The Tennessee Titans’ decision to promote tight ends coach Arthur Smith to offensive coordinator, following the departure of Matt LaFleur, meant Mike Vrabel still had a vacant spot on his coaching staff.
On Saturday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Minnesota Vikings tight ends coach Todd Downing will be joining Tennessee’s staff as the team’s new tight ends coach.
#Vikings TE coach Todd Downing is headed to the #Titans to take over as TE coach in Tennessee, source said. The former #Raiders OC will also lend his experience coordinating an offense to assist new OC Arthur Smith.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 26, 2019
Before serving as the Vikings’ tight ends coach, Downing spent a year as the Oakland Raiders’ offensive coordinator. His stint in Oakland didn’t go terribly well, despite his close relationship with quarterback Derek Carr.
David Carr, Derek’s older brother, told reporters that Downing was “in over his head” as a young play caller in Oakland (Downing was 37 at the time).
Downing, who received his big break into the NFL with the Vikings as a research and development intern in 2001, has also spent time in the league as a quarterbacks coach with the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions.
Adding Downing is a nice move for the Titans, especially since the franchise is moving forward with Smith as a first time play caller.
Downing’s time as an offensive coordinator with the Raiders might not have been successful, but it should still provide him with valuable lessons that he can pass on to Smith.
Featured image via Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports