Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing is in a similar position in 2022 as defensive coordinator Shane Bowen was going into the 2021 campaign.
Downing oversaw what was the weakest link for Tennessee in 2021. The offense performed well below expectations last season thanks to a combination of injuries, poor play, and poor play-calling.
One of the bigger issues the Titans’ offense had in 2021 was its slow starts, something that has become routine even when Tennessee was at its best offensively the past two seasons.
Downing acknowledged that was an issue last season when speaking to the media on Wednesday before organized team activities (OTAs), but didn’t go into detail about how he plans on fixing the problem.
Downing: We did not start fast enough last year (as an offense.) I’m not hiding from that #Titans
— Buck Reising (@BuckReising) June 1, 2022
Speaking of the aforementioned injuries, Downing said he learned not to fall in love too much with one type of formation because there’s no telling who will be available on a weekly basis.
#Titans‘ Todd Downing: Definitely learned last year that you don’t want to bank too much on one formation because you never know who will be available week to week.
— John Glennon (@glennonsports) June 1, 2022
Despite the offense’s struggles, Downing was able to keep his job for at least another season, much to the chagrin of Titans fans who want him gone.
However, the Titans didn’t just sit pat altogether. Tennessee brought in former Houston Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly, who will serve as the passing-game coordinator in 2022.
Downing believes having Kelly, who is also expected to have at least some input into the offense, will be valuable for him.
“It’s been great to add [Tim Kelly],” Downing said. “He’s a great football mind and obviously a fantastic person, somebody that has some relationships in this building. That helps kind of integrate him a little bit quicker.
“For me, it’s been spectacular just to have another sounding board, somebody to talk through ideas with, be able to look at things a different way if something isn’t clear how we want to land the plane, so to speak, on an idea,” Downing added. “So, it’s been really valuable and look forward to working with him.”
Downing is quite familiar with the role Kelly is playing, as he had a similar role while on the coaching staff of the Minnesota Vikings. Downing went into detail about what Kelly’s role will be.
“I had a similar role when I first went to the Vikings in 2018,” Downing said. “I had just come off being a coordinator and I was trying to help [offensive coordinator] John DeFilippo in that role before some tragedy kind of shuffled my responsibilities.
“But I had some familiarity with what that might look like and what I was able to help coach DeFilippo with, and so that kind of helped that transition,” Downing continued. “I think, again, just being able to look at things from a different perspective, maybe bring some fresh ideas, some things maybe we didn’t incorporate before.”
The interesting dynamic between Downing and Kelly is that the former could be replaced by the latter at some point, and maybe sooner rather than later if Tennessee’s offense struggles out of the gate in 2022.