Tennessee Titans hire ex-Cincinnati Bengals OC Brian Callahan as head coach

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- The Tennessee Titans officially hired former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan as their head coach, replacing Mike Vrabel, the team announced Wednesday.

"This is an exciting time for our franchise, and we're thrilled to have Brian as our head coach," Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a news release.

"We went through a thorough candidate search and Brian stood out as the best person to lead our football team. I want to thank the other candidates who were part of this process and wish them well moving forward."

The Titans fired Vrabel on Jan. 9, ending his tenure after six seasons. Vrabel's Titans went 54-45 in the regular season and 2-3 in the postseason.

Callahan, a candidate for several other head coach job openings in the NFL, spent the last five seasons as Bengals offensive coordinator. The Bengals were a Top 15 offense, in terms of yards, twice during that span, ranking No. 8 in 2022 and No. 13 in 2021. The Bengals passing offense ranked No. 5 in 2022 and No. 7 in 2021.

The Bengals ranked No. 22 in 2023, No. 29 in 2020 and No. 26 in 2019. Quarterback Joe Burrow missed significant time during the 2023 and 2020 seasons because of injuries. The Bengals went 2-14 in 2019 while led by quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver Tyler Boyd.

Callahan, 39, served as quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2018. He held the same role in 2016 and 2017 with the Detroit Lions. Callahan was a member of the Denver Broncos coaching staff from 2010 through 2015, serving as a coaching and offensive assistant and in offensive quality control.

The Titans went 6-11 in 2023, their worst record under Vrabel. They had the fifth-worst offense in the NFL, including the fourth-worst passing game. They also scored the sixth-fewest points.

"Brian has a track record of success and a range of experience that has prepared him for this opportunity," Strunk said. "His football knowledge and his enthusiasm for the game really stand out, and beyond that, we think his ability to lead will make him the ideal fit for our franchise.

"If you look at his history, Brian has been a part of a Super Bowl winning team and another team that advanced to the Super Bowl. He's worked in a variety of dynamic offenses with top-flight quarterbacks. At each step of his career, he's shown the flexibility and intelligence to make an impact."

Callahan interviewed with the Titans in person on Monday in Nashville. The Titans held a virtual interview Jan. 12 with the former Bengals coordinator. The Titans said they interviewed 10 candidates for the position. Two candidates received second interviews.

The Titans own the No. 7 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, when will be held from April 25 to 27 in Detroit.