Who’s next for the Titans? 3 candidates who could be Tennessee’s next coach
Who will be Tennessee’s next head coach? FOX Sports Senior NFL Writer Alex Marvez lists three candidates who could be a good fit for the Titans as the team seeks a replacement for Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired in early November after less than two seasons on the job.
One plus: He wouldn’t have to go very far for an in-person interview. Schwartz has moved his family back to Nashville, his home for eight seasons beginning in 2001 while serving as Tennessee’s defensive coordinator before becoming Detroit’s head coach in 2009.
Schwartz’s familiarity with the Titans hierarchy could serve him well, especially considering the franchise’s absentee ownership situation. Schwartz also may become a candidate for the Miami Dolphins head-coaching vacancy. Details on why he could be a fit in South Florida can be found here.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota flourished in the up-tempo offense that Kelly ran at the University of Oregon. Kelly is now available after being “released” as Philadelphia’s head coach earlier this week. Sounds like a perfect fit, right? Maybe. At the pro level, however, Kelly’s offense would potentially expose Mariota to injury if asking him to run a heavy amount of zone-read plays. Mariota may be better served in the long term if developed as more of a pro-style quarterback rather than reverting to the concepts in Kelly’s system.
And after his offense regressed for three straight seasons, can Kelly’s ways work in the NFL? Let’s not forget, though, that Kelly is a smart guy who won 10 games in 2013 and 2014 with Philadelphia. He may be able to tweak his offense with a quarterback completely in-tune to the scheme, which is a luxury Kelly never enjoyed during his time in Philadelphia.
Qualifications in heading a rebuilding project and enjoying quick success? Check. Acumen in hiring a staff to develop a rookie quarterback into a franchise passer? Ditto. And a greater number of wins than Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll and Tom Coughlin in their first seven seasons as NFL head coaches? You betcha. These achievements speak well of Smith, but he will have to answer for what went wrong during his final two years in Atlanta (10 combined wins after averaging more than 11 each of his first five seasons).
On this positive side, Smith’s overall body of work in Atlanta from 2008 to 2014 and success with Matt Ryan looks better now than when he was fired last January, especially with the 2015 Falcons (8-7) showing that Smith wasn’t solely to blame for Atlanta’s inability to make the postseason what is now three straight seasons and counting.