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June 20, 2024

Titans Hire Brian Callahan as New Head Coach, Ushering in New Era in Tennessee

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Jan 23, 2024

The Tennessee Titans have reached an agreement with Brian Callahan to make him the 20th head coach in franchise history. Callahan comes to Nashville after spending the last two seasons as offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Callahan Brings Offensive Prowess from Cincinnati

The 39-year-old Callahan has earned rave reviews for his work with the Bengals offense over the past two years. In 2022, Cincinnati fielded a top-10 scoring offense behind the arm of Joe Burrow and explosive playmakers like Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon.

Callahan’s background is in developing quarterbacks, having coached Matthew Stafford in Detroit and Justin Herbert in Los Angeles prior to his stint in Cincinnati. The Titans are hoping Callahan can have similar success with their young quarterback Will Levis. Tennessee selected Levis in the 2023 NFL Draft after he spent last season as a backup in Cincinnati behind Burrow.

“We are thrilled to bring Brian’s leadership, play-calling prowess and quarterback expertise to our franchise,” said Titans general manager Jon Robinson. “He has shown the ability to adapt his offense to his personnel, and we believe he is the perfect coach to foster the development of our quarterback Will Levis and lead us into a new era of Titans football.”

Key Stats for Bengals Offense Under Callahan

Stat 2021 2022
Points Per Game 27.1 (T-5th) 26.1 (8th)
Total Yards Per Game 368.2 (13th) 364.1 (7th)
Passing Yards Per Game 282.5 (7th) 252.8 (12th)
Rushing Yards Per Game 85.7 (23rd) 111.3 (6th)

Callahan takes over a Titans team looking to rebound after failing to make the playoffs at 7-10 this past season. Long-time head coach Mike Vrabel and the organization parted ways, leading Tennessee to conduct an extensive search for his replacement.

Callahan was chosen from a deep pool of candidates that included fellow offensive coordinators Shane Steichen (Eagles), Kellen Moore (Cowboys) and Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs). Former head coaches Raheem Morris (Rams) and DeMeco Ryans (Texans) also received strong consideration from the Titans.

But in the end, it was Callahan’s pedigree as a quarterback guru that won over Tennessee. The Titans invested a top-40 draft pick in Levis last April and want to see him develop into a franchise-caliber starter.

Coaching Runs in Callahan Family

Coaching is certainly in Callahan’s blood. His father Bill Callahan is currently the offensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns, bringing over 30 years of NFL and college coaching experience to the job.

The elder Callahan served as head coach of both the Oakland Raiders (2002-2003) and Nebraska Cornhuskers (2004-2007) during his lengthy career. Brian Callahan was just a teenager when his dad coached the Raiders to Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003.

Bill Callahan helped develop his son’s coaching chops at a young age. Brian Callahan got his start breaking down film for his father’s teams in high school before continuing that work as student assistant at Illinois and Nebraska.

Brian Callahan has since paved his own path in the coaching world. In addition to coordinating prolific offenses in Cincinnati and Los Angeles, he also spent four seasons (2016-2019) coaching Matthew Stafford in Detroit.

During that Lions tenure, Callahan took over play-calling duties midway through the 2018 season. Detroit won six of their final 10 games as Stafford enjoyed a career revival under Callahan’s guidance.

That late season surge helped pave the way for Callahan’s eventual promotion to offensive coordinator with the Bengals.

Callahan NFL Coaching Career Timeline

Year(s) Team Position
2007–2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Quality Control Coach
2009–2010 Florida Graduate Assistant
2011 New York Jets Offensive Assistant
2012–2015 Denver Broncos Offensive Assistant
2016–2018 Detroit Lions Quarterbacks Coach
2018–2019 Detroit Lions Offensive Coordinator
2020 Los Angeles Chargers Quarterbacks Coach
2021–2023 Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Coordinator
2024–Present Tennessee Titans Head Coach

What Move Means for Levis, Titans Offense

The Titans clearly valued Callahan’s potential to develop Levis as the deciding factor for their new head coach. Tennessee struggled to consistent quarterback play last season from veteran Ryan Tannehill before former third-rounder Malik Willis took over down the stretch.

Neither inspired much long-term hope at the position. That led the Titans to trade up for Levis, who possesses tantalizing tools but is still raw as a passer after just one year starting at Kentucky.

Callahan is renowned for his work with quarterbacks. In addition to overseeing Joe Burrow’s rise to stardom in Cincinnati, he also helped veteran Matthew Stafford enjoy new life in Los Angeles en route to the Rams Super Bowl run last season.

In Tennessee, Callahan inherits an offense with ample talent at the skill positions. Running back Derrick Henry remains an All-Pro talent. Receivers like Robert Woods and rookie Treylon Burks offer explosiveness when healthy. The Titans also sport one of the NFL’s better offensive lines anchored by tackle Taylor Lewan.

The missing piece is quality quarterback play to bring it all together. The Titans staff and players have full confidence Callahan can mold Levis into that franchise passer.

“”We were looking for a great leader and quarterback developer as our next head coach,” Tennessee All-Pro safety Kevin Byard told reporters. “We found both of those things with Brian. I’m looking forward to watching him and Will Levis grow together.”

Callahan’s offense in Cincinnati adapted week-to-week based on opponent’s weakness. We should expect him to be similarly flexible building around Levis’s strengths in Tennessee.

“We’ll focus this offseason on figuring out what Will Levis does best and feature those attributes accordingly,” Callahan said at his introductory press conference.

That likely means plenty of play-action passing combined with power running to set Levis up for success early in his development. The Titans have the personnel in place for Callahan to recreate some of the offensive success he generated in Cincinnati.

What’s Next for Titans and Callahan?

Callahan still needs to put together his coaching staff, with a focus on finding the right defensive coordinator to pair with his offensive mind. Experienced coaches like Dave McGinnis, Ray Horton or Jim Haslett could make sense as a veteran leader on that side of the ball.

There will also be questions if Callahan tries to bring his father Bill over from Cleveland to join Titans offensive line coach Keith Carter. The younger Callahan spoke glowingly on Tuesday about his dad’s mentorship through the years.

On the roster front, Tennessee must make decisions soon on both running back Derrick Henry and safety Kevin Byard. Both All-Pro talents remain highly productive but also carry massive cap hits in 2023 and beyond.

Callahan and Jon Robinson may look to extend one or both players to lower those 2023 cap figures and open spending room to augment the roster this offseason. Finding more explosive weapons to pair with Levis will be a priority.

But those big picture decisions will unfold in due time. For now, the Titans and their fans can celebrate a new era under Brian Callahan’s leadership. If his track record of quarterback development continues in Tennessee, the future looks bright for years to come.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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