Titans' coordinators considered for head coaching gigs
Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and offensive coordinator Norm Chow are being considered for the head coaching jobs with the Atlanta Falcons and the University of Hawaii, respectively.
Chris Mortensen said in a local radio interview last week that Schwartz would interview with Arthur Blank for the Falcons job. The Titans have now given permission to the Falcons to speak with Schwartz. It's not the first time Schwartz has been considered for a head job. He was one of the finalists who interviewed for the 49ers job a few years ago. There was speculation that Mike Nolan received the job in large part because of his family name and its history with the organization.
Schwartz can claim an impressive pedigree, coming from both the Jeff Fisher and Bill Belichick coaching trees.
Chow has interviewed for several college jobs in the last two years, such as N.C. State, Arizona, and most recently, UCLA. He's known as an offensive guru in college coaching circles and the UCLA job would have been a plum one for him. Chow still maintains a home in Los Angeles, where some of his family lives, after his job at USC. He and his family put down roots there and it would have been an ideal situation for him.
The Hawaii job also makes sense. Chow is from Hawaii and still has relatives there. Outgoing Hawaii coach June Jones has recommended Chow for the job and the personnel he's leaving behind are accustomed to playing a wide open offense, which would suit Norm just fine.
Both coordinators have their detractors who would love for them to leave.
The Schwartz haters claim that he inherited Gregg Williams' defense and allowed it to decline. I disagree that the defensive decline was Schwartz's fault. The Titans were beginning to enter their period of salary cap woes and couldn't keep their best players. On the defensive side of the ball, that included guys like Samari Rolle, Kevin Carter and Randall Godfrey, among others.
The Chow bashers claim he's too conservative and predictable. Again, I disagree. Chow is handcuffed by Jeff Fisher and isn't allowed to open up the offense. That's just not Fisher's style. One coach I know said being the offensive coordinator for Fisher has to be one of the worst coaching jobs imaginable. He didn't mean that disrespectfully, he simply meant that the coach would never receive much recognition for having a high powered, wide open offense.
The only time Fisher relented and allowed his OC to open up the offense was in 2004. The defense was in shambles from a combination of the salary cap and the injury bug. They gave up 208 points in a five-game span, an average of 42 points per game, and 140 points in a three-game stretch, an average of 47 per game. Another factor in Fisher's decision to open up the offense was a series of injuries to Steve McNair. Billy Volek replaced him at QB and was expendable. If Volek was injured in the new Titans vertical attack, so be it.
Just as McNair's health was a priority then, Vince Young's is now. There's no way Fisher will allow VY to sit back in the pocket for too long or too often, especially when he has LenDale White to pound the ball between the tackles.
So what's the likely impact of the loss of either coordinator?
Not much, in my opinion. If Chow leaves, the new coordinator would be handcuffed just as Chow has been. My only concern about a new coordinator is that he should be a teacher, like Chow, to help develop Young.
It's even simpler on defense. Linebackers coach Dave McGinnis would be a natural fit to take over as DC. He and Fisher are like-minded and in tune philosophically. They're on the same page and there's a comfort level there. McGinnis was the DC for both the Bears and Cardinals before becoming the head coach in the coaching graveyard known as Arizona. But that's another story.