Tennessee Titans: Bruce Arians

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We don't know the differences in money or years or power, but it appears at least one hot coaching prospect ranks the Tennessee Titans as a superior opportunity to the Detroit Lions.

Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean first reported and ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen have confirmed that Ken Whisenhunt is the Titans' new coach.

Whisenhunt coached the Arizona Cardinals to a 49-53 record from 2007 to 2012 and led them to the NFC championship and a Super Bowl XLIII loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the end of the 2008 season.

But after Kurt Warner retired, the Cardinals were a jumble at the quarterback spot. There were reports of a near mutiny in the Arizona locker room in 2012, when the team went 5-11.

Whisenhunt was fired and the Cardinals replaced him with Bruce Arians, whose team went 10-6 this season.

Whisenhunt was offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers and did well to help revitalize veteran quarterback Philip Rivers while working with rookie head coach Mike McCoy.

Coaches with previous head-coaching experience have been hired for three of the four jobs filled so far in the NFL -- with former Penn State coach Bill O'Brien hired in Houston, former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith hired in Tampa Bay and now Whisenhunt hired in Tennessee.

The Titans interviewed just four candidates, total. Jay Gruden was hired as head coach in Washington. Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer appears to be a prime candidate in Minnesota. Former Colts coach and current Baltimore offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell could now be the leader in Detroit.

Hiring a guy who's been in charge before makes sense provided he identifies what went wrong the first time and intends to make changes.

Whisenhunt was probably too much of a players' coach with the Cardinals. He reportedly held grudges. He didn't do well to find or develop a quarterback once Warner was done and may need more and better help at that.

If he adjusts in those areas and others he can admit were issues for him, this can be a good hire.

I have no reason to believe he won't adjust and evolve.

But if he doesn't, the Titans could be hiring a guy who went 25-36 as a head coach when Warner was not his quarterback.

Titans handled Cardinals' blitzes

December, 16, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Arizona Cardinals came to Nashville with an impressively effective blitzing defense.

The Tennessee Titans played well against the blitz. But despite washing away a prominent feature of an opponent, they lost 37-34 in overtime at LP Field on Sunday.

ESPN Statistics & Info broke down what the Cardinals did with blitzes in their first 13 games and what they did Sunday.

In its first 13 games, Arizona blitzed on 50 percent of opponent drop backs, allowing opponents to complete 57.6 percent of their passes for 7 yards an attempt, with 15 touchdowns, nine interceptions and 25 sacks.

In Nashville, Arizona blitzed on 36 percent of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s drop backs, allowing him to complete 71.4 percent of his passes for 8.8 yards an attempt, with three touchdowns, one interception and no sacks.

The interception came in overtime and set the Cardinals up for the game-winning field goal.

Fitzpatrick was hit as he threw to Michael Preston, and Antoine Cason was there to pull in the underthrown pass for his second pick of the day.

“That last one was my fault in setting the protection,” Fitzpatrick said. "They brought a blitz, (the offensive line) couldn’t pick up, react to, and they ended up hitting me as I was throwing it. It affected the throw.”

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was complimentary of Fitzpatrick and the way the Titans handled blitzes, and critical of the officiating.

“I think (defensive coordinator) Todd Bowles probably called everything on his sheet trying to find a way to get there,” Arians said. “They did a good job protecting him and he wasn't holding the ball very long. Of course every time we touched him, it was a penalty.”

The Cardinals were flagged for nine penalties for 69 yards and six Titans' first downs, all in the second half.

Two of those calls, against Marcus Benard and Calais Campbell, were for roughing the passer.