Assessing the Tennessee Titans NFL Coaching Staff for 2021

By Dan Vasta in Sports
| August 27, 2021 12:35 pm PDT

Tennessee had one of the more popular off-season’s among NFL playoff contenders. Adding Julio Jones will do that, but many have concerns about his health. He was not the same weapon last season for Atlanta.

Still, adding him next to Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown means fireworks will be ready to be unleashed in the AFC South.

Mike Vrabel enters the season with expectations that the franchise has not seen in a while, but can he and the coaching staff deliver? To find out, here is a look at the Tennessee Titans coaching staff for the 2021 NFL season.

Mike Vrabel – Head Coach

The Titans are one of the more explosive offenses in the NFL when healthy, and that will be pivotal for Vrabel. Consecutive postseason trips have been impressive, but they lost at home against Baltimore in the Wild Card round last season.

They had issues moving the ball despite a great season from Ryan Tannehill. The ability to run the ball with Derrick Henry and Tannehill made it challenging for the opposition. The addition of Jones at wide receiver could turn A.J. Brown into one of the best weapons in the NFL.

Vrabel will need to make sure this group remains confident and satisfied with their roles on the team. It is never easy to manage an NFL locker room that is full of egos. Winning often brings teams together and can help block the noise.

If Vrabel can get his defensive coaches to get a bit more out of that side of the ball, this could be a team that gets back to the AFC Championship.

Regardless, they enter as favorites in the AFC South and should be a fun team to watch this season.

Titans Top Assistant Coaches

Tennessee has a pair of young coaches that will be taking over as new coordinators. Todd Downing and Shane Bowen have plenty of talent to work with, but it will be interesting to see how they interact on game days.

Tennessee has a daunting schedule early on, so starting fast will be vital.

Getting the players to build confidence and keep their faith against Arizona, Seattle, and Indianapolis in the opening month could go a long way.

Luckily, other coaches around them have gone through quite a bit and seen plenty of ups and downs in their NFL careers.

Todd Downing – Offensive Coordinator

Downing just turned 41, but he will be entering his first official season as the Titans offensive coordinator. He was the tight ends coach the previous few seasons and was an offensive coordinator before the Titans with the Raiders in 2017.

2017 was a great learning experience for Downing due to offensive woes, but this Tennessee squad brings more to the table.

Being able to dominate the line of scrimmage and ease stars like Jones and Brown into their passing game will be a task throughout the season. Both players can turn around a game on any simple slant or screen.

Shane Bowen – Defensive Coordinator

Bowen is even younger at 34, but he lacks the experience that Downing and others on the staff have. Luckily, Bowen was a linebackers coach for the Titans and has had some experience these last few seasons.

We saw Dean Pees retire a year ago, so Vrabel handled the play-calling duties on defense but often had Bowen help in that role.

Getting former SEC players like Bud Dupree, Jeffery Simmons, and Denico Autry to play their best football could turn this team into Super Bowl contenders. While this team may lack defensive stars, there is enough to manage in a struggling AFC South division.

Other Titans Assistants for 2021

  • Keith Carter: Offensive Line
  • Tony Dews: Running Backs
  • Rob Moore: Wide Receivers
  • Erik Frazier: Offensive Skill Assistant
  • Jason Houghtaling: Offensive Line Assistant
  • Luke Steckel: Tight Ends
  • Pat O’Hara: Quarterbacks
  • Mike Sullivan: Assistant Offensive Line
  • Ryan Crow: Outside Linebackers
  • Scott Booker: Safeties
  • Jim Haslett: Inside Linebackers
  • Zak Kuhr: Inside Linebackers Assistant
  • Anthony Midget: Secondary
  • Jim Schwartz: Senior Defensive Assistant
  • Kenechi Udeze: Defensive Line Assistant
  • Terrell Williams: Defensive Line
  • Matt Edwards: Assistant Special Teams
  • Craig Aukerman: Special Teams
  • Frank Piraino: Strength & Conditioning
  • Brian Bell: Strength & Conditioning
  • Mondray Gee: Strength & Conditioning
  • John Streicher: Coordinator of Football Development

We have seen Jim Haslett coach in the NFL, but it was over a decade ago for the Saints and Rams. He was a linebackers coach in his first job for the LA Raiders back in 1993-94. He has been around for a while now and gives this team another experienced coach.

Jim Schwartz is the most popular name here due to taking the Detroit Lions to the playoffs in 2011.

He had four losing seasons outside of that but has over 20 years of NFL experience. These assistants can give an advantage to Vrabel when the team makes their stretch run towards a berth in the postseason.

Looking Ahead to 2021 for the Titans

The expectations are never easy to place on a team in the NFL. The fans are thrilled to be back in stadiums across the league, but the Titans have more weapons than most franchises will see in decades.

Henry, Jones, Brown, and Tannehill are stars. They have played like it for a while, and Tennessee fans are hopeful for another double-digit win season.

Vrabel has quietly gotten the job done thus far, but there will be critics out there if and when they come up short in January.

Last season against Baltimore, they punted the ball away late in the game. Tennessee had perfect field position with under ten minutes to go. The Titans refused to go for it on fourth-and-short and ended up punting.

People were not pleased when they lost that game. Those are the decisions that can drive the fans crazy, and only winning will cure their woes. Even the minor decisions will get blown out of proportion against other playoff teams.

Winning the division and making the playoffs is mandatory, or else they will be one of the bigger disappointments in the league. They should feel confident and excited as they are playing in the most favorable division.

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