Current Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing joined the Minnesota Vikings as a Research and Development Intern in 2001. Downing eventually worked his way up the ladder and became an offensive quality control coach in 2005. He would later return to the franchise as Minnesota’s tight ends coach in 2018 before joining the Titans. While speaking with the media following Wednesday’s practice, Downing touched on Tim Kelly’s addition as Tennessee’s Passing Game Coordinator by claiming he “held a similar role with the Vikings.” It’s unclear what exactly Downing is referring to since he never held that direct title in Minnesota, but it’s safe to assume the duties were similar either when he served as their offensive quality control coach (2005) or as a football systems analyst (2003-04).
.@Titans OC Todd Downing: It's been great to add Passing Game Coordinator Tim Kelly. Great football mind, and it's great to have another sounding board. Downing said he had a similar role with the Vikings— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) June 1, 2022
Downing understands what it’s like to serve in a secondary offensive coaching role while becoming a helpful resource for an Offensive Coordinator. Although Downing now finds himself in a more starring role, it’s refreshing to hear his understanding of how Kelly can be an asset, not an adversary, and Downing’s previous experience in a similar role should help him continue acclimating to Kelly’s addition.
Kelly is attempting to improve an offense that struggled mightily last season while battling through an abundance of injuries. Tennessee’s passing offense took a step backwards under Downing in 2021 following Arthur Smith’s exit as the team’s previous Offensive Coordinator. The Titans finished as a bottom-10 passing offense that averaged just 201.1 passing yards per contest. Kelly has been brought on board to provide new ideas in pursuit of improvement.
Kelly routinely did excellent work in Houston. His ability to improve Tennessee’s passing game (and overall offense as a result) is rather clear. Having Downing’s blessing is important as they begin their new-found collaboration. Ego’s often get in the way of the greater good in professional football, but Downing and Kelly appear comfortable working towards the same goals.