Titans Request Four HC Interviews; Team Not Targeting Bill Belichick, Jim Harbaugh

With the dust having settled on Mike Vrabel‘s firing, the Titans are moving quickly in searching for his replacement. The team is casting a wide net, but a pair of high-profile candidates are not included.

Tennessee has submitted head coaching interview requests for Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Colleague Ian Rapoport reports that the Titans are also interested in Texans OC Bobby Slowik, while adding the team is set to speak with Bengals OC Brian Callahan tomorrow. Lastly, Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson has received an interview slip, per Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz.

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Those names add further to the list of Titans targets, a group which already had five members comprising of coordinators on both sides of the ball as well as Raiders interim head coach Antonio Pierce. As Dianna Russini of The Athletic reports, however, neither Bill Belichick nor Jim Harbaugh are on the team’s radar. The former has officially parted ways with the Patriots as expected, while the latter has been linked to an NFL return for several months and is well-positioned to do so after winning a national title with Michigan.

Although Ben Johnson has been connected to commanding a high salary — due to his popularity on this latest HC carousel — the Titans staying out of the Belichick and Harbaugh derbies points to both a less expensive coach being targeted, along with a younger option. Belichick has now been ruled out for the Commanders and Titans. The Falcons remain connected to the legendary Patriots leader, while loose connections have formed between Belichick and the Chargers and Raiders. No official Belichick interview request has come out yet. Harbaugh has been connected to both the Falcons and Commanders, but the reigning national champion coach still looks to have the best chance of resurfacing in the NFL via the Chargers or Raiders.

This continues a remarkable rise for Slowik, who worked with Kyle Shanahan in both Washington and San Francisco. The Shanahan tree has proven fruitful since the 49ers’ 2019 turnaround, and Slowik’s play-calling debut — under ex-Shanahan DC DeMeco Ryans — produced the Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite in C.J. Stroud. The Texans’ rebound from 3-14 to 10-7 has put Ryans in danger of losing his play-caller early.

Brian Johnson has received two interview requests in two days; this follows the Panthers’ slip. This is not Johnson’s first season calling plays, however, as he was previously the OC at Florida. Ben Johnson’s play-calling efforts over the past two years have seen him draw interest just about everywhere. This makes five HC interview requests for the two-year Lions OC, who has played an integral role in the team’s turnaround. After bowing out early on last year’s HC carousel, Johnson is likely to land a job this year.

Callahan interviewed for the Colts and Cardinals’ jobs last year and has been in place as an OC longer than Slowik and the Johnsons combined (five years). That said, Zac Taylor calls plays in Cincinnati. But Joe Burrow‘s rapid ascent and the competent play of backup Jake Browning this season again led the way to Callahan becoming an HC candidate. In addition to the Titans, Callahan has received requests from the Panthers, Chargers and Falcons.

Sam Robinson contributed to this post.

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