The Tennessee Titans shocked the football world when they fired Mike Vrabel. The two-time coach of the year was assumed to have more time to turn things around, which proved untrue. After an extensive coaching search, the team focused on Brian Callahan and made him their next head coach.
Callahan comes to Tennessee from the Cincinnati Bengals, where he served as their offensive coordinator. He has served in that role since 2019 after being hired by Zac Taylor when he became their head coach at the same time. After a rough season in 2019, things turned around when the Bengals drafted Joe Burrow.
The Bengals’ offense was one of the more explosive in the NFL, with Callahan running things. Their offense could efficiently feed all the mouths on offense, led by Ja’Marr Chase. As he heads to Nashville, Callahan will do his best to manage all the offensive pieces that Tennessee is working with presently.
Brian Callahan’s Impact on Will Levis
When someone is interviewing for an NFL head coaching position, it helps when they have endorsements from notable figures. Look no further than the weight they can carry in Las Vegas, where they hired Antonio Pierce. During the last hiring cycle, when the Indianapolis Colts were looking for their next coach, Peyton Manning suggested they hire Callahan.
The team would not go in the direction of Shane Steichen, which proved to be a solid hire. Fast forward a year later, and Callahan is hired not only by a team but by a division rival.
Manning endorsed Callahan due to the work he saw him do during their time together in Denver. The new Titans coach worked with the Broncos as a coaching assistant or offensive quality control coach from 2010 to 2015. From there, he would make several coaching stops before going to Cincinnati, Detroit, and Oakland. Having worked with Manning, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr, and Burrow, the results speak for themselves.
This brings us full circle to his new quarterback, Will Levis. The Tennessee Titans roster has some building blocks on offense to help him, but he needs coaching. Callahan impressed Manning with his ability to prepare for games and work in the film room. That is step one in helping Levis develop. Step two is developing a game plan to help him play to his strengths. What Callahan and Zac Taylor did for Joe Burrow allowed them to have the sixth-ranked passing offense over their three years together.
The last time the Titans had a top-ten passing offense was in 2005. Could that change in 2024? Fantasy players should remain hopeful of it, let us explain.
Can He Get the Most Out of Treylon Burks?
Treylon Burks was part of what is now a very interesting dynasty rookie class in 2022. Coming out of Arkansas, several prominent draft analysts and, eventually, fantasy analysts praised Burks’s potential. He was going to a Titan team that was run first, but they had no prominent receivers to take targets away from him.
What would happen through his rookie year and into his second year as it became clear the coaching staff was less than enthused? In his first two years, the Tennessee Titans would run a total of 2,012 offensive snaps. Between injuries and coaching decisions, Burks would only make the field for 42.7% of them. His inconsistency was part of the lack of playing time and their offensive style.
When you have someone like Derrick Henry, you will be run first and run second. Brian Callahan’s arrival, timed with the departure of Henry, will have the Tennessee Titans being a pass-first team. That helps Levis get into a groove and allows Burks to finally have a chance to be the top guy on the offense. We get spoiled with instant return on investment with rookie receivers. Not everyone can be Chase, Justin Jefferson, or Garrett Wilson and produce instantly.
No one is suggesting that because Callahan is coming from the Bengals, Burks will give you Chase numbers. He should see a decent jump in production as I expect him to finally start developing with a proper coaching staff to maximize his potential.
Don’t Forget the Offensive Line
The NFL is a family league between coaches and players in some form or fashion. In the case of Callahan, his father, Bill Callahan, is considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the league. He is currently serving with the Cleveland Browns as their offensive line coach, where he proved his value this year through a slew of injuries.
This point is brought up because, with the departure of Henry, Tyjae Spears has a chance to be the guy. He is much more of a dual-threat back than Henry was and has already shown flashes. If Callahan can hire his dad away from the Browns and they fix this offensive line, he should join Burks in taking a big step.
Several mock drafts have the Tenessee Titans taking an offensive lineman with the seventh overall pick. If they do and pair him with last year’s first-round pick, Peter Skoronski, they may finally be cooking with gas. The offensive line is so pivotal to this offense and the success they will have. Without it being fixed, then no amount of coaching and development that Callahan brings with him will matter.
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