What – And Who – Brian Callahan May Bring To The Titans

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

The Titans quickly settled on Bengals' offensive coordinator Brian Callahan as their 20th head coach in franchise history after a search that lasted just 13 days but involved at least 10 potential candidates. It was clear from the outset that the 39-year-old coach was very high on Tennessee’s list.

Brian CallahanAfter all, Callahan was the first reported and scheduled virtual interview, he was the first reported in-person follow-up interview as well, and he was ultimately selected before he could get out of town following the second interview.

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Ran Carthon Now Has Total Football Power For The Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As the Titans finalized Brian Callahan's deal to be their head coach, they also finalized the structure of their football operation.

And it completely empowers Ran Carthon, who they announced is promoted to executive vice president on top of his general manager title. 

Ran Carthon
Ran Carthon/ Angie Flatt

That gives him power over all areas that impact the football team: roster control, team activities and personnel decisions including draft and free agency acquisitions, oversight of Callahan and his coaching staff, scouting, sports medicine, and player engagement. 

He's running the show.

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Brian Callahan Looks Like A Solid Choice For The Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans stopped Brian Callahan from moving on to examine opportunities in Carolina and Atlanta, and are working toward an agreement Monday night for him to become their next head coach, I’ve confirmed.

The Cincinnati offensive coordinator who’s worked with Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow will come to Nashville expecting to shape Will Levis into a franchise quarterback and lift the Titans’ offense to new heights.

Aug 1, 2022; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, left, talks with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Brandon Allen (8), right, during Cincinnati Bengals training camp practice, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, at the practice fields next to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Callahan with Joe Burrow/ © The Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports

His father, Bill, is a successful offensive line coach currently with the Browns who was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2002-03 and interim coach in Washington in 2019. But Cleveland would have to let the senior Callahan out of his contract to be part of his son's staff or the Titans would have to be lining him up with a promotion offensive coordinator to get permission to speak with him.

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Qualities The Titans Need In Their New Coach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The next coach is typically opposite the guy he replaces.

A hard-nosed defensive alpha generally gets replaced by a softer, more agreeable guy with an offensive background.

The Titans moved into the next phase of their search for Mike Vrabel’s replacement Monday, with in-person interviews of coaches under contract and not still alive in the playoffs now allowed.

Mike Vrabel
Mike Vrabel/ Angie Flatt

Reports say Brian Callahan of the Bengals and Thomas Brown of the Panthers will visit with the Titans right away, the first candidates who had remote interviews to now meet with team executives in person. They cannot talk to Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald or Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn until next week, with their teams either out of the playoffs or on the bye week ahead of the Super Bowl.

I’ve been thinking about the qualities the team needs the next guy in the head coach’s offense to have.

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Mike Munchak Would Consider Coaching The Titans' Offensive Line Again

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Zach Piller said recently on The Zone in Nashville that Mike Munchak is willing to return to the Titans as their offensive line coach and I can add more details.

I learned this in early December when Mike Vrabel was still head coach. Munchak, who lives in the Denver area and hasn’t worked since a three-year term with the Broncos that concluded in 2021, said if Vrabel had an opening he would be interested in that. He'd also consider a handful of other select openings around the league based on head coaches and geography.

Mike Munchak
  Mike Munchak/ Courtesy Denver Broncos

Munchak played 12 years as a guard for the Houston Oilers and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

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Too Simple To Just Match Up Titans' Candidates With Stats

Aaron Glenn
  Aaron Glenn

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Gauging the loud segment of public reaction, coaching fortunes were moving like Wall Street tickers over Super Wild Card Weekend.

The Texans' offense was fantastic, so Bobby Slowik’s candidacy shot up in the public eye. And Houston took apart Cleveland, which Twitter said could explain why there hasn’t been so much as a mention of Jim Schwartz.

Dallas’ defense failed on a large scale in a loss to the Packers, bruising Dan Quinn’s chances

The Lions' rise continued, and so did Ben Johnson’s ascent but Miami’s offense sputtered again and Frank Smith’s name didn’t gain any traction.

Single games shouldn’t sway teams conducting interviews. It's much more about large bodies of work, but even unit production isn't a must-have when it comes to identifying a new coach.

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Lessons For The Titans Out of Wild Card Games

BY MIKE HERNDON, columnist

The Titans coaching search continues this week as they have reportedly requested 10 candidates so far and have already completed virtual interviews with four of those 10. Here is that list:

🚩Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan (virtual interview completed)
🚩Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka (virtual interview completed)
🚩Raiders interim head coach Antonio Pierce (virtual interview completed)
🚩Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald (virtual interview completed)
🚩Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn (virtual interview scheduled for Wednesday)
🚩Panthers offensive coordinator Thomas Brown (virtual interview scheduled for Thursday)
🚩Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn
🚩Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson
🚩Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik
🚩Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson

Dec 24, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik smiles before the game against the Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Houston offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik/ © Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

I would expect that the Titans will complete their initial round of interviews from this group and then will narrow in on a few to bring back in person for a second interview. It would be surprising if they moved quickly with a hire in the coming days based on how wide of a net they have cast to this point and some of the big fish that are still lingering on the market. The Titans aren’t in on Jim Harbaugh or Bill Belichick themselves, but it does feel to me like those big names may need to come off the board before some of these other pieces fall into place.

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