On Monday, the Tennessee Titans learned that defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs is heading back to Ohio State to become the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator.
That’s not the only defensive coach that’s leaving.
Dean Pees announced Monday afternoon that’s he’s retiring…..for the second time.
Pees briefly retired in early 2018, but came out of retirement to join Mike Vrabel’s staff in Nashville just weeks later.
Vrabel told reporters on Monday that he didn’t have the heart to talk Pees out of retirement a second time.
Mike Vrabel: “I talked (Dean Pees) out of retirement once. I didn’t have the heart to do it a second time” #Titans
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) January 20, 2020
Vrabel said he’ll take his time finding a replacement for Pees, but here are five quick options that could make sense for the Titans.
Phillips is always going to be an option when there’s a defensive coordinator opening. Phillips has never had much success as a head coach, but he’s had plenty of success as a defensive coordinator. The Rams didn’t renew his contract in January.
Jerod Mayo — New England Patriots inside LBs coach
Mayo might be a bit raw for this position. He’s only been the Patriots’ linebackers coach for one season, but he’s well regarded as a coach. Mayo and Vrabel were teammates in New England in 2008.
DeMarcus Covington — New England Patriots outside LBs coach
The Patriot connection is always going to be a thing with Vrabel and general manager Jon Robinson — which isn’t a bad thing. Covington is another highly regarded young coach. He probably makes more sense than Mayo, since he has more experience. Covington was a grad assistant at Ole Miss before landing a job as a co-defensive coordinator at Eastern Illinois. Bill Belichick found him while scouting draft prospects and brought him to New England. He spent two years as defensive assistant before joining the on-the-field staff in 2019. There’s a big trend of finding young up-and-coming coordinators right now and Covington could be the next one that takes the league by storm.
Mike Macdonald — Baltimore Ravens LBs coach
Macdonald has a Dean Pees connection via the Ravens, so that’s a plus for Vrabel and the Titans. He could provide a certain amount of continuity for Tennessee. Macdonald is a former graduate assistant at Georgia who has coached in Baltimore since 2014.
Aaron Glenn — New Orleans Saints DBs coach
If Vrabel asks for Belichick for some advice, he might point him toward Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn.
Glenn played under Belichick with the Jets (when Belichick was the defensive coordinator). He’s coached in the NFL since 2014 and he’s been the Saints’ defensive backs coach since 2016. Glenn is widely regarded as a soon-to-be defensive coordinator in the NFL. He’s considered by some to the defensive coordinator in waiting in New Orleans.
Featured image via © Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports