The Tennessee Titans will be looking for two new coordinators this offseason.
Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith was a hot candidate this offseason and quickly landed a job with the Atlanta Falcons.
We have agreed to terms with Arthur Smith to become our next head coach.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 15, 2021
On the defensive side, the Titans could be correcting the mistake of not hiring a defensive coordinator in 2020. One would argue the Titans’ defense held them back from getting much better results in the 2020 season.
There have been whispers of who the Titans are looking at on both sides of the ball.
The Titans interviewed Pittsburgh Steelers defensive assistant Teryl Austin for the defensive coordinator opening, and the Titans inquired about Clemson’s offensive coordinator Tony Elliott.
#Steelers DBs coach – and former #Lions DC – Teryl Austin spoke last week to the #Titans about their potential defensive coordinator position. He, like the rest of PIT’s defensive assistants, hasn’t yet been proffered his new Steelers contract.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) January 16, 2021
As head coach Mike Vrabel continues to look for worthy candidates, let’s look at the guys hired by him before, getting a glimpse of his hiring coordinators success.
One of Mike Vrabel’s first hires as Tennessee Titans head coach was offensive coordinator, now Packers head coach, Matt LaFleur.
LaFleur didn’t necessarily have a flashy offense in Nashville. The Titans ranked 25th in total offense. They were 7th in rushing offense and 29th in passing offense with Marcus Mariota at quarterback.
Despite the underwhelming numbers, LaFleur still went on to get hired by the Packers and has since made the NFC Championship game twice in two years.
The Titans moved on from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill, then found themselves in the AFC Championship and went 11-5 with an AFC South title the following year.
In hindsight, one could say Mariota was holding both parties back. LaFleur wasn’t the flashiest of offensive coordinators in Tennessee, but he helped the team go 9-7.
In 2018, Vrabel called upon long time friend and Ravens’ retired defensive coordinator, Dean Pees, convincing him to come out of retirement.
Pees’ scheme and utilization of the Titans’ defensive talent helped them rank 7th in the NFL overall in 2018. They were third overall in points allowed per game (18.9) and 10th in third-down efficiency (you and I both know why that’s relevant).
In 2019, the Titans defense finished 21st, which is a bit misleading considering the defense was pretty decent in the 2019 season. They were top 15 in points allowed per game.
Overall, though, Pees’ was an excellent hire for Vrabel and his defense. And for now, he stands as the only defensive coordinator he has hired in his career.
Pees retired after the 2019 season but could return to join the next man’s staff on this list.
Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith easily reigns as the most successful coordinator Vrabel has hired.
Of course, I mean on the Titans because LaFleur is easily the most successful right now out of the Vrabel coaching tree.
Smith coached a Titans offense ranked third overall in the NFL and is being held responsible for quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s resurgence and the dominance of running back Derrick Henry.
The Titans’ rushing offense was second in the NFL overall, behind the Baltimore Ravens.
Their passing attack wasn’t flashy but efficient. It ranked in the bottom half of the NFL, but watching the offense at its best would show you how misleading that was.
Smith was a home run hit for Mike Vrabel, and before his offensive coordinator stint, he spent eight years working his way up the organizational ladder.
Vrabel will be looking for his next home run hit this offseason. Hopefully, he can get two, as the Tennessee Titans’ offensive and defensive coordinator positions are on the job market.
Featured image by USA TODAY Sports