Coaching searches, even when it’s for a coordinator position, are typically exciting affairs.
Fans are almost always energized by the idea of a new coach/coordinator and the changes they could bring to a franchise.
But the Tennessee Titans’ search for a new offensive coordinator, which officially started nearly two weeks ago, has been the opposite of exciting. In fact, it’s been a downright snoozefest.
Several offensive coordinators are off the board after accepting new positions, such as Todd Monken who was hired by the Cleveland Browns.
And other potential candidates, like Brian Callahan and Mark Helfrich, apparently aren’t even being considered by the Titans.
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) January 17, 2019
Helfrich seemed like an obvious candidate. The Chicago Bears had a solid season (they won the NFC North) and Helfrich is very familiar with Marcus Mariota from their time at Oregon together.
I’m not saying Helfrich should automatically be hired by the Titans because he coached Mariota in college, but a conversation between the two parties wouldn’t be a bad idea.
For now, the only legitimate candidate, beyond any speculation, is tight ends coach Arthur Smith, who has has been with the franchise since 2011. He was elevated from an offensive assistant to tight ends coach midway through the 2015 season.
Titans TEs coach Arthur Smith believed to be candidate for coordinator job https://t.co/2XAXfnLxFN
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 16, 2019
Smith seems like a knowledgeable, hard working coach. But promoting him to offensive coordinator would be an underwhelming move for the Titans. Especially with Mariota going into a pivotal year.
Titans general manager Jon Robinson recently spoke about the importance of continuity for Mariota. While I think continuity is important, it’s also critical to remember that Mariota is coming off his worst statistical season in the NFL (it’s a toss up between 2017 and 2018). Some of that can be attributed to injuries (both Mariota and the rest of the team), but let’s not act like the offensive system put in place by LaFleur last season was infallible.
There are certainly some improvements that can be made. I’m not sure that hiring a first time offensive coordinator/play caller in Arthur Smith, who would essentially be given the keys to the offensive kingdom in Nashville, would be the right move. If this were a few years down the road and the system was a bit more established, then I think an in-house promotion would be fine. But for now, I think the Titans should probably look outside the organization.
Maybe Robinson and Mike Vrabel have something up their sleeve. For whatever reason, they’re keeping a tight lid on the search.
That might end up being a good thing for the Titans in the long run, but it makes for a boring search for fans.
And isn’t the off-season half the fun of being a fan?
Featured image via Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports