The Titans lost defensive coordinator Dean Pees to retirement in January, and the team opted against replacing him with a new DC. However, someone will need to call the plays, and it’s presently unclear exactly who that someone will be.
Even head coach Mike Vrabel doesn’t know at the moment. As Jim Wyatt of the team’s official website tweets, Vrabel says that there will be one playcaller, and he is still deciding who will be tasked with that responsibility. Outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen is one possibility, and there were rumors in the wake of Pees’ retirement that Bowen would be elevated to defensive coordinator. While that did not happen, Bowen could still find himself with an increased role.
Indeed, Albert Breer of SI.com notes (via Twitter) that Bowen is on the “coordinator track,” and Vrabel said that Bowen will be the team’s defensive voice when Vrabel is managing his other units (Twitter link via Wyatt). New inside linebackers coach Jim Haslett could also be an option, given his lengthy track record as an NFL DC.
Of course, the odds-on favorite to call plays is Vrabel himself, who has experience doing exactly that as defensive coordinator with the Texans in 2017. After all, if he was going to delegate that responsibility, one would think he would have announced it by now.
Whoever the playcaller is will be charged with getting the most out of a middling unit that was about average in 2019 in terms of DVOA and below average in terms of yards allowed. The team is still in the mix for Jadeveon Clowney, but there has been no recent movement on that front.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.