In the first real shocker of the off-season (unless you're T-Rac or hal), running backs coach Earnest Byner was fired yesterday, and judging from the quotes in the Tennessean, he was none to please at either the firing or his forced silence in it's wake:
"I can't say anything about any of that,'' said Byner, who has one year left on his contract with the Titans. "You have to talk to Jeff. Just talk to him. I can't say anything.''When asked another question, Byner said: "Let it go, man. Just let it go."
So as the dust clears on the firing of Earnest Byner/hiring of Kennedy Pola, a couple of the regular reporters who follow the team have some insight that hasn't been openly shared before. We'll start with Paul Kuharsky, who was a Titans beat writer for a decade:
I have no insider information on the move. But I do know this: Fisher has attempted to lure Pola from Jacksonville at least once, and maybe twice, before. I suspect, knowing Pola was available, Fisher found the opportunity to add him simply too good to pass up, making this move more about the incoming guy than the outgoing one. Still, given Fisher's penchant for loyalty, Byner obviously hadn't won him over.
Follow us through the jump for more on the Byner/Pola switch-a-roo, and a new mock draft...
Despite opening with a terrible I Love Lucy reference, Terry McComick does a solid job giving his thoughts on the Byner firing. Oddly enough, they build on the same vein Kuharsky laid-out:
Perhaps we will never know for sure what was behind the move, but speculation is that Byner didn’t fit into what the Titans were looking for on the coaching staff. For one thing, Byner apparently wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion on matters, even when the message wasn’t one that others necessarily wanted to hear.Maybe that didn’t play well, but a voice of dissent isn’t always a bad thing in the workplace. Sometimes it can even be a good thing if channeled the right way. Also, Byner apparently wasn’t afraid to voice criticisms of the players in his own room when he felt it was necessary.
Just last week many Jags followers were expecting Pola to leave, but they thought he'd land an offensive coordinator position. I wonder if Pola is more enamored with the position here because Mike Heimerdinger is closer to being a head coach in the next few years than anyone in Jacksonville... including Jack Del Rio.
This seems like a pretty useless hypothetical exercise, though it should surprise no one that they have the Steelers winning.
Rototimes has a mock draft out, and their guy, Ryan Houston, has us taking Carlos Dunlap:
17. Tennessee Titans - Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida - With Jevon Kearse and Kyle Vanden Bosch no longer effective pass rushers, the Titans need to add a solid young defensive end with this pick, and there are plenty available. At 6-foot-6 and 293 pounds, Dunlap is huge with great upper body strength and athleticism. His long arms and repertoire of pass rushing moves will make him a little more attractive than the other DEs that have mid-to-late first-round grades. South Florida DE Jason Pierre-Paul could also be the pick here.
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