What will the Tennessee Titans do when Dick LeBeau Retires?
This will not be a popular subject when it comes to Tennessee Titans fans, but it is one that needs to be discussed. Dick LeBeau is the defensive coordinator/assistant head coach for the Tennessee Titans. He is not only in the Hall of Fame as defensive coordinator, but also as a defensive player. Recently, LeBeau turned 80 years old on September 9, and he has earned the luxury of being able to walk away from the game on his own terms.
LeBeau has given no indication he is anywhere near ready to call it quits. LeBeau is a true professional, so there’s no doubt he would likely give the organization some type of notice. However, considering he’s 80 years old, the Titans should have a backup plan. While no one could fill LeBeau’s shoes, here are a few coaches who could step in and lead the defense.
Bowles is currently the head coach of the New York Jets. Bowles played safety in the NFL and even started in a Super Bowl for the Washington Redskins. After retiring from the NFL as a player in 1993, Bowles began coaching in 1997.
Bowles has coached for many college and NFL teams as a secondary coach or defensive coordinator. Some of Bowles’ most notable coaching stops include: Assistant head coach and secondary coach for the Miami Dolphins, defensive coordinator and interim head coach for the Miami Dolphins, defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals, and now head coach of the New York Jets.
Many believe that with the Jets in such terrible shape, Bowles is on the hot seat, although Bowles is not solely to blame as the team’s general manager hasn’t given him much talent to work with. Bowles may be able to buy himself some time with the Jets by drafting a quarterback early in the 2018 NFL draft. The timetable for the Titans to get Bowles is the problem. Bowles doesn’t seem to have much time left in New York and LeBeau is still going strong in Tennessee.
The Titans could offer Bowles Ray Horton’s old job, working under LeBeau and moving him into LeBeau’s position after retirement, but the two run totally different schemes. With so many young players in the secondary-Kevin Byard, LeShaun Sims, and Adoree’ Jackson-Bowles would be an ideal candidate to take their games to the next level.
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Ryan is a seasoned veteran when it comes to coaching. He’s made multiple stops at different college and NFL teams in his coaching career. Ryan also has experience as a positions coach for defensive linemen and linebackers. Some of Ryan’s most notable coaching stops include defensive coordinator for the Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens, head coach of the New York Jets, and head coach of the Buffalo Bills.
Ryan was known for being a “firm but fair coach” and he was never afraid to say what was on his mind. Currently, Ryan is working as an analyst for ESPN. It is unclear if he would even want to return to coaching. One thing is clear, however: The Titans’ style of football matches what Ryan has done in the past, which is a strong run game and stout defense.
Spanos is the only in-house-candidate on this list. He is in his 21st season as an NFL coach, and his fourth with the Titans. Spanos is the linebackers coach for the Tennessee Titans. He has watched LeBeau up close and personal over the last four years. One positive on Spanos’ side is the Titans linebackers are good. The Titans finished second in the league in run defense last season, which is their highest total since 2003, and second in sacks by a linebacking corps (28.5). Spanos would bring less adjustment time and familiarity with the team already in place.
- Gary Gibbs: linebackers coach, Kansas City Chiefs
- Al Harris: secondary coach, Kansas City Chiefs
- Michael Barrow: assistant head coach/linebackers coach, Seattle Seahawks
- Adam Zimmer: linebackers coach, Minnesota Vikings
- Mike Vrabel: defensive coordinator, Houston Texans
- Perry Fewell: secondary coach, Jacksonville Jaguars