By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — The list of candidates for the Titans’ offensive coordinator position got an interesting addition last week. Former Los Angeles Chargers quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton was reported getting interviews with both the Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hamilton is available because the Chargers fired head coach Anthony Lynn at the end of this past season. Lynn is now the new offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions.
Hamilton’s name is of interest for multiple reasons. First, he helped rookie Justin Herbert adjust this season to the NFL and Herbert came on to have a good year in spite of the Chargers’ problems. Secondly. Hamilton was the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive coordinator when Andrew Luck had some of his best seasons, and also worked well with Luck when he was at Stanford. The departure of Arthur Smith for the Falcons head coaching job puts a premium on whoever replaces him to continue the outstanding success that the Titans’ offense enjoyed throughout 2020.
Although things ground to an ugly halt in the opening playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the Titans were in the top five of the NFL during the regular season in multiple categories. Ryan Tannehill set a team passing record and Derrick Henry a team rushing record. The Titans averaged over 31 points a game, in many weeks helping the team overcome a defense that repeatedly had problems stopping other teams or getting any consistent pass rush.
Hamilton’s one of the first names linked to the Titans’ offensive coordinator search. Under the currently revised Rooney rule, NFL teams are now required to interview at least two minority candidates for all vacant coaching and management positions. Hamilton also has some past head coaching experience, though it was in a different league. He was head coach and general manager for the XFL’s DC Defenders, but that league folded shortly after its inception. Besides his time at Stanford, Hamilton was also an assistant at the University of Michigan. He previously coached at Cleveland in the NFL as well as Indianapolis and Los Angeles.