NFL Rumors: Bengals’ Brian Callahan, Titans Finalizing HC Contract After Vrabel Exit
Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 23, 2024

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 29: Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals and offensive coordinator Brian Callahan look on during training camp on July 29, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans reportedly plan to hire Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan as their next head coach, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network and Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Pelissero noted Callahan’s second interview with the Titans happened Monday.

The 39-year-old just finished his fifth season as the Bengals’ OC. He came aboard with Zac Taylor when the latter took the Cincinnati head coaching job.

Callahan has 13 years of NFL coaching experience, beginning in 2010 when he served as a Denver Broncos coaching assistant.

He stayed in Denver through its Super Bowl-winning 2015 season before going to the Detroit Lions to become their quarterbacks coach for 2016 and 2017. He assumed the same position with the Oakland Raiders in 2018 before moving on to Cincinnati.

Tennessee parted ways with former head coach Mike Vrabel after six seasons on Jan. 9.

The decision was made by Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk, who explained why she decided to let go of Vrabel:

Tennessee Titans @Titans

Interview with Amy Adams Strunk

The Titans enjoyed six straight winning seasons from 2016 to 2021, including an AFC Championship Game appearance in 2019 and a pair of AFC South titles in 2020 and 2021.

Tennessee looked like it was on its way to another winning campaign in 2022 after a 7-3 start, but the team endured seven straight losses to end the season.

Then the bottom fell out in 2023, with the Titans going 6-11 and finishing last in the AFC South.

A poor offensive effort was ultimately the culprit. Despite the Titans sporting running back Derrick Henry and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, they finished 27th out of 32 NFL teams in scoring.

Fixing the offense should be top of mind for Callahan. Tennessee potentially has a quarterback to build around in 2023 second-round pick Will Levis, who had some impressive showings (e.g. four touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons in his debut, a career-high 327 passing yards in an upset win over the Miami Dolphins).

However, Henry is an impending free agent. The Titans do have his replacement-in-waiting in Tyjae Spears, but Henry has been the engine of the team’s offense for the better part of a decade. In addition, Tennessee simply didn’t get enough production at wideout behind Hopkins, who is in town for one more year. No other wide receiver caught more than 28 passes.

The defense was so-so. Getting two-time Pro Bowler Jeffery Simmons back from a knee injury will help, but the Titans also need some secondary aid after dealing Kevin Byard to the Philadelphia Eagles midseason.

Ultimately, this is a 6-11 squad in a division with three teams that just sported winning records. Tennessee will be pegged to finish last in the AFC South again given the current state of its roster, so Callahan will have his hands full righting the Titans’ ship.

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