Tennessee Titans play musical chairs with their position coaches

Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: PackersNews)
Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: PackersNews) /

The Tennessee Titans have finally filled the last position coach vacancy on their staff with the hiring of Justin Outten.

Outten will coach the Tennessee Titans running backs and he has also been named the run game coordinator. This will be the first time that the Titans will have a run game coordinator and a passing game coordinator with neither coach being the actual offensive coordinator.

Last year, Tim Kelly was the Titans passing game coordinator and we have finally learned that his job was focused on designing specific parts of the passing game (1st and 2nd downs).

I’m not sure what to expect from a running game coordinator, but it makes sense to infer that Outten will be in charge of some situational parts of the running game and then he, Charles London, and Tim Kelly will work together both before and during games to formulate plans on offense.

On paper, I love what this hire represents for the Tennessee Titans. Outten and London are both outside hires that interviewed for the OC job and made a strong impression that earned them position coaching jobs with the Titans after the decision was made to promote Tim Kelly.

Gathering experienced offensive minds is a great idea, but there is something about the hires that I just don’t understand.

The new Tennessee Titans coaches seem to be coaching the wrong positions

Here is a look at the Tennessee Titans’ position coaches and their coaching experience.

Charles London: Passing Game Coordinator/QB Coach

London has 10 years of experience coaching running backs, and only two years of experience coaching quarterbacks. On paper, you would think that he would be a better fit as a run game coordinator and running backs coach.

Justin Outten: Run Game Coordinator/RB Coach

Outten was the tight ends coach in Green Bay for three years and then he was hired for one year as the OC for the Denver Broncos. He has never coached running backs before, so again, wouldn’t it make some sense to have him as the passing game coordinator and tight ends coach?

Tony Dews: TE Coach

Dews is fascinating because if you go back all the way to when he started position coaching at the college level in 1998 he has coached linebackers for one year, defensive line for two years, defensive backs for three years, tight ends for three years, offensive line for four years, running backs for six years, and special teams for seven years, wide receivers for eight years.

That man has done nearly everything, and while Mike Vrabel thinks that being a TE coach is a stepping stone to an OC job, if he wanted to move him from coaching the RBs then why not just give Dews the OL job and give him one of the coordinator tags that Charles London and Justin Outten were given?

John Houghtaling: OL Coach

Houghtaling spent the bulk of his collegiate coaching career at Wagner where he coached every position except for quarterback. He moved on from there in 2020 to coach the offensive line for Colgate, before joining the Titans as an assistant OLC in 2021 and 2022.

If former OLC Keith Carter had been so good that he had been hired away from the Titans, then I would understand a promotion here. Given the way everything went down and the lack of offensive line development over the last two years, an internal promotion here is very surprising.

The only position coach on offense who didn’t change jobs was Rob Moore who will be going on his 23rd straight season as a wide receiver coach.

Tennessee also moved Luke Steckel and Pat O’Hara out of position coaching jobs and both are now analysts for the offense.

Everyone should be encouraged by the new hires and this is a good offensive coaching staff, but it is going to be interesting to see how well these coaches adapt to coaching positions slightly outside of their wheelhouse.