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6/2: News and notes from offensive coordinator Todd Downing’s first press conference

Arthur Smith’s successor speaks to the media for the first time since being promoted.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans announced yesterday that offensive coordinator Todd Downing and defensive coordinator Shane Bowen would be speaking with the media this afternoon.

Both coaches just wrapped up their individual conferences. It was particularly interesting to hear Downing speak. This marks the first time he’s done so since he took over for Arthur Smith as the team’s new offensive coordinator.

These were some of the best takeaways from the media session.

Shane Bowen says he’s excited to get to know all the new players on defense. They have to get to know them and understand their skill sets in order to put them in positions to be successful. Talked about analyzing the new cornerbacks abilities in man coverage and zone coverage.

Bowen says things have “definitely changed” since being named defensive coordinator officially. He said he ultimately has the final voice now and that “things have “changed in that regard.” It sounds like things have actually changed now that Bowen holds the DC title.

Bowen says the DC title allows him to spend more time with each position and build relationships with the players. “It’s a new look defense. We’re encouraged by the new pieces. We’re excited to start building this up again.”

Bowen: “Janoris Jenkins has done it for a long time. Excited to get our hands on him. We’ll see on Caleb Farley. He’s not doing anything for us right now. It could allow us to be more aggressive in coverage.”

Bowen: “I appreciate Mike Vrabel’s confidence in me. We’re kind of starting all over with a lot of new players on defense. We have to play better defensively. I’m excited and encouraged about the direction we’re headed in.”

Bowen says that young players like Teair Tart are getting a lot of reps right now. There are a lot of snaps up for grabs on the D-line after the departure of DaQuan Jones.

Bowen on Jim Schwartz: “Everyone has their scheme and system, but everyone does it a little bit differently. We’re trying to find what works best for our guys.”

Bowen: Can’t get a good gauge for the pass rush during non-contact OTA’s. Excited to have Bud Dupree. “Have to develop a few more guys that can get after the quarterback behind Dupree and Harold Landry.”

Bowen says that communication is key on defense. It wasn’t always there last year. “It’s been a point of emphasis for us this offseason. Everyone has to see things the same way.”

Bowen on Schwartz: “We all work well together. Vrabel has done it. Schwartz has done it at a high level for a long time and been successful. Inside linebackers coach Jim Haslett has done it for a long time. It’s great to bounce ideas off one another. There’s a lot of ways to skin a cat.”

New offensive coordinator Todd Downing came up next.

Downing: “There’s a good balance of continuity and new ideas. I’ve been working here and it helps me transition into this role. We’re laying down the foundation now. We’ll get more into the differences in scheme down the road.”

Downing on his experience in Oakland: “Every step along the way taught me something. Hopefully I’ve grown as a coach. I’m always looking to improve. I’m looking forward to this challenge. You can’t compare this to my past. It’s never apples to apples.”

Downing on working for defensive minded head coaches Jack Del Rio and Mike Zimmer: “I learned a lot from those guys. I can predict things a little bit better. Each boss and head coach has their own personality and style. Vrabel does a great job sharing his vision with us.”

“Having Derrick Henry makes your job easy. We’re always looking to get the ball in the hands of our playmakers. It’s not a secret. That’s part of our identity on offense.”

Downing says that Anthony Firkser has worked really hard as a run blocker this offseason. Downing says they’ll do their best not to tip their hand offensively with their tight ends.

“It’s a great time for competition. There’s a lot of guys out here fighting for spots. There’s some personnel competition. We’re laying down the schematic foundation right now.”

Downing: “I’m excited about the competition we have at the different spots on offense. I’m coaching the guys that are here to the best of my ability.”

Downing on balancing Arthur Smith’s scheme versus putting his touch on it: “There’s some tweaks and adjustments every year even when the OC doesn’t change. That’s just natural progression. We’ll look at what we did schematically and adjust some things.”

“I’m not as caught up as putting Todd Downing’s twist on the offense as I am finding the right success.”

“It’s not my job to fill Arthur’s shoes. Every year is different and has its own challenges. It’s my job to be the best version of me and achieve what Mike Vrabel and Jon Robinson are asking of me.”

Downing on Darrynton Evans: “We’re going to give everyone an opportunity to win 1-on-1 match-ups. The competition is real and is wide open.”

Downing: “I’ve always had a good relationship with Ryan Tannehill but it’s gotten even better over the past few months. I’m very fortunate to have him. We’ll leave no stone unturned.”

“The prevailing word when I think of our running back room is professionalism. Brian Hill has done a nice job and loves the game. Jeremy McNichols has worked his tail off for us. Khari Blasingame does everything we ask him to do.”

Downing says that both Logan Woodside and DeShon Kizer are both “gym rats.” Says they spend a lot of time in the film room and are their own toughest critics.

Downing calls wide receivers coach Rob Moore, “a blessing.” They’ve worked together many times in the past and Downing is thankful to have him on the staff.

This was a fun exercise.