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News » Tennessee Titans Inside Slant 2009-01-30

Tennessee Titans Inside Slant 2009-01-30

Tennessee Titans Inside Slant 2009-01-30
For the first time since 2001, the Tennessee Titans are in the market for a new defensive coordinator.

The Detroit Lions tabbed Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to be their new head coach on Jan. 15, asking him to rescue the floundering franchise that completed the NFL's first-ever 0-16 season.

For a franchise like the Titans that prides itself on coaching continuity, beginning with Jeff Fisher and his 14-years at the helm, having to make a new hire in the assistant ranks is a major undertaking.

"It is rare in this league to get to spend 10 years with an assistant coach as we have with Jim," Fisher said. "In his eight years as our defensive coordinator, Jim has clearly put his stamp on that side of the ball."

The list of candidates has already thinned out a bit since Schwartz's departure, as just hours before his hiring by the Lions, the New Orleans Saints scooped up former Titans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who preceded Schwartz in the role.

Then on Jan. 21, Schwartz hired Kansas City defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, who spent three years under him in Tennessee as linebackers coach, to be his new defensive coordinator in Detroit.

"As for our next defensive coordinator, we will take our time as far as replacing Jim, but that process has already begun," Fisher said.

With those two latching on elsewhere, that leaves Fisher likely looking in-house to replace Schwartz on the staff, with speculation being that defensive backs coach Chuck Cecil could be the guy.

Cecil, known as a hard-hitting safety in his playing days with the Packers, Cardinals and Oilers, has been on Fisher's staff since 2001, beginning as an apprentice doing defensive quality control work. He then was promoted to assistant defensive backs coach, working with the safeties and the nickel package, before assuming command of the secondary in 2007.

The other viable candidate already on staff is veteran linebackers coach Dave McGinnis, who has plenty of experience in running defenses in both in Chicago and Arizona before joining the Titans in 2004 after the Cardinals fired him as head coach.

McGinnis would be the experienced choice, of course, and that might well be the direction Fisher goes.

But there is behind-the-scenes speculation that Fisher could go with Cecil, who like Schwartz eight years ago, would be a first-time coordinator.

As for McGinnis, he could be the veteran mentor to be relied on, much the same way Schwartz and Cunningham worked together for three seasons.

No matter who gets the job, there should be plenty of pieces to work with, especially if the Titans can re-sign defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who is their only significant unrestricted free agent on that side of the ball.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 30, 2009

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LeVar Woods Name: LeVar Woods
Position: LB
Age: 30
Experience: 8 years
College: Iowa
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