The Tennessee Titans are planning to hire a new running backs coach. Mike Vrabel reshuffled his coaching staff earlier this week. As part of the evolving roles, ex-running backs coach Tony Dews is now coaching tight ends. Dews’ movement created a vacancy at the running backs position coach on Vrabel’s staff.
I’ve spent time searching through Vrabel’s past connections. It’s difficult to predict position coaching hires, but let’s give it a shot. We’ve identified three potential candidates to fill Dews’ spot.
SEAN RYAN, PANTHERS QB COACH
Sean Ryan was on the Houston Texans’ staff alongside Vrabel for two seasons (2016-17). Ryan coached both wide receivers (2016) and quarterbacks (2017) throughout Vrabel’s tenure. We all know Vrabel loves to hire coaches from his Texans days.
Ryan most recently spent time as the Carolina Panthers’ quarterbacks coach. Ryan joined Carolina under Matt Rhule, who was fired midseason. The Panthers have now hired Frank Reich, who is installing his own staff. Ryan is no longer listed on Carolina’s official website.
Ryan has spent the majority of his career coaching quarterbacks, but he has coached running backs at three different collegiate programs (Colgate, Columbia and Harvard). Ryan is now available and has ties to Vrabel. Ryan would be a strong choice.
JOHN PERRY, LAMAR OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
John Perry recently accepted an offer to become Lamar’s offensive coordinator. Would Perry go back on his word if Vrabel reached out? Stranger things have happened. Perry could have interest in returning to the NFL coaching ranks.
Perry coached tight ends throughout Vrabel’s tenure in Houston. Perry is a man of many talents, however. In addition to tight ends, Perry has also coached wide receivers and quarterbacks. Perry has also served as an offensive coordinator and associate head coach. Coaching running backs wouldn’t be out of his depth.
DANNY BARRETT, TEXANS RUNNING BACKS COACH
Danny Barrett just completed his fifth season as the Texans’ running backs coach. He’s survived three coaching changes from Bill O’Brien to David Culley to Lovie Smith. Will Barrett survive a fourth coaching change? DeMeco Ryans could prefer to clean house.
Barrett and Vrabel didn’t cross paths in Houston, but Barrett did work with new Titans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. Kelly spent four seasons (2018-21) with Barrett in Houston. If Kelly has any say over the new offensive staff, he’ll likely give Barrett a strong recommendation.