4 Top Candidates to Replace Mike Munchak as the Tennessee Titans Head Coach
Following a disappointing 6-10 season, there have been many questions surrounding the job of Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak.
After starting off his head-coaching career by posting a 9-7 record in 2011, many people surrounding the organization viewed Munchak as an immediate success, as the team exceeded expectations in nearly every category.
However, as the 2012 season progressed and the Titans suffered blowout defeat after blowout defeat, the little favor he had garnered with the fanbase slowly slipped away, and calls for his head began to come after nearly every game.
Though it would not be surprising to see Titans owner Bud Adams give Munchak another season to right the ship, the possibility of Adams showing Munchak the door is certainly there.
Here are four candidates that Tennessee should strongly consider if they opt to move in a new direction.
1. Mike Zimmer, Defensive Coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals
Though Mike Zimmer may not be the youngest first-time head coaching candidate, at 56 years old, he may have the most impressive résumé out of any potential coach the Titans could bring in.
Zimmer started his coaching career with the Dallas Cowboys, initially serving as a defensive backs coach before being promoted to the defensive coordinator in 2000.
Beyond just his experience, Zimmer's defensive philosophy, an attacking 4-3, fits the Titans personnel and would provide a smooth transition for a defense that has two strong blitzing outside linebackers in Zach Brown and Akeem Ayers.
It's difficult to know what kind of offense Zimmer would run or the type of coaching staff he would assemble, but for a team that finished near the bottom of the league in most defensive categories, bringing in one of the best defensive minds the game has to offer would have to be appealing.
2. Gus Bradley, Defensive Coordinator, Seattle Seahawks
Much like Zimmer, Bradley brings a defensive background and philosophy that is desperately needed on a defense that was picked apart for much of the season.
Bradley served as a positional coach under one of the most respected defensive coordinators in the history of the NFL, Montee Kiffin, before taking over the defensive responsibilities in Seattle in 2009.
Though the Seahawks' defense had some struggles throughout his first two years with the organization, the unit has shown clear improvement in each of the last two seasons, finishing the 2012 regular season as the top scoring defense in the league.
Bradley's staff has shown an ability to develop talent at all three levels of the defense and could likely work wonders if given the time and opportunity to work with the Titans' roster.
3. Chip Kelly, Head Coach, Oregon
Though it would be asking a lot for the Titans to bring in Chip Kelly, it would certainly be worth it for Bud Adams to see what it would take to hire the Oregon head coach.
Kelly is well respected across the football landscape and is known to host some of the most impressive and efficient practices of any head coach in football, regardless of the level.
During his time with the Ducks, Kelly has consistently kept Oregon in the Top 25 and led some of the most explosive offenses in the history of NCAA football.
While Kelly's spread system may need some adjusting when it comes to transitioning to the NFL, his ability to utilize and build around the talent on his roster is something the Titans offense, and Jake Locker in particular, could desperately use after what can only be viewed as a season of regression.
4. Bruce Arians, Offensive Coordinator, Indianapolis Colts
Following a very emotional season that saw Bruce Arians step in for Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who was diagnosed with leukemia, it's possible that Arians will look elsewhere to continue as a head coach.
Working with an offense that was one of the worst in the league in 2011, Arians helped rookie quarterback Andrew Luck transition to the pro game as the Colts went from 2-14 to 11-5 over the course of just one season.
Arians, during his tenure as the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers, oversaw the development of Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh passing game on a team that relied notoriously on its power-run offense before his arrival.
While Locker has not quite shown Roethlisberger-like potential at this point in his career, having a coach like Arians could do wonders for the Titans offense.