NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans are promoting another tight ends coach to call their offense next season. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport broke the news that Todd Downing will be Arthur Smith’s replacement.
Head coach Mike Vrabel’s stated goal of systematic continuity rolls on.
Downing has spent the last two years in Tennessee. He joined Vrabel’s staff in 2019 after coaching tight ends coach in 2018 for the Minnesota Vikings. He has previous offensive coordinator experience with Jack Del Rio’s Oakland Raiders in 2017.
Titans fans have mixed emotions about Downing’s elevation. Those in the building, however, are celebrating the hire.
Titans players react to the news
Smith’s relationship with his players contributed to his success on the field and his longevity in Tennessee despite several regime changes. Downing, so far, has received similar praise from those on the Titans roster.
“Todd (Downing) is a stud,” left tackle Taylor Lewan told me Friday morning. “Awesome guy with an incredible mind for the game. I thought when Arthur (Smith) left he would be our guy.”
Downing’s offense in his one season with the Raiders does not tell the full story. Oakland finished 6-10 that year with a -72 point differential, 18th in total offense and 23rd in points per game (18.8). 2017 was quarterback Derek Carr’s first season back from a broken fibula sustained in December of 2016. Neither Carr nor the offense found a rhythm and Del Rio’s staff was summarily fired the next season.
Downing fits the bill
In his new role with Tennessee, Downing will inherit a much more prolific group.
The Titans finished third in total offense and fourth in points per game (30.7) under Smith. While key players like wide receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith will be free agents this offseason, the bones of what make this group great will remain.
Downing’s promotion signals that Vrabel felt there was no one more capable of directing Tennessee’s offense more than the man he had down the hall. Internal hires are not always the most headline-grabbing of propositions and Downing may not be the only new coordinator in Tennessee.
Vrabel values continuity in his schemes. Promoting internally has worked out exceptionally well for the Titans thus far.
Featured Image: George Walker IV/The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports.