The Titans coaching staff news is coming fast and furious now. This morning I was in the middle of posting about three new position coach hires and the news of Craig Aukerman being promoted to special teams coordinator broke courtesy of Paul Kuharsky.
Craig Aukerman, the assistant special teams coach for Mike Mularkey, gets the head job special teams job for Mike Vrabel. #Titans— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) January 31, 2018
Aukerman joined the Titans in 2017 as former special teams coordinator Steve Hoffman’s assistant after spending the previous season as the Chargers special teams coordinator. He has 8 years of NFL experience, starting off as a low level defensive assistant before transitioning in to special teams full time in 2012. His 2016 Chargers special teams were pretty rough — finishing 29th in the league according to DVOA — but that was actually an improvement over their 31st place finish in 2015. The Chargers fell back to 31st in 2017 after Aukerman’s departure so the issue does not seem to be a coaching problem in LA.
In 2017, the Titans finished 13th in special teams DVOA after adding some key personnel to help boost a unit that had struggled in recent seasons. The signings of Brynden Trawick, Daren Bates, and Eric Weems brought a noticeable jump in energy and production from the special teams units and the Titans are choosing to bring some continuity to that group by promoting Aukerman. He was part of the staff that helped punter Brett Kern and Trawick make their first Pro Bowls in 2017. He is also the second confirmed holdover from Mike Mularkey’s 2017 staff, joining tight ends coach Arthur Smith. Here is what Mike Mularkey had to say about Aukerman when he was initially hired before last season.
“I have worked with Craig in the past and he will be a good fit for this staff,” said Mularkey. “He is a very good young coach, who has high energy and is a great teacher.”
The Titans need to make a decision with Ryan Succop as his contract is up in March, but I would assume they would like to bring back the reliable veteran kicker. Succop and Kern form one of the best specialist duos in the NFL which gives Aukerman a good base to start from. Hopefully he’s able to find a way to help Adoree Jackson break through for his first return touchdown in 2018.