It worked the first time.
The Tennessee Titans will elevate tight ends coach Todd Downing to offensive coordinator, according to a an NFL.com report Friday morning. Downing was hired in 2019 – when Arthur Smith was promoted from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator.
The 40-year-old is the only staff member who has been an NFL offensive coordinator. He directed the Oakland Raiders’ attack in 2017 under head coach Jack Del Rio, who was fired at the end of that season.
The Raiders finished 17th in total offense and 23rd in scoring that season. They ranked in the top half of the league in passing offense, and quarterback Derek Carr was a Pro Bowler.
Downing’s résumé includes a broad range of experience that includes time spent as quarterbacks coach with three different teams, Oakland (2015-16), Buffalo (2014) and Detroit (2011-13), quality control work on offense and defense as well as work as a special team assistant. He broke into the NFL in 2003 as a football systems analyst with Minnesota after two years as a high school coach.
He takes over an offense that second in the NFL in total offense, second in rushing offense, second in red zone percentage and fourth in scoring. It also was among the top 10 in first downs (T-fourth), third-down conversion rate (fifth) and yards per pass attempt (seventh).
The Atlanta Falcons recently hired Smith to be their head coach, which forced the Titans to find a replacement. Smith got the job in 2019 when Matt LaFleur left to become head coach of the Green Bay Packers.
Coach Mike Vrabel interviewed at least one outside candidate, Pep Hamilton, who reportedly is head to Houston to become the Texans’ quarterbacks coach.