The Tennessee Titans have hired former Baltimore Ravens defensive backs coach, Dennard Wilson, to be the team's defensive coordinator.
Surprisingly, the Titans didn't follow the usual trend of pairing a young offensive coach with an experienced older coach on defense, but Wilson fits exactly what the Titans need. Go back and listen to Brian Callahan's introductory press conference, he told Tennessee Titans fans exactly what he was looking for in a defensive coordinator.
Similar to his views on offense, Callahan said that it isn't about having a rigid set of rules and being strictly a 3-4 or a 4-3. Instead, it is important to be able to find out where your opponent is weak, and then attack those weaknesses.
While Wilson hasn't been a DC before, defenses coached by Wilson have frustrated opposing offenses for a decade at this point. Wilson has said in interviews that he feels like he was groomed for this job by working with guys like Gregg Williams and Todd Bowles in the past, but his coaching influences go beyond that.
Peter Bukowski tweeted a perfect thumbnail of Wilson's career as a coach and where he has been.
Those are some incredible coaches to learn from, in fact, every one of those coaches has been hired as a head coach at some point.
Wilson isn't just riding the coattails of greatness, he has made a visible impact everywhere he has gone. I wrote about how he elevated the talent he coached with the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, and Baltimore Ravens, and there are a few stats that make that obvious.
Despite having a better roster in 2023 than they had in 2022, the Philadelphia Eagles went from 1st in sacks and 1st in passing yards allowed per game in 2022 with Wilson, down to a 2023 defense that was 20th in sacks and 31st in passing yards allowed.
That is a massive downgrade, but there is always the argument that the Eagles also lost then-DC Jonathan Gannon and that he deserves the credit for that difference. So, let's look at what Wilson did when he was hired to be the DB coach of the Baltimore Ravens this year.
In both 2022 and 2023, Mike Macdonald was the Baltimore Ravens' DC, so there is no change there like there was in Philadelphia. However, while the Ravens were good on defense in 2022, they weren't elite like they were this season.
Going back to the same key stats as before, in 2022 the Ravens were 6th in sacks, but they were 26th(!) in passing yards allowed. After adding Wilson in 2023, they shot up to 1st in sacks and 6th in passing yards allowed.
Tennessee Titans fans are allowed to feel excited again
Everything isn't cut and dry in the NFL, and there are other reasons why the Eagles and Ravens were so much better with Wilson than they were without him. However, he clearly made a very positive impact and the Eagles defenders vocally supported Wilson as someone they wanted to replace Gannon after he left to take the Arizona Cardinals job.
On top of all of that, Wilson was a hot commodity around the NFL and he had interviews (sometimes multiple interviews) with the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, and L.A. Rams, and he was considered an in-house replacement for Mike Macdonald as the Ravens next DC.
Like Callahan, Wilson seems to have checked off every box required for his promotion, and the only concerns about him are about his lack of experience as a play-caller. When you break it down, that just means that he has never been fired as a DC before, otherwise how would you hire him?
Tennessee Titans fans should be excited that they have hired a DC who has elevated sack totals and pass defenses everywhere he has gone, and that Brian Callahan has first-hand experience coaching against. Nearly every team with a head coach in place and a defensive coordinator vacancy wanted to talk to Wilson about it, but at the end of the day, the Titans are the ones that walk away victorious.
Things are starting to look very promising for the future, and this has been an unequivocally great start to the offseason for Titans fans and fans should keep expecting great news.