When presented with the need to fill both coordinator positions on his staff this offseason, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel elected to promote from within.
Vrabel promoted Todd Downing from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator to replace Arthur Smith, who left to become head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. On the defensive side, Shane Bowen was promoted from outside linebackers coach to defensive coordinator to replace Dean Pees, who initially retired before joining Smith in Atlanta.
In doing so, Vrabel said he believes both coaches are up for the tasks and it fits his desire to keep some continuity in place.
“The continuity is something that I always covet,” Vrabel said in a conference call with season ticket holders, per the team’s website.. “We have to continue to push each other, and we have to do some things differently. … But continuity is something that I believe in. I believe in developing players, I believe in developing coaches.”
Vrabel was impressed by Downing’s performance and believes he was the right fit for the offensive coordinator job. Additionally, he hopes the offense will find a way to topple top defenses they face, which he believes was a problem area last season.
“I think he has a great understanding of our offense and what we are trying to do, having really assisted Arthur as a tight ends coach but also someone who could help him,” Vrabel said of Downing. “Todd has called plays before… He was a large part of what we did in the red zone, and his knowledge and his passion, and again, I think he did a great job with the (tight ends) unit that he had.
“There were games where we didn’t play very well,” Vrabel said. “We have to play better against elite defenses – Chicago and Green Bay, we didn’t play very well. The second Ravens game, Pittsburgh … there’s some things we have to do better and I am confident that we will.”
Vrabel said he still intends to be involved in the defense side of the game planning effort but that believes Bowen is equipped for the promotion.
“I think first and foremost, Shane is qualified, and he is very intelligent,” Vrabel said. “I think he communicates well, and I think he has a great vision for what we want to do.”