Mike Munchak: 10 Coaches He Should Add To The Tennessee Titans Staff
You would think that a new coach who has been within the same organization as an assistant for years would try to retain most of the team’s former staff and start to prepare for his first NFL off season.
That’s not the case with the Tennessee Titans’ Mike Munchak.
The former offensive line coach was promoted to become the next Titans head coach this week after the departure of Jeff Fisher.
Even though Munchak has had the same colleagues for years and years he is feeling the need to change things up and create his own coaching staff.
The real shock came yesterday when Munchak had this to say about retaining offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdiger, who he fired earlier today, someone who he has worked with for eight years;
“Right now, to me anything is open,” said Munchak. “To me, we’re starting fresh. It’s not the same old, same old. I think we come in, figure out what’s best for the Titans going forward, with what we have and just go from there. Anything is possible.”
This certainly sounds like a head coach that is looking to shake things up and get his own choices in place on his staff instead of holdovers from the last coach.
Look for the Titans to be making a lot of moves as they replace guys with Munchak’s top choices at the assistant coaching spots.
There are currently 12 coaches still employed by the team with six openings available (offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, offensive line coach, wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach, and defensive line coach).
Here are the ten coaches that I could see coming to try to help the Titans out and fill out the new staff.
Jerry Gray (Defensive Coordinator)
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It was believed to be a foregone conclusion on who would be the new Titans defensive coordinator.
But yet again Munchak is really shaking things up within the organization.
Current Titans linebackers coach Dave McGinnis was thought to be the front runner to run the defense, but reports have came out that Munchak is looking towards Jerry Gray, the current University of Texas defensive backs coach.
Despite working together for four years, Munchak seems to be moving on and looking outside of the organization for help.
Gray has tons of experience on the defensive side of the ball, and his best work came when he was the Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator from 2001-05 in which he had the controls of one of the best defenses in the league over that period of time.
Gray would be trying to turn around a unit that had many struggles in 2010.
The team was allowing a decent average of 21.2 points per game (15th in the league) but also gave up 367.7 yards of total offense (26th), 252 passing yards (29th), and 115.7 rushing yards (20th) per game.
Bruce Matthews (Offensive Line Coach)
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It is shown throughout history that once people get into power, they remember who their friends are and try to help them out by getting them jobs.
This is exactly what could happen with this potential hiring.
Matthews and Munchak are best friends and former teammates and the hiring seems very likely to happen in the near future.
This isn’t a knock on Matthews though, who is clearly qualified to take over Munchak’s old job of coaching the line.
Matthews is a Hall of Fame offensive lineman who has served for the past three seasons as a Houston Texans offensive assistant, whose main job is to help teach the offensive line.
His work with the Texans staff has helped produce the 7th best rushing game in the league (averaging 127.6 yards per game on the ground) and has kept quarterback Matt Shaub’s standing upright in the pocket for the most part (only allowed 32 sacks this season).
The two friends should make great partners as Matthews should step in and do a solid job with the team.
Jim Fassel (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach)
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The UFL is a great way for fringe NFL players to get some solid playing time while improving as players.
The same can be said for UFL coaches.
The league continues to look towards the young “minor league” system that is currently in place and constantly picks up players and coaches from the league.
This would be one of those pickups.
With Munchak just firing his old offensive coordinator today, Fassel would be a guy with a ton of NFL experience that could quickly turn this offense into a good one.
It doesn’t hurt that the current Las Vegas Locomotives head coach has already worked with Titans quarterback Kerry Collins, and turned him into a respectable quarterback.
Collins is a free agent though and there is a chance he would not be resigned.
If Collins is not resigned the Titans will be looking for a young quarterback and Fassel has always had good fortune with quarterbacks and helping them reach their full potential (including Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason, and John Elway).
This is a move that would give the Titans an explosive offense, with weapons like running back Chris Johnson and wide receiver Kenny Britt in place already.
If the head coach isn’t happy with the way the offense looked last year (he doesn’t seem to be), then a move for offensive coordinator should be coming soon.
Jim Fassel should be a candidate considered for the job.
Mike Kruczek (Quarterbacks Coach)
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This would be another “call up” to the NFL if Mike Kruczek got the job as quarterbacks coach.
Kruczek has 22 years experience coaching at the NFL level and is currently the offensive coordinator for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the UFL.
Kruczek has taught and mentored plenty of solid quarterbacks in the league and has a good offensive mind.
He had the opportunity to train both Brady Quinn and Matt Ryan before their respective NFL drafts, he worked with Kurt Warner in Arizona and also coached former NFL star Daunte Culpepper in college.
Like I stated above when talking about Fasell, the Titans are going to be looking to find a young quarterback either through free agency or through the draft and Kruczek is a guy who is capable of working with and progressing a young signal caller.
Another stint in the NFL should be coming soon for the veteran coach, and this would be a perfect landing spot for both parties.
Brad Childress (Offensive Coordinator)
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This is a coaching candidate that seems to be coming up with everyone search for a new offensive coordinator.
Childress is known now for his work with the Minesota Vikings, in which he was eventually pushed out of town after an awful season this year.
Even though Childress should probably never be the head coach for a team again, he does have an extensive knowledge of the west coast system.
His offenses have usually had success, and like the other previous offensive candidates, it looks like a new quarterback will be coming to lead the team, and Childress could find a guy who would work well in his offense and put up points on the scoreboard.
“Chilly” should get a much better reception down south, and should be a candidate to coach the Titans offense.
Ray Sherman (Wide Receivers Coach)
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How does someone go from respected assistant to head coach candidate to being fired by the same team all in the same off season?
It is very rare but that is the path that former Dallas Cowboys receiver Coach Ray Sherman took this year as he now finds himself unemployed by the team.
Sherman has been coaching in the NFL for 35 years and knows the offensive side of the game inside and out while also being a very good leader.
Most recently he helped coach up wide outs Miles Austin and Dez Bryant the last two seasons, turning them into scoring threats for the Cowboys.
Sherman would probably just love to work with Titans wide out Kenny Britt and continue to help him develop into one of the better wide receivers in the game.
He would also improve the wide receivers on the Titans roster.
The Cowboys kicked Sherman to the curb like nothing. The Titans should thank them kindly and offer Sherman a job to coach their wide receivers as soon as possible.
Pete Mangurian (Offensive Line Coach)
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A clash in personalities and coaching style with the Tampa Bay Buceneers staff caused Pete Mangurian to be fired after the season.
The Titans should at least give him a look to see if they can help him out or not.
Mangurian spend the last two years in Tampa, and had mixed results.
The first year the line struggled as it switched to his new zone blocking scheme. During the second year with the team however the team produced a 1000 yard rusher in LeGarrette Blout and a 3000 yard passer in Josh Freeman despite getting hit heavily by injuries.
Even though I would bet my money on Bruce Matthews being hired by the team, Mangurian is a NFL experienced coach who would be a nice fallback for the team, especially considering fact that he runs a zone block scheme similar to the one Munchak ran for the Titans last season.
Rory Segrest (Defensive Line Coach)
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There aren’t a ton of defensive line coaching canidates out there right now as most NFL teams already have their entire staffs in place.
Segrest is available after being fired by the Philadelphia Eagles after two years with the team because their defensive line underachieved during the season.
Even though they underachieved the Eagles still finished the year a decent 15th against the run and sacked the quarterback 39 times during the season.
Segrest is still a young coach who didn’t do as well as expected in his time with the Eagles.
He still has enough talent to be given another chance in the league, especially with a ton of assistants already under contract for the upcoming season.
Brick Haley (Defensive Line Coach)
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Instead of calling someone up from the minors, Brick Haley would be a coach “drafted” from the college ranks to join the Titans staff and return back to the NFL.
Haley is currently the LSU Tigers defensive line coach but would most likely jump at the chance to return back to the professional ranks, even at the same position he currently has now.
He is a candidate with prior NFL experience and did a great job in his last stint in the NFL with the Chicago Bears.
A signing of Haley would bring not only great knowledge to the squad, but it would also bring another strong positive leader into the organization.
Jeff Weeks (Defensive Coordinator)
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Sometimes you have to work hard in this league for years in order to climb the ladders and finally land a top coordinator job.
Jeff Weeks is one of the guys in the league who is due.
Weeks has been in the New York Jets organization as a defensive assistant this last season and would jump at the chance to run his own side of the ball.
He certainly would know what he is doing.
Weeks is a defensive genius who has been mentored and worked under both Rex and Rob Ryan recently and is more than ready for a chance to run his own defense.
Like the offensive line position, I really think that Jerry Grey is going to end up getting the job of defensive coordinator in Tennessee but if that doesn’t work out, Weeks is a coach who has been an assistant under good coaches for long enough.
He is ready for his chance to be the main guy.