A look into OC Matt LaFleur’s offensive staff
Name: Tony Dews
Role: Running Backs Coach
NFL Coaching Experience: None
Positions Coached: None
Collegiate Coaching Experience: Defensive Line (Millersville University, 1998), Graduate Assistant (West Virginia, 1999-2001), Offensive Line Coach (California University, Pa., 2002) Defensive Line (Holy Cross, 2003), Tight Ends/Special Teams (Central Michigan, 2004-2005), Linebackers/Special Teams (UNLV, 2006), Wide Receivers (West Virginia, 2007) Wide Receivers (University of Michigan, 2008-2010), Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator (Pittsburgh, 2011), Wide Receivers (Arizona, 2012-2016) and Running Backs (West Virginia, 2017).
Coaching Track Record
Titans Running Backs Coach Tony Dews gets his first opportunity coaching on the NFL sidelines in Nashville.
Dews was added to OC Matt LaFleur’s offensive staff. As evidenced in the third episode of “Igniting the Fire”, Dews and LaFleur worked together at Central Michigan. The two never lost touch and when LaFleur was ready to bring in his RB Coach, he knew Dews could perform was the right guy for the job.
Despite not having any experience at the professional level, Dews paid his dues in the collegiate ranks. He coached various positions on both sides of the ball. The bulk of his career was spent coaching receivers, but now he must shift his focus to preparing the Titans running backs.
Developing the Tandem of Henry and Lewis
Dews is fortunate to have two solid backs in his stable. RB Derrick Henry is primed to have a major role with increased snaps. Free agent addition, RB Dion Lewis, is eager to prove his value to the team both as a runner and as a receiving threat out of the backfield.
Although it’s unclear who the clear-cut feature back will be in LaFleur’s offensive system, it is certain that the Titans have to two viable feature back options - both with unique skill sets.
Dews is tasked with building a firm grasp of what each back does best and how it fits into the offensive attack. He must be aware of the situation football opportunities that will arise throughout the season - and LaFleur will rely on Dews to have the right guy on the field in the right moments.
Other backs like RB David Fluellen and UDFA RB Akrum Wadley will look to Dews for guidance on how to build their game and earn a roster spot on the final 53.
In terms of LaFleur’s offense - which is expected to be a zone-heavy scheme - Dews must learn where Henry is better suited than Lewis, and vice versa. Both backs can be effective in the right scenario, and it will be up to Dews to influence decisions during crucial in-game moments.
What will Dews’ style involve? It will focus on isolating the weaknesses of both Henry and Lewis, and helping each correct and improve on those weaknesses.
Dews will have a solid foundation in understanding the physical tools of both Henry and Lewis. Enhancing their mental approach will help tremendously.
LaFleur knows what Dews’ work-ethic looks like up close, and fans saw a glimpse on “Igniting the Fire”.