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.

Callahan has not been a playcaller with the Bengals working under an offensive head coach in Zac Taylor, but the buzz around the league is that after five years as Taylor’s top lieutenant, he’s ready to do so. He's regarded as a quality offensive mind who may fit in with the trend of young offensive head coaches who are having success around the NFL.

"I could probably talk for hours about the value that Brian has to our team because it is tremendous," Taylor said via Mike Petraglia in the summer of 2021. "And I think the players see that, how smart he is. He’s been around some of the most successful offenses in the history of football and he’s seen some of the all-time greats do it.

"He knows what the standard should be and what it should look like. When he communicates with the group, it always hits the nail on the head because he’s been there, done that. It’s where we want to be, and he does an outstanding job for us.”

That his father has such offensive line expertise and that Callahan worked with Manning for all four of his seasons in Denver, even as a low-ranking assistant, give me confidence about the new coach's feel for protections.

The Titans have had insufficient offensive line personnel for two seasons and the players they did use talked often of communication issues in dealing with the sort of stunts and twists that are commonplace for defenses trying to pressure quarterbacks. 

While Burrow would be great with virtually any offensive coaches, Callahan helped Jake Browning lead the Bengals to a 4-3 record as an injury replacement this season.

All these hires are a leap of faith, however. And we won't know for some time if they've gotten it right.

Callahan and Carolina offensive coordinator Thomas Brown were scheduled to be the first two candidates for in-person interviews on Monday, the first-day such meetings were allowed for coaches currently employed by NFL teams.

New England had a contractual deal to promoter Jerod Mayo to replace Bill Belichick and Las Vegas promoted interim coach Antonio Pierce.

The Titans are the third of eight teams with an opening to hire and the first to hire an outsider.

Kuharsky megaphoneThe L.A. Chargers, Washington, Atlanta, Carolina and Seattle all still have open jobs. 

Tennessee also had a scheduled in-person interview with Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and former Stanford coach David Shaw visited with team executives.

Two other candidates who had first-round remote interviews would not have been available for an in-person interview until next week when their teams would have been eliminated from the playoffs or heading into a bye week ahead of the Super Bowl: Detroit defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and Baltimore defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald.

Others who had a first-round interview remotely: Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, offensive coordinator and Eagles offensive coordinator Ben Johnson.

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