It's been five days since Mike Munchak was named as the new head coach of the Titans and I like some of the moves he has made. Hiring Bruce Matthews was one. Adding Jerry Gray as his defensive coordinator today is another.
Gray, as many Titans fans remember, was once the secondary coach here. Former Titans safety Blaine Bishop said on the radio the other day that Gray was the best position coach he ever had and was very good at teaching technique. The Oilers/Titans were 27th, 20th, 25th and 1st in pass defense (yards) and t-15th, t-21st, t-27th and 1st in pass defense (touchdowns) in Gray's four years as secondary coach.
When Gregg Williams left Tennessee to become the Buffalo Bills head coach, he took Gray with him to become his defensive coordinator. Gray was the DC from 2001-05, outlasting Williams, who left after the 2003 season. In Gray's five season in Buffalo, the Bills were 29th, 27th, 5th, 8th and 24th in scoring defense.
Gray spent 2006-09 with the Redskins as their secondary coach and held the same position with Seattle in 2010. Those teams were 23rd, 16th, 7th, t-8th and 27th in pass defense (yards) and 32nd, t-11th, 6th, t-10th and t-30th in pass defense (touchdowns).
Not great stats, and some of them don't mean that much, but he has done a good job at times. Good enough to be the DC for three different head coaches (Williams, Mularkey and Munchak.) What I like better than those stats is the endorsement from Bishop.
There are also a couple of things I like about hiring Bruce. First, Bruce started off at the bottom, at an entry level position with the Texans. I respect a guy who's started to pay his dues in the coaching world, more than I do a guy who began as a position coach with no prior coaching experience. (Munch did the same thing, spending three years as a quality control assistant before being promoted to line coach.)
Second, and this is why I think Bruce could excel, is that he played all five positions on the line. He should be able to teach players at each position certain things which he experienced. Munch, a good line coach, was strictly a left guard in his playing days. I wonder how much better he would have been as a line coach if he had played multiple positions like Bruce did.
Now that Munch has his DC in place, I expect we'll see him start to fill out the rest of the staff on the defensive side. Frank Bush is a good bet to replace Dave McGinnis. Tracy Rocker is rumored to be a candidate for d-line coach. I imagine Marcus Robertson's future will depend largely on Gray.
On the offensive side, I've noticed something interesting regarding Munch's interest in Bill Callahan, who the Jets declined to grant permission to interview, and Munch's reported interest in Tom Clements -- both men have experience in the West Coast Offense.
This will of course only add to the speculation about obtaining Kevin Kolb, Matt Flynn, Matt Hasselbeck or Donovan McNabb.
I still believe Munch would like to add Ray Sherman in some capacity. As I wrote a few days ago, Sherman has experience as an offensive coordinator and has coached every position on offense except the line. He'd be a good asset who could help in several areas.
Way to go, Munch, and keep up the good work. Welcome back, Jerry and Bruce.