NASHVILLE – Three weeks into the season, the Tennessee Titans have yet to drop a game.
They are down a coach, though.
Shane Bowen, the outside linebackers coach and defensive play-caller, was not with the team during Sunday’s 31-30 victory at Minnesota due to a positive COVID-19 test. Franchise officials were informed of the result Saturday morning and Bowen did not travel with the team. He will remain apart from the team until he clears all league-mandated protocols.
No timetable is available for Bowen to return to work. Head coach Mike Vrabel and defensive assistant Matt Edwards will assume his day-to-day duties in the interim.
Against the Vikings, special teams coordinator Craig Aukerman wore a headset and was authorized to call timeouts or make other executive decisions if Vrabel had been involved with issues specifically related to the defense.
“Normally, special teams coaches wouldn’t wear a headset,” Vrabel said. “But in this instance, we felt like that was the best thing to do.
“… For the most part, not much changed. I tried to still stay involved with the offense.”
The Titans improved to 3-0 (their best start since 2008) with the victory over Minnesota. They allowed a season-high 226 rushing yards and gave up 30 points for the second consecutive week.
Bowen’s responsibilities increased this year following the retirement of defensive coordinator Dean Pees at the end of last season. Tennessee did not name a new defensive coordinator. Instead, Vrabel took on a more prominent role with that unit and Bowen was tapped to run meetings when the head coach was occupied elsewhere and to call the plays during games.
He joined the Titans’ staff in 2018, Vrabel’s first season as head coach, after two seasons as an assistant with the Houston Texans.
“We make plans and we work through all those things, whether that be any sort of situation,” Vrabel said. “That’s our job, to be able to handle it and to function and move on and to make sure the team has everything it needs.”