Take 5: Titans candidates to replace Mike Vrabel

The Tennessee Titans find themselves in a precarious spot as they enter one of the more intriguing head coaching cycles in recent memory.

Mike Vrabel, who was fired Tuesday, took the team to three playoff appearances in six seasons, including an AFC Championship Game. The team could also be parting ways with franchise running back Derrick Henry, who is a pending free agent, and got to see quarterback Will Levis attempt 255 passes before injuries ended his rookie season.

Tennessee will also be competing in a coaching cycle that will include at minimum Washington, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Carolina and the Los Angeles Chargers.

How attractive the Titans’ situation is remains to be seen. Here are five candidates controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk and general manager Ran Carthon may consider to replace Vrabel.

5. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

Fresh off leading the Wolverines to the national title on Monday, Harbaugh is expected to be heavily sought-after by several NFL teams. However, would the Titans be appealing? The Chargers, for example, have an established franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert. Meanwhile, Washington would provide Harbaugh an opportunity to be close to his brother, John, in Baltimore without competing in the same conference.

4. Ben Johnson, Lions OC

Johnson, 37, is one of the hottest names in the NFL coaching circle after leading Detroit’s offense for the past two seasons. He’s expected to interview for multiple openings this offseason and like Harbaugh, Tennessee will likely have to compete with potentially more attractive suitors if the Titans go after Johnson. With Levis showing potential in his first partial NFL season, bringing in a coach who can aid in his development will be a priority — whether that’s a head coach or an offensive coordinator.

3. Frank Smith, Dolphins OC

Coach Mike McDaniel calls the plays for the Dolphins, but Smith is considered another rising offensive mind. Miami led the league in total yards during the regular season and finished second in scoring. Smith, 42, has already been contacted for a potential interview with the Panthers. He broke into the NFL as an assistant for Sean Payton in New Orleans in 2010 and has spent time with the Bears, Raiders and Chargers before joining McDaniel’s staff last year.

2. Dan Quinn, Cowboys DC

As a highly respected coordinator with previous NFL head coaching experience, Quinn is also expected to draw interest from several teams. That includes the Panthers, Chargers and Commanders, who reportedly already have plans to interview Quinn at the end of next week. The 53-year-old led the Falcons to a Super Bowl in five-plus seasons as Atlanta’s coach, and Quinn could be viewed as the best fit to quickly return the Titans to competitive status in the AFC South.

1. Bobby Slowik, Texans OC

Carthon worked in San Francisco’s front office when Slowik was on the 49ers’ staff under coach Kyle Shanahan. Slowik moved to Houston with new Texans coach DeMeco Ryans, and has been credited with aiding the immediate success of rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. Slowik, 36, has only one year of play-calling experience under his belt, but Houston did win the AFC South with Stroud throwing for 23 touchdowns against just five interceptions.


Titans vs Texans: Week 18 Primer

Titans vs Texans: Week 18 Primer

The Tennessee Titans (11-5) travel to The Lone Star State to take on the Houston Texans (4-12) in the final week of the 2021 NFL regular season.


After the display of dominance that Derrick Henry has shown in the last 2 plus seasons and a 2,000-yard season in 2020, I began thinking about his career trajectory and how Henry is tracking towards a Hall of Fame Career.  With that in mind, we take Derrick Henry’s first 5 seasons in the NFL and where he is statistically vs. Franchise greats…