Tennessee Titans Head Coach, Ken Whisenhunt confirmed during his portion of the press conference on Wednesday, at the NFL Combine, that newly hired Dick LeBeau will run the defense going forward. Ray Horton will remain as the team’s defensive coördinator, but will answer to LeBeau.
LeBeau becomes the sixth coach in Tennessee with ties to the Steelers, including the head coach. Whisenhunt indicated there should be no problems with the arrangement, as LeBeau mentored Horton in Pittsburgh, and recommended his promotion to DC when he left the Steel City.
Whisenhunt, LeBeau, Horton, assistant head coach/tight ends Mike Mularkey and linebackers coach Lou Spanos all coached in Pittsburgh. Assistant defensive line coach Nick Eason played defensive end for the Steelers from 2007-10.
"“It was important to Dick that Ray was there and was involved in it,” Whisenhunt said at the NFL scouting combine of what went into hiring LeBeau. “Ultimately, Dick has the say over the defense and we’re going to work through all that this spring. He had a lot of opportunities and we feel very fortunate to be able to get him.”"
The Tennessee Titans obviously have a nice lineup of defensive minds already on the staff, but running a defense doesn’t always mean diagraming plays on Sunday for the opposing offense. You need to have the right talent on the field who can execute the game plan.
This is where the Titans have come up short in the past couple of years. Evaluating available talent is a unique ability, and is a sense not all defensive minds have. That is where LeBeau comes in.
When you have a Linebacker like Akeem Ayers, who couldn’t get on the field in Tennessee, and watch him make play after play in New England, you have to know there is a problem with evaluating talent, and being able to use that talent on the football field.
I have always thought one of the best defensive minds in recent history at evaluating talent, and was able to find key defensive players where others couldn’t, was former Dallas Cowboy, and Miami Dolphin Head Coach, Jimmy Johnson.
Johnson was firm in what type of defense he wanted to run, and could always find players with the talent to execute his system. An example of note was drafting Larry Brown out of TCU in 1991.
The Cowboys got Brown in the 12th round(320 overall) and he was a starter in all three of the Cowboy’s Super Bowls during the 90’s, and was the MVP of Super Bowl XXX.
Larry Brown left for the Oakland in free agency, and flopped, because he didn’t fit the scheme in Oakland as he did with the Cowboys.
This is the type of keen eye the Tennessee Titans need, and it comes to Music City with Dick LeBeau.
I don’t think Jevon Kearse, or Albert Haynesworth are coming out of retirement anytime soon, so it will be up to Dick LeBeau to find players in this draft that can execute his 3-4 defense.
A defense that once again, opposing offenses will need to game-plan for, and know where they are at all times, on the football field.
Head Coach, Ken Whisenhunt gets a mulligan after his 2-14 effort during the 2014 season, but I’m sure that he knows that Titan management, and fans are not going to put up with much more losing on Sundays.
I think Dick LeBeau is the man who can turn this thing around on defense, and let’s face it, a good attacking defense, with any type of offense, should net at least an 8-8 season in 2015. Maybe the playoffs in 2016.