January 15, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The second NFL team to fire a coach this season, the Titans are finally picking up their coaching search now that Tennessee is the only franchise still with an opening.

The Titans confirmed Friday that they interviewed interim coach Mike Mularkey and Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.

The interviews come a day after the Titans both hired Jon Robinson as their general manager and made former Buffalo coach Doug Marrone their first candidate to interview with them for the coach opening.

Mularkey finished the season as interim head coach after the Titans fired Ken Whisenhunt. Mularkey went 2-7 with three of those losses by six or fewer points. He also improved protection of rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and was only a win shy in nine games of matching what Whisenhunt managed in 23. Mularkey is 18-39 as a head coach after two seasons with Buffalo and a season in Jacksonville.

His lone winning season came in 2004 with a 9-7 record that was Buffalo's last winning season until Marrone led the Bills to a 9-7 finish in 2014. After being fired after a 2-14 season in Jacksonville, Mularkey sat out a season before joining Whisenhunt in Tennessee coaching tight ends.

Austin, 50, already has interviewed with Miami, Cleveland, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. He has been defensive coordinator of the Lions the past two seasons, and he coached Detroit's defense to a No. 2 ranking in total defense in 2014. That was Detroit's highest since 1970. That season, the Lions held 11 opponents to 17 or fewer points and set a franchise record allowing 69.3 yards rushing per game.

He started three seasons at safety in college at Pittsburgh and played in the World League of American Football before going into coaching. He started as a graduate assistant at Penn State before coaching defensive backs at Wake Forest, Syracuse, Michigan before moving to the NFL. Austin coached defensive backs in Seattle between 2003 and 2006, Arizona from 2007 through 2009 and then Baltimore between 2001 and 2013.

As an assistant coach, Austin has been to three Super Bowls with Seattle, Arizona and Baltimore and won a title with the Ravens.



AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL


Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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