coaches could've been Titans candidates. Vrabel and Reich are friends who've expressed admiration for each other. O'Brien hired Vrabel as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator with the Texans. LaFleur's older brother, Matt, was the Titans' offensive coordinator Vrabel's first year, and Hackett worked for Matt LaFleur in Green Bay, making both of their philosophies pretty transferrable to what the Titans do.
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But the Titans are waiting. This could signal a few things.
Most likely, the Titans are waiting to get proper face time with candidates from teams still alive in the postseason. Reports surfaced early in the search that the Titans are interested in talking to Kansas City Chiefs assistants Eric Bienemy and Matt Nagy. And with Carthon coming from San Francisco, he could have some pull with 49ers assistants interested in making the jump to the AFC South.
There's also the possibility the Titans are more interested in an up-and-coming candidate than an experienced retread. Nagy, the former Chicago Bears coach, would not fit that mold. But the Titans' offense struggled under former coordinator Todd Downing, who had coordinator experience before taking over the Titans' offense. Downing's predecessors, Matt LaFleur and Arthur Smith, had never been NFL play callers before Vrabel gave them the chance, and that model was successful for the Titans.
It's also worth mentioning that the Titans job just might not have been intriguing enough for the biggest names to consider.
Obviously, Reich wouldn't have taken a coordinator job over a head coaching job. The Rams won the Super Bowl last year. The Jets are loaded with young, on-the-rise skill players. The Patriots are always a threat so long as Bill Belichick is running the team, and Mac Jones is still developing as a young quarterback. The Titans require more of an offensive rebuild than any of those teams, Panthers not withstanding.
The Titans aren't alone in their patience. Nine other teams have coordinator vacancies, including those that made head coaching changes and haven't finalized their new staffs. The early movement trimmed some experience off the top, but there are still plenty of qualified candidates available, and plenty of offenses in need of coordination.
Maybe the Titans missed out on some of the obvious names, but there should be little concern about their ability to find the right coordinator in the coming weeks.
Nick Suss is the Titans beat writer for The Tennessean. Contact Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicksuss.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator: Patience in search under new GM