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Derrick Henry reacts to the hiring of Tim Kelly as offensive coordinator

“He’s a great dude, so it’s going to be fun.”

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Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images

Once again, Mike Vrabel stayed in-house with another offensive coordinator hire, officially elevating Tim Kelly to the position earlier this week. Kelly was on staff last season working under Todd Downing under the title of Passing Game Coordinator.

Kelly spent three seasons as Houston’s offensive coordinator, running one the show with Deshaun Watson under center. Prior to that, Kelly was an offensive analyst and a tight ends coach. Mike Vrabel obviously knew him well, serving on staff with him during his time in Houston. Vrabel also spent plenty of time game-planning against his offenses twice a year.

Kelly now has a year of experience in Nashville under his belt, and is tasked with picking up the pieces from a dreadful output on offense last season. Playing a big role in that will once again be Derrick Henry, who continues to be the centerpiece of the Titans’ offensive attack.

“I love Tim,” Henry told Jim Wyatt at the Super Bowl. “I feel like Tim has a bright mind. Going up against him when he was with the Texans, I always felt like he had a great game plan against us. Watching the Texans throughout the years when he was the OC, he always did a great job with DeShaun (Watson) and the guys that he had. So, I am excited to have Tim as the OC. He’s a great dude, so it’s going to be fun.”

Clearly, familiarity was a big factor for Vrabel, just as it was when he elevated Todd Downing to replace Arthur Smith. He’s hoping this decision goes a little better than his last one, however. The Titans had to deal with a mountain of injuries in 2021 and 2022, so Vrabel’s point about everything not being broken does hold some weight.

Still, the optics of the hire — going in-house yet again — are uninspiring. Vrabel is desperately trying to get back to that 2020/2021 level, where the Titans were one of the best offenses in football. There’s just one problem with that. A.J. Brown is in Philadelphia and the offensive line is in need of a nearly complete overhaul.

Here’s hoping that the Titans are healthier in 2023, but even if they are, Kelly has his work cut out for him.