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Titans open exhaustive search, starting with Jay Gruden

The SportsXchange

Tennessee Titans general manager Ruston Webster will be deliberate in his search for the franchise's next head coach.

Jay Gruden, offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, and Jim Caldwell, offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, were first on the list and could be interviewed by the end of the week. Gruden was scheduled to meet with Webster on Tuesday.

But the search is more likely to last into the late part of the month.

Webster worked with Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn when they were on the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But depending on Seattle's playoff run, it could be weeks before they sit down to discuss the opening with the Titans.

Interviews with candidates whose teams are in the playoffs must take place in that coach's city.

Ken Whisenhunt, offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers, is another candidate thought to be high on Tennessee's list. But Whisenhunt, Gruden, Caldwell and Quinn all are candidates for other openings.

Caldwell might be best known for his work with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, a story all too familiar to the Titans. Caldwell was quarterbacks coach in Indianapolis from 2002-08 and replaced Tony Dungy as head coach in 2009.

If the Titans are set on a patient and thorough vetting process, it could cost them their prime candidates.

In addition to Gruden, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is scheduled to meet with the Titans. Zimmer brings 20 years experience and a hard-nosed defensive approach that would mesh well with Tennessee's current personnel. Zimmer has never been a head coach despite being popular on the offseason interview circuit. He interviewed with the Cleveland Browns last year and with the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012.
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