Chip Kelly has been linked to the Titans, but the organization itself is hesitant over his history of injured quarterbacks, according to a report.
Kelly was understandably considered by many to be a logical candidate to take over the Titans job, with his former quarterback at Oregon, Marcus Mariota, already entrenched there. On paper, it looks like a marriage that should at least be explored. However, not only has Kelly not received an interview from Tennessee, but there have been no real concrete links between Kelly and the Titans job.
The explanation? According to NFL.com’s Albert Breer, one reason the Titans are wary of Kelly is that he presided over a number of quarterback injuries in Philadelphia, a fate the team badly wants to avoid with Mariota. Breer notes that Michael Vick, Nick Foles, and Sam Bradford all suffered injuries on Kelly’s watch. Also recall that one of the reasons former Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired in the first place was reportedly that he failed to address the fact that Titans quarterbacks repeatedly took a large number of hits. Mariota already dealt with injury during his rookie season, and the Titans apparently fear that bringing in Kelly would just lead to a repeat of that issue.
The thing about mobile quarterbacks like Mariota – and Vick, for that matter – is they’re inevitably going to take a few hits from time to time. It’s debatable how much of that was really Kelly’s fault. That said, between this and his frequently-cited inability to connect with players, perhaps Kelly will have to beg for an NFL job after all.
New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is once again generating some interest among NFL teams who are looking for a head coach, and the 39-year-old may have his sights set on one job in particular.
ESPN’s John Clayton reports that McDaniels has interest in becoming the head coach of the Tennessee Titans. The Titans fired Ken Whisenhunt in November and have said they will consider interim coach Mike Mularkey for the full-time position.
McDaniels has to be careful if he ends up taking another head coaching job, as this could be his final chance. He got off to a good start as the head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2009 before losing 17 of his last 22 games and getting fired. When the Broncos let him go in 2010, McDaniels served as the St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator and then made his way back to New England in the same role.
The 3-13 Titans have the top overall pick in the upcoming draft and are already set at the quarterback position with Marcus Mariota. They also have a potential superstar at wide receiver in Dorial Green-Beckham, who showed some flashes of great play down the stretch. You can understand why McDaniels would be interested in Tennessee if he does decide to leave the Pats.
For now, McDaniels is focused on trying to win his fifth Super Bowl as a member of the Patriots organization. There has been some speculation that Bill Belichick might replace McDaniels with another very high-profile coach if McDaniels leaves, but we doubt that will happen.
The Tennessee Titans are reportedly leaning toward retaining Mike Mularkey on a permanent basis.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk confirmed an earlier report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that the team may simply strip the interim tag from Mularkey’s title.
Such a position is understandably baffling to many around the league. One source told Florio that the message Tennessee would be sending by making such a move would be “we’re for sale, or we don’t care.”
Mularkey hasn’t really shown anything to warrant this. The team has gone 2-5 since he took over from the fired Ken Whisenhunt, dropping his career coaching record to 18-37. Even more curiously, Tennessee would, by all accounts, be an attractive job for prospective head coaches, as Florio notes. They can offer Marcus Mariota, a potential number one draft pick in April, a chance to win in a bad division, and a desirable place to live with no state income tax. It seems like they could do much better than settling for Mularkey. In fact, it’s already been speculated that they could reunite Mariota with Chip Kelly.
Of course, things are being complicated by the ownership situation in Tennessee. Florio hears from another source that team president Steve Underwood spends much of his time convincing the league that the team’s ownership group meets the NFL’s rules.
General manager Ruston Webster is in the final year of his deal, and he may be retained as well, especially if the team may be sold.
If the Titans are going to stand a chance at pulling off an upset against the Patriots on Sunday, tight end Delanie Walker believes some of his teammates will have to try harder than they did in Week 14.
Following Tennessee’s 38-7 loss to the Jets (a game in which they trailed 27-0 at halftime), Walker questioned the level of effort some of his teammates showed.
“I didn’t watch the defensive film,” he said, per John Glennon of The Tennesseean. “I can only watch the offensive film. You know, some plays, you can see us taking some plays off. … I don’t know what it was. It was a different side of the Titans than I’ve ever seen before. We didn’t play our best football all the way around, including myself.”
This has been another horrible season for the Titans, who could very well be on their way to landing the No. 1 overall pick. Offensive lineman Taylor Lewan disagreed with Walker’s assessment.
“I’ve never played a game with these guys and ever thought that someone is not showing effort,” Lewan said. “I think everybody wants to win just as bad as I do. I would never question any one of my teammates.”
To be fair, Walker wasn’t the only one who thought some guys were dogging it. Interim head coach Mike Mularkey said on Sunday that he noticed some players “loafing” and failing to finish plays. He later backtracked after watching film.
“I know what I said … but the effort was better than I thought it was. It was more of a couple individuals on plays,” Mularkey said Monday. “I’m big into … finishing plays, finishing it to the whistle. It was just more of a player here or there that was not. I just want consistency in it. But it was not as bad as I thought it was in the postgame press conference.”
After taking a night to sleep on it, perhaps Mularkey realized that a lack of effort from the players would reflect poorly on him. The only way he stands any chance of shedding the “interim” lebel — which probably isn’t going to happen — is if the team closes out strong and responds to his leadership.
For now, the only good things we have seen out of Tennessee this season have been plays like this from rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Titans lose their remaining three games.
H/T Around the NFL
Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
With the way the Philadelphia Eagles have played the last several weeks, it would be a surprise if Chip Kelly is not looking for a new job in the coming months. Should he wind up parting ways with the team, Kelly will have options.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, USC has already reached out to Kelly to let him know they will be interested in him. Rumors linking Kelly to USC have been floating around for over a month. But what if he wants to stay in the NFL?
Rapoport also mentioned that the Tennessee Titans should not be ruled out. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired earlier this season, and it is highly unlikely that the Titans consider interim head coach Mike Mularkey to be a long-term solution.
The appeal for Kelly in Tennessee would be obvious. He coached Marcus Mariota at Oregon and was said to be interested in trading up to draft the quarterback, though the Eagles ultimately stuck with Sam Bradford (how’s that working out so far?).
If the Eagles fire Kelly, the Titans would probably be one of very few NFL teams who would be willing to give him a shot as a head coach. Kelly would likely take the head coaching job at USC before he would accept an offensive coordinator job in the NFL, so my gut feeling is that USC is a definite possibility if he doesn’t stay in Philly.
As for Kelly’s current situation, an assistant coach said after the Thanksgiving blowout loss to the Detroit Lions that Kelly isn’t going anywhere. Despite that, it’s hard to imagine Chip sticking around in Philly after what one player’s agent said about him.
The Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans would have interest in giving Peyton Manning a front office role should he retire after the season, according to a new report.
The Titans and Browns are said to be among the teams that could look to bring Manning on board in a John Elway-style team president role, CBS Sports’s Jason La Canfora reported on Sunday. Manning’s old team, the Indianapolis Colts, are also mentioned as a potential suitor.
According to La Canfora, both teams will likely make sweeping changes after the season. Both teams would also appeal to Manning’s Tennessee roots. Aside from the Titans’ obvious ties, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is a Knoxville native and a Tennessee alum.
There’s no real way of knowing how interested Manning is in these opportunities, though. He may opt not to retire, and even if he does, he may elect to take a break from football instead of going right into a front office role immediately.
The Tennessee Titans’ firing of Ken Whisenhunt came as a bit of a surprise, but now we’re getting some details as to why the Titans acted now in removing him.
NFL.com’s Albert Breer reports in his week 9 notebook that a key factor in Whisenhunt’s firing was the fact that he struggled to protect his quarterbacks, leading to injuries. Jake Locker, Zach Mettenberger, and Marcus Mariota have all suffered injuries during Whisenhunt’s tenure, and the Titans saw this as more than just bad luck.
“Some of it is the offensive line, but some of it’s not,” a team source told Breer. “What we worried about, we just never protected them.”
The Titans were moved to act after recent games in which noted sack threats Cameron Wake and J.J. Watt were both singled up by Tennessee, leading to Wake collecting four sacks and Watt picking up 2.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits while being faced with only rookie tackle Jeremiah Poutasi. “I don’t know, but they did,” Watt said after that game, when asked why he thought Tennessee had singled him. “I told them they shouldn’t have.”
It seems that the fact that they didn’t was a motivating factor in Whisenhunt’s firing. With so much invested in Mariota, the Titans clearly didn’t want to risk the already banged-up quarterback’s future and apparently felt that Whisenhunt’s schemes were needlessly putting the young signal-caller in the line of fire after already losing two quarterbacks to season-ending injury in 2014.