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Identifying top Tennessee Titans coaching candidates to replace Mike Vrabel, including Bobby Slowik

Tennessee Titans coaching candidates
Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans offseason is underway and it should usher in a much-needed rebuilding era for this franchise. With Mike Vrabel gone, it’s time to evaluate Titans coaching candidates for 2024.

Tennessee would’ve been better off keeping Vrabel, who is one of the best head coaches in the NFL today. However, the Titans’ organization ultimately determined change was necessary. With that comes an opportunity to turn the page for the future, bringing in a young coach who’ll stick around long-term.

Related: NFL coaching candidates 2024

Let’s dive into our Titans coaching candidates.

2024 Tennessee Titans coaching candidates

Bobby Slowik, Houston Texans offensive coordinator

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans
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Outside of Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, there aren’t an overwhelming number of must-have coaching candidates on the offensive side of the ball this offseason. However, Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik is one name to keep an eye on.

Related: Tennessee Titans draft picks 2024

YearPPGYards per Play3rd Down RateRed Zone TD RateEPA per Play
202217.04.730.32%47.92%-0.168 (32nd)
202322.25.637.93%54.72%=0.023 (15th)
Houston Texans offensive comparison before and after the hiring of Bobby Slowik

Slowik might be one of the leading Titans coaching candidates because of his ties to general manager Ran Carthon. Carthon and Slowik both joined the San Francisco 49ers organization in 2017, with Carthon serving as director of pro personnel and Slowik coming on as an offensive assistant. They stayed there through the 2022 season, steadily rising up the ranks.

C.J. Stroud rightfully deserves a ton of credit for the Houston Texans’ success in 2023. However, Slowik designed the offense that made Houston so explosive, helping ease Stroud’s transition into the NFL. Not only that, this is especially important for Tennessee, Slowik called an offense that overcame a bad offensive line for a majority of the season thanks to injuries.

Dave Canalas, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp
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As previously mentioned, quarterback Will Levis didn’t necessarily show enough in his rookie season to be the unquestioned long-term answer. Then again, Tennessee didn’t put him in a good situation. A better evaluation is needed of Levis in 2024 and the best way to fairly analyze a young quarterback is by putting him in a positive environment.

Related: 2024 NFL mock draft, see who Tennessee Titans pick

While that starts with building a strong offensive line in front of him and enabling him to be more successful with playmakers, coaching also plays a massive role in this. If Vrabel leaves, Tennesse’s best move might be to find a quarterback whisperer to take over as head coach.

QB RatingCompletion RateYPAPFF gradeTD-INT
Geno Smith (2022)100.969.8%7.579.830-11
Baker Mayfield (2023)95.964.4%7.376.328-10

Dave Canales, who only turns 43 in May, started his NFL coaching career in 2010 with the Seattle Seahawks as a wide receivers coach. He thrived in that role through the 2017 season, then was promoted by Pete Carroll to quarterbacks coach. Canales did great work with Russell Wilson (2018-’21) and later Geno Smith. If there were any doubts about his teaching prowess and offensive mind, his work this season with Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense should erase any doubts.

Frank Smith, Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator

NFL: Frankfurt Games-Miami Dolphins Practice
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When evaluating Titans coaching candidates, we’re prioritizing offensive-minded coaches. However, there are other important qualities involved. If Tennessee is going to be a very young football team in 2024, it needs someone who knows how to teach players using methods that work with each individual. They need that, a leader and a head coach who can maintain his composure and set the tone for the organization.

Related: Highest-paid NFL players

That is Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith. While a coach can never be judged entirely based on his press conferences, Smith’s interactions with reporters this season shine a light into why those around him love working with him. He brings an infectious attitude, just as grateful to be learning from his colleagues as they are with him. Not only does he have a ringing endorsement from Mike McDaniel, who was with Carthon in San Francisco, but he was voted by players as one of the most positive, impactful coordinators in the NFL.

“He has a thorough understanding of the game and is a great teacher, which is really what coaching is all about. He also has a unique ability to anticipate problems before they arise, be that on the field or in administrative-type things related to schedules, questions that will come up with players or coaches, etc. He operates on a daily basis with a passion, positivity and humility that is rare and sets him apart.”

Mike McDaniel on Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith (H/T Jeff Howe of The Athletic)

There’s another reason we particularly like Smith as a fit in Tennessee. He’s a former offensive line coach, working with offensive linemen during his time with the New Orleans Saints (2010-’14) and Los Angeles Chargers (2021). A head coach who knows how to not only evaluate offensive linemen but also work with them one-on-one could be valuable to the Titans.

Raheem Morris, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator

NFL: Los Angeles Rams Minicamp
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of Vrabel’s best qualities as head coach was his leadership, but Tennessee also needs to improve its player development. While that doesn’t fall entirely on the head coach’s shoulders, someone with a track record in maximizing young talent and commanding a locker room would be ideal.

Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris comes with glowing recommendations. As pointed out by Rams’ CEO Kevin Demoff, future Hall of Famers like Andrew Whitworth, Bobby Wagner and Aaron Donald have raved about Morris as a coach. He’s also credited for some of the success of third-round picks Kobie Turner and Byron Young.

Morris did previously serve as head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he was not put in a favorable position. With only one year of experience as a defensive coordinator, Bowles was hired as a 33-year-old head coach. He went 17-31 in three seasons, but he’s since had the opportunity to learn from the best head coaches in football. Morris has earned a second chance to be a head coach and a young team like the Titans would be a good fit for him.

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