Top Contenders Emerge: Analyzing 3 Leading Candidates for Titans’ Head Coach Position in the Post-Vrabel Era

When examining the recent discussions in Tennessee about Mike Vrabel’s dismissal, a distinct narrative emerges. The term ‘innovate,’ along with the idea of evolving and adapting to current NFL play styles, is frequently mentioned. This suggests the team is aiming for a fresh approach, focusing more on innovation and offense. The following list of coaches aligns with this narrative from Tennessee, highlighting those best suited for the organization’s new path.

Bobby Slowik

  • Age: 36
  • Current role: Texans offensive coordinator

His steady progression and notable achievements have marked Bobby Slowik’s journey through the NFL coaching ranks. Slowik made his coaching debut with the Washington Redskins in 2011 under Mike Shanahan. During his tenure with the Redskins, which lasted until the end of the 2013 season, Slowik served as a defensive assistant.
After leaving the Redskins, Slowik spent three years (2014-2016) with PFF as an analyst. His subsequent career leap came in 2017 when he joined the San Francisco 49ers under Kyle Shanahan. Initially serving as a defensive quality control coach, Slowik transitioned to the offensive side in 2019, becoming an offensive assistant. His upward trajectory continued, culminating in his promotion to offensive passing game coordinator in 2022.
In 2023, Slowik’s career took a significant turn when head coach DeMeco Ryans, a former colleague from San Francisco, appointed him as the offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans. Slowik has already made a considerable impact at just 36 years old and in his first year as an offensive coordinator. He has been instrumental in developing rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, guiding him to throw for over 4,000 yards – a rare feat for a rookie. Under Slowik’s leadership, the Texan’s offense saw a dramatic improvement, climbing from the bottom of the league in points and yards per possession to a respectable 13th in both categories. Slowik’s potential as a head coach has become a topic of interest in NFL circles. His experience with Kyle Shanahan and his successful stint with the Texans have put him on the radar for teams looking for a fresh coaching perspective. The Titans, in particular, have been suggested as potential suitors, given general manager Ran Carthon’s familiarity with Slowik from their time together in San Francisco. This connection, coupled with Slowik’s recent success and background, positions him as a strong candidate for a head coaching role, despite some concerns about his relatively short tenure as a full-time play-caller. If the Titans are looking for a young offensive mind to steer this team in a new direction, Slowik is one of the top available candidates.

Ben Johnson

  • Age: 37
  • Current role: Lions offensive coordinator

Ben Johnson, currently serving as the offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, has rapidly emerged as a prominent figure in NFL coaching circles. With his impressive track record and innovative approach to offense, Johnson has become a top candidate for head coaching positions, including potential consideration by the Tennessee Titans.
Johnson’s journey in the NFL began with the Miami Dolphins in 2012, where he progressed through various coaching roles, including assistant quarterback coach, tight ends coach, and eventually wide receiver coach.
In 2019, Johnson transitioned to the Detroit Lions as an offensive quality control coach and quickly climbed the ranks. By 2020, he was appointed as the tight ends coach, a position he held until being promoted to offensive coordinator after the 2021 season. His impact on the Lions’ offense was immediate and transformative. Under his guidance, Detroit boasted a top-five offense in scoring and yardage for consecutive seasons. Johnson’s ability to navigate injuries to key players and maintain a high-performing offense has been impressive.
Johnson’s proficiency is not just limited to coordinating a dynamic offense; his individual work with quarterback Jared Goff is also commendable, with Goff achieving a 21-13 record, a 66.2 percent completion rate, and impressive average stats per 17 games under Johnson’s tutelage.
At the age of 37, Johnson represents the new wave of young, offensive-minded coaches in the NFL. His background has given him a well-rounded perspective, and he has demonstrated a keen ability with the Lions to maximize his players’ talents, whether in the passing game or the rushing attack. His approach could particularly appeal to the Titans as they prepare for life after Derrick Henry and seek to revamp their offensive strategy.
Johnson’s potential fit with the Titans is further underscored by his ability to develop young talent. His success in maximizing the skills of Lions players like quarterback Will Levis and others suggests he could have a similar impact on the Titans’ roster. The Titans’ inclination toward hiring young head coaches aligns perfectly with Johnson’s profile, making him a strong candidate to lead the team into a new era. Johnson’s rise as one of the top offensive minds in the NFL and his proven track record with the Lions make him an attractive option for teams seeking a fresh, innovative approach to their offense. As the Titans look to redefine their offensive identity, Johnson’s expertise and youthful energy could be precisely what they need to rejuvenate their team and compete at the highest level.

Frank Smith

  • Age: 42
  • Current Role: Dolphins Offensive Coordinator

Frank Smith’s coaching career has spanned over a decade in the NFL and has showcased his impressive journey through various roles and his significant impact on multiple teams. Starting in 2010 with the New Orleans Saints as an assistant offensive line coach, Smith played a crucial role in enhancing their offensive line, which allowed only 143 sacks from 2010 to 2014, the third-fewest in the NFL. His tenure saw four Saints offensive linemen earn Pro Bowl honors, with Jahri Evans being named first-team All-Pro three times and Carl Nicks once.
In 2015, Smith transitioned to the Chicago Bears as their tight ends coach, and served in that role foe two consecutive seasons. After his stint with the Bears came to an end, His journey took him to the Oakland Raiders in 2018 as their tight ends coach, where he continued to refine his coaching skills under head coach Jon Gruden. During his time with the Raiders, Smith supported tight end Darren Waller with his sobriety, and rise to dominance in the NFL.
Smith’s expertise was recognized when he got a big promotion to join the Los Angeles Chargers in 2021 as the run game coordinator and offensive line coach.
The pinnacle of Smith’s career came in 2022 when he was appointed offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins under head coach Mike McDaniel. While McDaniel handles the play-calling duties, Smith’s role in implementing McDaniel’s scheme is pivotal. Under his guidance, the Dolphins boasted the No. 1 offense in total yardage and the No. 2 scoring offense in the 2023 NFL season. His recognition as the top offensive coordinator in a recent NFLPA survey speaks volumes about how much his players respect him as a coach.
Turning 43 soon, Smith has been lauded for his straightforward, genuine teaching style and leadership qualities. Players have described him as a leader who inspires them to excel and has been respected by colleagues for his focus on the present. His experience working under Super Bowl-winning coaches like Sean Payton, John Fox, and Jon Gruden has given him a firsthand look at what it takes to build a winning team.
Given his successful track record and ability to relate to players personally, Smith has emerged as a potential candidate for the Tennessee Titans as they seek to revamp their team. His coaching background could make him an appealing option for Titans’ general manager, Ran Carthon, as the team looks to rebuild its offense and prepare for a strong future in the league. With his diverse experience and proven success, Frank Smith stands out as a coach who has continuously evolved and made a significant impact in every role he has undertaken in the NFL.

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