Todd Downing was nearly the Tennessee Titans OC in 2023

Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

For the last two months, there has been a lot of turmoil in the Tennessee Titans fan base.

Firing Jon Robinson drew a line in the sand where people were forced to pick a side on whether they thought the roster or the coaching staff was more responsible for the success of the Tennessee Titans, and it has been rough.

One of the things that everyone seemed to agree with was that OC Todd Downing was a huge part of the problem, but that certainties didn’t seem to extend to the people inside of the Titans organization. There were plenty of rumors that Downing was not going to be fired after the season.

These rumors persisted and had Titans fans worried right up until the moment on Black Monday when he was fired.

A lot of people (myself included) believed that the only way Todd Downing would actually be fired was if the Tennessee Titans suffered a complete collapse that embarrassed everyone enough to force Mike Vrabel to make the tough call and fire the man he had spent the last two years sticking up for.

Luckily…I guess, the Titans ended up losing seven straight games which is the second-worst losing streak in franchise history. That qualified as embarrassing enough to make a change.

One insider basically confirmed this in an interview last week.

The Tennessee Titans nearly kept Todd Downing as the OC

On The Buck Reising Show, ESPN insider Dianna Russini discussed the Tennessee Titans and the plan for the offseason.

The first thing that she brought up was that she wasn’t sure that Todd Downing should have been fired.

"“I’m not fully sold on the firing of the offensive coordinator. Um, I really thought they would hang on- which I know that Titans fans are listening going ‘What!?’ ’cause…Titans fans wanted coaching changes Week 3, maybe even going back to last season. But, I just feel like the organization sticks with what they are comfortable with and it seemed like that was something they were going to be comfortable with, but then after with saw the results…but I do think change will be good.”"

While it is going to be impossible to find someone to say when the Tennessee Titans decided to fire Downing, it does confirm that this was a decision that wasn’t a sure thing even heading into the final week of the season.

Russini has been close to the Titans organization since Mike Vrabel was hired as the head coach and she has done a good job getting sourced info from the Titans coaching staff in the past. It is hard to imagine that she is taking shots in the dark here.

She goes on in that interview to call Mike Vrabel a top-3 coach in the NFL and she trusts that he will be able to make a good hire and improve this roster now that he is going to have more control, but these comments should give Titans fans some pause.

If the Titans had stumbled into the playoffs, they would almost certainly be coming into the 2023 season with Downing as the OC and I don’t think anyone in the fan base would have been able to defend that decision.