Titans DC Jerry Gray. Credit: Bloguin.com
A few weeks ago, the Titan Sized staff ran a feature exploring possible replacements for Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer when he was given the pink slip. Now that the Titans decided to give up 55 freakin’ points in -14 degree weather, it’s time to look for a new Defensive Coordinator as well.
The year started out deplorable for the Tennessee Titans defense, giving up an average 34 points per game through the ninth game of the season. Since then the bleeding had been stemmed, and Jerry Gray’s defense held opponents to a respectable 17.6 points a game for the next 5 games. That is until they went to Lambeau. The Packers put up 55 on the hapless Titans , marking the second time this year they’ve allowed over 50. Something that should only happen generationally, if ever.
The Titans have now broken the franchise record for point allowed in a season. The defense looked to be turning it around, but now it looks like it was more of a result of who the Titans played, rather than a tightening of the defensive ship.
So in honor of Jerry Gray’s potential demise, the staff here at TitanSized has put together a list of possible Defensive Coordinator candidates the Titans may be interested in.
Justin Stewart, Editor : Jerry Gray
Yeah. I know. Look at me and my stubborn self… While things started out rough, there’s been a pretty good turnaround here in the second half of the season. With a functional offense, this defense would look a lot better. Gray finally discovered how to blitz in the second half of the season and since then we’ve really learned some things about players, such as rookie OLB Zach Brown. I think there are still some changes that need to be made on defense, specifically the addition of an actual safety next to Michael Griffin instead of a bunch of scrubs. But hey, maybe Markelle Martin is that guy. Either way, I’m fairly content with Gray. I like his attitude, I like the ideas he talks about, and I like how we’re actually starting to see some of the stuff he spoke about when hired. Turnovers have been a more frequent occurrence, as well as hitting the QB. There are still some tweaks to be made, but Gray is one of the few guys out there still telling his guys to hit the other team hard.
There will be enough changes coming to this team in the off-season. I’d just like to have one constant. Give this guy at least one more year. With an offense that can move the ball and actually find the other teams end-zone, this defense could actually look like a top-5 unit in 2013. I vote Gray.
Josh Gunnels, Staff Writer : Mike Pettine
A few weeks ago it was reported that Jet’s Defensive Coordinator, Mike Pettine, turned down a contract extension. Black Monday is coming, and my hunch is that Pettine is hoping to hold out for a Head Coaching gig somewhere. That or he;s just tired of being part of the NY Jets/Rex Ryan circus. Either way, the Jet’s defense has been more than solid over his tenure. They currently rank 2nd against the pass and 29th against the run. I’ll actually take that in a division that’s going to be seeing Andrew Luck twice a year. If Pettine doesn’t get the Head Coaching job he’s looking for, then maybe he would enjoy the calmer and sunnier life in Nashville for a few years.
Russell Griffin, Contributor: Romeo Crennel
After having let up the most points in franchise history, there has been talk in Titans camp about a possible switch at the defensive coordinator position. Jerry Gray had a successful first season last year, but the defense digressed this year; part of which can be attributed to injuries, youth, and some holes on the defense.
Mike Munchaks recent comments about Gray, lead you to believe that he is willing to retain Gray. He hinted to building with the current players, and even adding key veterans through free agency.
If Gray is not retained, a few names I would like to see pursued are the recently fired Romeo Crennel and Ken Whisenhunt. Both are proven defensive guys, and are extremely credible coaches. Munchak has shown in the past that he likes hiring “his guys”, and most of his staff is filled with coaches/players that he has some form of connection with.
Jason Peters: Jerry Gray
I know, I know…boring pick, right? Not really. Allow me to explain: I do not believe that Jerry Gray is the coordinator of our future by any stretch. He has promised us nothing but exotic defensive looks and hybrid schemes, and all he has delivered is one of the worst defenses we have ever seen in Tennessee. After the first year, he explained that he didn’t have the time to install his defense the way he wanted to, and we gave him a pass because, after all, we were an overachieving 9-7. After the debacle that was this season, though, I don’t think he or Munch will survive the season.
So why then am I advocating he come back for one more year? Simple: To buy us time for Jim Schwartz. See, Jim Schwartz has turned around a Detroit Lions team that was a joke before him, but he’s starting to lose his grip after a disappointing season this year. Management will see fit to give him one last chance, but if the team fails to meet expectations once again, he will surely be given the ax. Anytime a coach gets fired from a head coach position, he must go bank down to the ranks of coordinator and earn his employers trust again. Schwartz had this defense rocking and rolling the entire time he was with the franchise (DC from 2002-2008), and we could surely use his swag back at LP Field.
What do you think? Should the Titans move on from Gray? Or give him another year with Munchak?
you can find me on twitter @gunnelsj