The Tennessee Titans have nearly filled out their coaching staff, and it features a variety of coaches who have been very successful in the past.
After the quick hiring of head coach Mike Vrabel, the new man in charge and GM Jon Robinson took their time in beginning to assemble a coaching staff. Many fans grew impatient with the relatively slow process, but it ended up doing the Tennessee Titans a world of good.
The Titans aren’t done filling out the whole staff, but they have hired coaches with diverse backgrounds and some stellar track records. The staff is also an eclectic group in terms of age, with the age range spanning from 31 to 68.
A great linebacker during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, Vrabel made the Pro Bowl in 2007 and won three Super Bowls with the Patriots. Vrabel got into coaching in 2011, coaching linebackers at Ohio State for a year and then the defensive line for two seasons.
Vrabel then coached linebackers for the Houston Texans from 2014 to 2016, turning Whitney Mercilus into a legitimate star, continuing to develop Jadeveon Clowney and improving Bernardrick McKinney and John Simon into game-wreckers. Vrabel took over as DC for the Texans in 2017, but his defense suffered a cataclysmic amount of injuries, and they unsurprisingly regressed into a bottom-half unit.
LaFleur is the actual “QB Guru” that many pretend or purport to be. The 38-year-old was the quarterbacks coach for the best years of several quarterbacks’ careers: Robert Griffin III during his historic rookie season, Matt Ryan during his MVP season in 2016, and Jared Goff in his breakout 2017 campaign.
His track record with QBs is unmatched, and Titans fans should be incredibly excited to see what he can get out of Marcus Mariota. On top of all that, he will finally be able to design his own offense and call plays. A bright young mind with plenty of experience, LaFleur is quite possibly the most intriguing hire of the offseason or the Titans.
Pees is as experienced as it gets, and he’s the oldest member of the Titans coaching staff at 68. Pees was ready to retire before being persuaded by Vrabel to coordinate the defense. Vrabel was a linebacker under Pees’ specific watch from 2004 to 2005, and then Pees was promoted to DC of the Patriots from 2006 to 2009. As DC for the Baltimore Ravens, Pees’ defensive units ranked top 10 in DVOA in four of the last five seasons. In 2017, his defense forced a league-leading 34 turnovers and scored six defensive touchdowns.
Pees won a Super Bowl with the Patriots as a linebackers coach and another with the Ravens as defensive coordinator.
QB Coach Pat O’Hara
Perhaps best known for his Hollywood film career as a football-specific actor and/or coordinator, O’Hara had a successful playing career as well at quarterback. He played a few seasons in the NFL before joining the Arena Football League scene and winning the ArenaBowl three times.
O’Hara got his break into the NFL in coaching with the Texans in 2015, and he helped develop outstanding rookie QB Deshaun Watson during the 2017 season. O’Hara will be counted on to help Mariota along as he did for Watson.
A former All-Pro wide receiver in the NFL, Moore possesses the playing career resume that many of the Titans’ past WR coaches didn’t. Moore has coached wide receivers and only wide receivers since 2002, from high school to college to the NFL. He has helped along the careers of Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Stevie Johnson, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
Moore will be tasked with getting the most out of Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor, two uber-talented pass-catchers who endured brutal rookie seasons.
DL Coach Terrell Williams
Williams has been coaching defensive linemen since 1998, and he has only ever been a defensive line coach. He has coached at several high profile colleges like Purdue and Texas A&M. While with the Oakland Raiders from 2012 to 2014, he developed Lamarr Houston into an upper-echelon pass-rusher and run-defender, got a career-best year out of Matt Shaughnessy and coached Khalil Mack in his rookie season.
Williams then went to the Miami Dolphins, where he coached Olivier Vernon into a massive contract, continued Andre Branch’s development, improved Charles Harris and coached Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh.
ILB Coach Tyrone McKenzie
McKenzie is a former linebacker who was taken in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots after an accomplished career at the University of South Florida. He played for a couple of teams until 2013, when he began his coaching career and shot up through the high school and coaching ranks quickly. He coached at Colorado and Stanford from 2105 to 2016, then took a job on Sean McVay’s playoff-making staff last season as a special teams assistant.
McKenzie will coach inside linebackers in Tennessee, the position he played in both college and the NFL.
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OLB Coach Shane Bowen
The youngest coach on this staff at 31 years of age, Bowen was an assistant at Georgia Tech and Ohio State before transitioning to linebackers coach for Kennesaw State from 2013 to 2015. Bowen then joined the Houston Texans as a defensive assistant for two years, where he helped guide the league’s top defense in 2016.
Like McKenzie, Bowen will coach up the position that he played in college at Georgia Tech: outside linebacker.
Coombs has coached up an assortment of different cornerbacks who were highly thought of as NFL prospects coming out of Ohio State, and many have already excelled in the NFL. The likes of Marshon Lattimore, Bradley Roby, Eli Apple and Gareon Conley were all first round draft picks under his tutelage, and Denzel Ward will follow in their paths this upcoming April.
Coombs won a National Championship with the Buckeyes in 2014.
Special Teams Coach Craig Aukerman
Aukerman spent his first season with the Titans as an assistant special teams coach, and helped one of the league’s previously worst units develop into one of the very best in the NFL.