FEBRUARY 2: The deal has now been finalized, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports. Wilson joins Nick Holz in becoming a first-time NFL coordinator as part of rookie head coach Brian Callahan‘s initial staff.
JANUARY 31: With former defensive coordinator Shane Bowen not returning under the staff of new Titans head coach Brian Callahan, a new hire became necessary. According to Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report, it will be Ravens defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson who will take over defensive play-calling duties in Tennessee in 2024.
Baltimore’s defensive staff has been popular in the interview circuit after the team led the league in points allowed, turnovers forced, and sacks. Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald was recently hired as Pete Carroll‘s replacement in Seattle, defensive line coach Anthony Weaver interviewed twice for the Falcons’ and Commanders’ head coaching positions, linebackers coach Zach Orr has interviewed for the Packers’ defensive coordinator job, and pass-game coordinator Chris Hewitt interviewed in Jacksonville for another defensive coordinator job.
Wilson has been an especially popular name, as well. Tennessee was one of five teams vying for Wilson’s services this offseason. The 41-year-old Maryland native had been scheduled interview a second time with the Giants, was requested to interview with the Packers and Rams, and was expected to be in consideration to replace Macdonald in Baltimore.
Wilson has widely been regarded as one of the league’s better defensive backs coaches, spending time with the Jets and Eagles before his role in Baltimore. In both previous locations, he even eventually added the role of passing game coordinator to his title. During his time with the Eagles, Wilson’s unit helped lead the league’s top pass defense and second-overall defense in total yards allowed. First-team All-Pro cornerback James Bradberry, Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, and converted safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson all flourished in Wilson’s room, with Gardner-Johnson even leading the league in interceptions following the position change from slot cornerback.
For a time, it was thought that Wilson was the clear choice to take over at defensive coordinator for the Eagles whenever Jonathan Gannon moved on to a head coaching job. Unfortunately, the team ended up hiring Sean Desai instead, a decision that reflects poorly a year later. After getting passed up for the gig, Wilson found his way to Baltimore where he has helped yet another defensive unit reach elite status. This year Wilson guided the blossoming of second-year safety Kyle Hamilton, watched converted cornerback Brandon Stephens take over as a full-time starter after switching from safety, and coached backup safety Geno Stone as he went toe-to-toe with Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland for the interception title.
Now, Wilson will finally get that opportunity as a defensive coordinator that he got passed up for in Philadelphia. With Callahan set to call plays for the offense in Nashville, the Titans now have both play-callers set. All that remains is for the two coaches to fill out the rest of their staff, including a new offensive coordinator to work under Callahan, as well.