Hoffman Added to Titans Coaching Staff

Coach Steve Hoffman, former special teams coach for the Oakland Raiders.

 

By Ashley Broockman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have hired Steve Hoffman as an assistant special teams coach and have promoted Arthur Smith to offensive line/tight ends assistant.

Hoffman spent last season as the Oakland Raiders’ special teams coordinator. He also has worked with the Dallas Cowboys (1989-2004), Atlanta Falcons (2006), Miami Dolphins (2007-08) and Kansas City Chiefs (2009-11). The Titans announced his hiring Monday afternoon.

Smith has two years of experience on the Titans’ staff. He worked last season as an offensive assistant/quality control coach.

More about Steve Hoffman Here.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Cold Welcoming for New Coaches

By Bryson Simpson

Bryson-Simpson@mocs.utc.edu

ORLEANS (AP) — Welcome to the NFL head coaching fraternity, gentlemen. By the way, you can’t talk to your players, install new schemes or go after free agents right now.

That’s not exactly what the rookie coaches bargained for. With the lockout, it’s what they’ve got.

It’s a most damaging dynamic to teams starting anew such as the 49ers, Browns, Panthers and Broncos who went completely outside their organization to hire a new head man. At least Denver grabbed a grizzled veteran in John Fox, who won a conference title during his nine seasons in charge in Carolina. Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco, Pat Shurmur in Cleveland and Ron Rivera in Carolina are newbies.

The new coaches in Tennessee (Mike Munchak), Oakland (Hue Jackson), Minnesota (Leslie Frazier) and Dallas (Jason Garrett) either were with those organizations last year or, in Frazier’s and Garrett’s cases, actually took over as interim coaches in 2010. So their handicap isn’t quite as severe.

Still, the lockout is a hindrance as all eight of them try to rebuild struggling teams.

“It’s given us a little disadvantage,” Rivera said. “You want to have the team around and your veteran guys so you get a sense or a feel for what they do. There will always be a learning curve and now it’s steeper.”

More like a slippery slope. Rivera couldn’t put in place his offensive and defensive systems. He can’t identify who the key players will be on his roster because of all the turnover required in Carolina. He can’t chase free agents to fill some of the massive holes on both lines.

Teams aren’t exactly dead in the water because all 32 of them are preparing for the draft, which was protected under the collective bargaining agreement that expired on March 11. But it’s hardly business as usual.

“We have to be fluid, be ready as time goes on,” Rivera said. “The bottom line that we talk about is we have to be ready to play and adjust to whatever the situation winds up being.”

The longer the work stoppage, though, the more difficult it will be for the new guys. Except in Dallas and Cleveland, the quarterback scenario is in flux. It’s possible the starter whenever the season begins — if there is a 2011 season — isn’t even on the roster in San Francisco, Minnesota, Tennessee or Carolina.

New coordinators in most of those cities have little familiarity with their players. No matter how quick a study they might be, an assistant coach’s film work doesn’t replace hands-on teaching.

“The coaches are getting plenty of time to get ready for that,” Munchak said with a chuckle. “You have to be smart about it. Let your staff do what it does best, let your coordinators do what they are comfortable with, nothing drastic. You don’t want to be switching from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4.”

Oops. That’s almost what Fox is doing as he moves from Carolina to Denver; the Broncos are switching to the 4-3.

But Fox also knows his way around the league, going 73-71 with the Panthers and losing the 2004 Super Bowl to New England.

“Retread,” he said with a loud laugh.

“I had a chance to meet our players early on. I’ve watched plenty of tape. I think system-wise offensively we’re not much different since our offensive coordinator from a year ago will be back again. Defensively we’ve got some (coaches) back, but there’s no doubt we’ve got an adjustment as we go 4-3.

“But again, these things are not rocket science.”

They can be complex, though, when someone is coming from the college ranks and has been out of the NFL since 2003. Harbaugh, who spent 14 years as a pro quarterback for five teams, comes from coaching bloodlines. His father Jack has spent more than four decades on the sideline, and brother John has led the Ravens to the playoffs in all three seasons in charge in Baltimore.

For the new 49ers coach, who chose San Francisco over Miami — or remaining at Stanford or going back to his alma mater, Michigan — the biggest challenge is to stay positive.

“It doesn’t do any good to get frustrated and I wish I could be with the players right now,” said Harbaugh, who is finishing up his playbook and preparing for the draft. “The thing I was most looking forward to coaching in the National Football League was being back with those guys. The pros.

“It’ll happen. But they’ll be back. We’ll be back with them.”

When that occurs, the Niners in many ways will be starting from scratch. The other three teams in the division — Seattle, St. Louis and Arizona — are far deeper into their systems, their staffs far more familiar with the players.

“Everybody seems to agree that it’s a disadvantage for first-year coaches,” Harbaugh said. “It probably is. But we’ll find a way to overcome it.

“I just love being in uncharted waters. There is something about it. There’s more of a challenge to it. Maybe it’s because I grew up in 12 different towns before I graduated from high school, I don’t know. Something about it, I just feel more comfortable when it’s the uncharted waters.”

 

Copyright 2011

 

 

Doors Closed During Bye Week, Titans Seek Answers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/The Loop) — Whatever Jeff Fisher plans to do to fix Tennessee’s losing ways will be done behind closed doors.

At 0-6, the reeling Titans, coming off a 59-0 rout at New England that is the NFL’s most lopsided loss since 1976, are as far away from their 10-0 start a season ago as possible.

Fans want Fisher fired, though owner Bud Adams isn’t ready yet for a midseason change.

So Fisher is closing practices this week as the Titans try repairing all that’s gone wrong. It’s a flexible bye week schedule that could feature two sessions a day or walk-throughs before and after practice. The coach is looking at everything, will split work between veteran Kerry Collins and backup quarterback Vince Young, and some roster changes may result.

And the future for the NFL’s longest-tenured coach with his current team? Fisher insisted Monday he isn’t worried, not with everything he has to fix.

Fisher also heard criticism from Titans fans after his attempt at humor at a Nashville charity event on Tuesday; “Jerseygate”

“I’m not in any kind of survival mode or worried about my job or worried about job security. I have a good coaching staff. I’ve got tremendous confidence in my coaching staff and tremendous confidence in my players we’re going to get this turned around,” Fisher said.

Adams’ last head coaching change came in 1994 after a 1-9 start when he promoted Fisher from defensive coordinator. Fisher has lasted longer and won more games for this franchise than any other coach. Adams told The Tennessean newspaper he is worried, but will make his decision on the future after this season.

The 0-for start is stunning because this is the franchise that returned 20 starters from the team that went an NFL-best 13-3 last season. Two local TV stations streamed Fisher’s news conference on their Web sites Monday, and one radio station aired it live as well.

The schedule hasn’t helped with four of the first six on the road against teams now a combined 22-13 and none with a losing record. The next four offer little hope either, with only Buffalo (2-4) on Nov. 15 currently below .500.

Titans turnaround ahead?

This week’s focus will be on the basics of throwing, catching, blocking and tackling. The only thing they’re doing OK? Chris Johnson is second in the NFL with 596 yards rushing.

Fisher said he isn’t making any coaching changes or taking over the defensive play calling, even though these Titans now have given up nearly as many points through six games (198) as they did in all of 2008 (234). They rank last in the NFL in that category in the first season under new coordinator Chuck Cecil.

“He’s not the one missing the tackles. He’s not the one getting to the quarterback. He’s not the one giving up the plays down the field or making the mental mistakes,” Fisher said of Cecil.

The offense shares as much blame.

The Titans dropped six passes in the first half alone Sunday against New England and turned over the ball a season-high five times. Collins botched a couple snaps and a would-be reverse to Nate Washington wound up as a 22-yard loss on a pass. The only other completed pass was a screen to fullback Ahmard Hall for 15 yards.

Collins now has eight interceptions, one more than all of 2008. Adams wants to see more of Young, the No. 3 pick overall in 2006, but such decisions are up to Fisher. Young hasn’t been any better in two relief appearances, going 0 for 5 with one interception.

Who starts Nov. 1 against Jacksonville (3-3)? Fisher isn’t saying.

The bye will heal up defensive backs Cortland Finnegan (right hamstring) and Vincent Fuller (broken right arm). But running back LenDale White hurt his left knee in the second quarter Sunday. He walked to the sideline, then rode a cart to the locker room and was seen walking gingerly after the game. He led the AFC with 15 touchdowns rushing last season, but has just one in 2009.

Finnegan ready for return

Fisher is trying to sell this bye week, with Monday a day off for players, as a fresh start.

“This is the coaches’ and players’ week to get things fixed, and there will be things that we won’t be privy to discuss for competitive reasons,” Fisher said. “There may be changes in the lineups. Hopefully, we can get some people healed up and ready to play for us. I’m expecting to put a different team on the field next week as we practice for Jacksonville.”

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.