Tennessee Titans build an elite front office.
Sure free agency and the NFL Draft are cool, but are you really a Tennessee Titans fan if you don’t respect what an amazing job Amy Adams Strunk has done in building the front office?
That is only a little bit tongue in cheek because while the average fan might not realize it, the Titans have quietly built one of the best front offices in the NFL, if not the best.
Today they announced three new hirings at key positions:
That’s right. We got Surf!
Alright, I’ll be honest I didn’t know who that was before today. While I am sure he is great, the big name on this list is Adolpho Birch who has some pretty incredible credentials.
According to NFL.com:
Birch spent 24 years working in the NFL office in various roles, most recently serving as Senior Vice President — Labor Policy & League Affairs. Birch was a key figure in the league office, including in matters of the personal conduct policy, drug policy, labor negotiations, employee development, and other issues.
A Nashville native, Birch owns a Vanderbilt Law degree and was elected to the Vanderbilt Board of Trust in 2014. He is the son of A.A. Birch, Jr., the first African-American chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
You may be asking, why does that matter? Well, if you listen to Mike Vrabel, one of the things that he has been intricately involved with is engaging with NFL officials trying to get a complete and comprehensive understanding of the rulebook.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether a coach is right or wrong, it matters if he understands what an official/league representative will or won’t allow.
Knowing things like what to appeal in terms of conduct and how to prevent suspensions from the perspective of the league, is incredibly valuable to someone like Vrabel.
Obviously just having Birch doesn’t make this a great front office, but look at the front office as a whole.
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Remember those other people?
The conversation obviously has to start with Amy Adams Strunk as one of the most active owners in the NFL right now. From remodeling the team’s locker rooms and practice fields, to quickly giving autonomy to the next person we will talk about, AAS has done a fantastic job understanding how she can make the Titans competitive and relevant for the first time in a long time.
Also, little things like…oh yea, how she brought the NFL Draft to Nashville.
Moving on, Jon Robinson has done a great job identifying talent in the draft and in free agency, while also making the bold decision to fire Mike Mularkey. Even bolder, he went with Mike Vrabel who had only been an NFL coordinator for a single season before taking the head coaching job and you could argue that his defense wasn’t even average.
Still, Robinson knew what it would take to build the team he wanted and Mike Vrabel had the connections, personality, mentality, and character to be the centerpiece of all of that.
Then you have two more big names that we need to mention.
The first is Ryan Cowden, Jon Robinson’s current second in command. Cowden was being considered for at least two GM jobs this offseason (Carolina Panthers and Washington), and it seems like fans should appreciate him while he is here because he is probably the next man up somewhere else soon.
And who will replace him? Well, a strong candidate is Monti Ossenfort who the Titans stole from the New England Patriots early this offseason. The best way to sum up his impact is to look at this Phil Perry tweet:
It really looks like the only difference in Ossenfort’s career path and Robinson’s is that the Titans will probably get one more year out of Ossenfort than the Tampa Bay Bucs got out of Robinson.
The team assembled in Tennessee is outstanding and that doesn’t even include names like Vin Marino, Stretch (John Stretcher) and Burke Nihill who has been groomed to replace Steve Underwood since Robinson was hired.
You may not own any of their jerseys and you may not see many of them give press conferences, but these are the people that are making the Titans better behind the scenes and it is just another reason why fans should be extremely proud of Amy Adams Strunk.