AFC West: Tennessee Volunteers

As the Denver Broncos wait to hear from Peyton Manning, the Tennessee Titans have emerged as a strong competitor for the superstar quarterback.

Manning, who is also considering the Cardinals and Dolphins, is meeting with the Titans’ brass and then he is expected to make a decision on his future. There has been recent chatter that Manning may be swayed to stay in the AFC South and play for the Titans. Wednesday, Manning’s former boss didn’t do anything to end that talk.

Former Indianapolis general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian said on "SportsCenter" that he thinks the Titans are the most logical landing spot for Manning. Polian cited that Manning and his wife, Ashley, have ties to the state. Manning was a legendary quarterback at the University of Tennessee.

So, location could be a big stumbling block for John Elway. This doesn’t mean Manning won’t be a Bronco, but the Titans may have an emotional edge. Whatever happens, I’m sure the Broncos want a resolution so they can proceed with the rest of their free-agency plan, regardless of the outcome of the Manning sweepstakes.

In other AFC West news:

ESPN Boston is reporting key San Diego backup safety Steve Gregory will visit New England on Wednesday. If Gregory gets a starting job, he will likely leave San Diego. Denver has also been linked to Gregory. The Chargers will likely look for help at safety in the draft.

Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. believes the Chargers’ re-signing of center Nick Hardwick is a top under-the-radar signing.

Robert Meacham’s deal with the Chargers includes $100,000 in bonuses if he makes the Pro Bowl for each of the next two seasons.

The word is Oakland, Washington and New Orleans may be the early favorites to land Matt Leinart as a backup quarterback. Oakland’s connection is Leinart played for new Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Knapp in Houston. The Raiders are looking for a new backup.
Could the San Diego Chargers be on the verge of losing their special teams coach to the college ranks?

Our SEC blogger, Chris Low, reports that the Tennessee Volunteers are once again trying to pursue Rich Bisaccia to become their special teams coordinator. He could also get the associate head coach label as well.

It is not known if Bisaccia would be interested in going to the college ranks. He was offered the job two years ago before Lane Kiffin bolted to USC.

The Chargers would miss Bisaccia. He is considered a premier special-teams coach. The unit made major strides under Bisaccia in 2011 after it had a disastrous season in 2010. This will be an interesting situation to monitor because San Diego would have to make an important hire if Bisaccia does leave.

Kiffin survived Davis experience

November, 28, 2008
11/28/08
7:46
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

We have a winner in the Lane Kiffin-Al Davis battle.

It's Kiffin by a landslide.

Kiffin was fired by Oakland on Sept. 30 in what will be long remembered as one more bizarre firings in NFL history. Raiders owner Al Davis sautéed Kiffin in an hourlong press conference with comments that seemed aimd to ruin Kiffin's career.

Apparently, either the folks at the University of Tennessee missed the television highlights of Davis' diatribe or they just didn't pay any attention to it.

ESPN.com is reporting that Tennessee has a tentative agreement in place with the former Oakland coach to become the new head coach there. The report says Kiffin will take over the storied Volunteers program as soon as Monday. Did Kiffin's 20 games and his ugly departure from Oakland, hurt him?

Depending on how you view the NFL compared to the NCAA, the Tennessee job is arguably a much better job than the Oakland gig. Many coaches in the country would rather lead Tennessee every Saturday, than be in Al Davis' sights every Sunday. Even if Kiffin didn't get fired and had a better record than a 5-15 mark in Oakland, it would be impressive if he made this switch.

This is a big-time job. Tennessee can easily be atop the college football landscape again. It is considered a destination job where a coach can spend the remainder of his career. That cannot be said about the Oakland job. It is a steppingstone job at the very best.
But Kiffin has emerged wonderfully.

He won this battle with Davis. Sure, Kiffin had to file a grievance to get the remaining money from his contract and he may never get it even if wins the grievance. But his career is in fine standing.

Before Oakland, Kiffin was the co-offensive coordinator at USC. It was a fine job. But there was no guarantee he would be considered for the Tennessee job out of that position.

Frankly, I'm not sure if Kiffin is equipped for this job. It may be a tad early in his career.

Still, Kiffin made the most of his time in Oakland, even though it was rocky to say the least and he wasn't successful on the field. He showed enough coaching skill at the age of 33, and his ability to weather controversy seemed to impress Tennessee officials. Kiffin has moved on well from Oakland and he is probably in much better shape than he would be if he was never fired and he was still coaching in that situation.

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