The Tennessee Titans should extend LeBeau, now


A lot of my time on this site has been spent on offense, and rightfully so. There is something special going on in Tennessee with Marcus Mariota. Not only that, but if young players like Dorial Green-Beckham and Antonio Andrews pan out then the Titans offense has a chance to be very good in the future.

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However, the story of the year that has gone under the radar is just how great this Titans defense is. Are they a historically great unit? No. Are they the best defense in the league? No, but they are the best coached defense in the league and that has a ton to do with Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that this team has no talent on defense, because it does. However, he is taking players that you wanted kicked off the team last year and making them some of the Titans defensive standouts. Look at what he is doing with some of the names you hated last year, or didn’t know this year.

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  • Turning it around

    Wesley Woodyard last year had a really tough time as the starting inside linebacker for this team. In fact, according to PFF he graded out with a -10.8, which  However with Dick LeBeau’s help he is on pace for a +11.6 score this year.

    If you don’t know how big of a deal that is, look at it like this. Last year Woodyard was the 46th ranked inside linebacker out of 60 players. This year, he is the 6th best and is the only player in the top 12 that has less than 300 snaps.

    Showing off the stars

    -Jurrell Casey was absolutely dominant last year earning a whopping +21.1 score according to the PFF scoring system. Not only is Casey on pace to beat that number this year, he has already eclipsed it with a +26.4.

    That is in large part because Dick LeBeau is figuring out how to get him into one-on-one situations more often. Hence the fact that he has tied his sack total from last year.

    Found money

    -Cody Riggs is an UDFA from Notre Dame that no one really said anything about heading into the draft. Not only that, but he really didn’t do a lot in the preseason to really scream that he should be a starter ever, much less as a rookie.

    So when he was kept on the final roster I just chalked it up to a special teams signing. However, Riggs had to step in and start now that he is one of the three healthy cornerbacks that the Tennessee Titans have. In his 114 snaps on the field he has earned a very solid +3.0 grade that actually makes him the highest graded cornerback on the Titans roster right now.

    You have to sign him

    At this point, I really don’t care who the next head coach of the Tennessee Titans is as far as this topic goes. I expect that Mike Mularkey won’t make the cut (though I would love for him to stay on as a TE coach because that unit has been great) and we will be looking at lists of names for the next two months.

    No matter who gets named the next head coach, how can you bring someone in that isn’t going to bring back Dick LeBeau.

    -There is no threat to your job security because he obviously doesn’t want a head coaching job any more.

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    -Even if the Titans stayed in the 3-4 look at how they played last year under Ray Horton. No guarantee that this defense stays anywhere close to the same level of production.

    -He is a Hall of Fame coach (literally) that has publicly stated that he would like to be back even though Ken Whisenhunt is no longer there.

    -Players love him and he makes Tennessee a free agent destination on defense the same way that Marcus Mariota will make it a free agent destination for offense.

    -This team isn’t losing any defensive pieces soon so why not maximize their talents by keeping the same DC.

    If there is a new head coach in town and he can’t find a way to keep on Dick LeBeau then he would be starting out his career in Nashville in a hole. I don’t think ownership can afford to have that hit to public perception after this debacle. So, with that all in mind they should go ahead and commit to a LeBeau extension if there is any way he will agree.